|Welcoming the New Roman Missal|
There’s a lot of talk going around these days about changes coming to the Mass and so it’s essential that we all understand what’s really happening, how it’s happening, when it’s happening and most importantly, why.
First of all, the Mass itself is NOT changing. The structure of the Mass remains the same; there will still be two integral parts - the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We will still stand, kneel, sit and process as we always do. However, what will change are the words to some of the prayers we hear, the prayers we say, and our responses.
At this point, you may be asking yourself, why? To put it very simply, Blessed John Paul II asked for these changes. As you well know, the pope was a very well-traveled man. He visited many countries throughout the world and celebrated Mass wherever he went. Blessed John Paul was also a polyglot – a man who understood and spoke many languages. He realized that although we were all celebrating the same Mass, there was a very disparate – and sometimes inaccurate – translation of some of the prayers we pray during Mass. He understood that as one, catholic church we should all be praying the same prayers together.
In the year 2000, the jubilee year, Blessed John Paul II promulgated a new Roman Missal – the book which contains the prayers and instructions of the Mass. This Roman Missal was published in Latin in 2002 and is the text which all languages will use to translate the Mass into the vernacular – the language of the people. There was a new guide issued on liturgical translations, stating that each Latin word must have an equivalent translated word. As a result, one major change we will notice will be our response to the greeting “The Lord be with you.” Our new response will be, “And with your spirit.” [In Latin, ‘Dominos vobiscum. Et cum spiritu tuo.’]
All of these changes will begin on the first Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011. This fall there will be opportunities to learn more about the new translations. Information will be available in the bulletin and on the website. Workshops and adult classes will be offered. Our clergy will be helping us in their homilies and our musicians will be teaching us new musical settings.
This is an exciting time for all of us and an opportunity to become more conscious of how we pray the Mass as a community. Please pray that in this time of transition, all of us will remain open to the work of the Holy Spirit within our Church and within our hearts.
For further information:
Archdiocese of Washington Roman Missal Website
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops