Posts tagged: new missal

What’s new about the Eucharistic Prayers?

Everyone knows by now that the implementation date for using the newly-translated third edition of the Roman Missal is set for November 27, 2011—the First Sunday of Advent. In the November-December issue of Today’s Parish, Francis L. Angoli discusses “What’s New about the Euchartistic Prayers.” He writes:

While the structure of the Mass is not changing, there have been additions to the Missal (e.g., new Saints, new prayers) as well as minor adjustments to the rubrics (or directions). In addition, our approach to translation has shifted. Therefore, while the Mass will look the same, it will sound different—more formal, varied, poetic, inclusive, and concrete—and more clearly reflective of its Scriptural origins.

This article is packed with specific examples of the changes that are coming. It is an especially good piece for priests to read because the prayers and dialogues you are used to will soon be different. You might need to spend a good deal of time practicing and getting used to the new texts.

Click here to check out this interesting look at the new translation.

431 golden opportunities

Detail einer Wand: Kairos by Francesco Salviati [photo by The Yorck Project; Wikimedia Commons]If you go to the United States Bishops’ website for the new English translation of the Roman Missal, you’ll see a counter in the top right corner, counting down the days until November 27, 2011, when we begin use of the translation. As of today, we have 431 days left. If you’re a little cynical, this countdown could be like a doomsday clock and maybe the Mayans were right—the world does end in 2012. Or if you’re among the can’t-wait-to-get-started group, it’s like you’re six again, and Christmas can’t come soon enough.

But if you’re where I think most parish leaders are, you’re looking at that counter and thinking about how you can best use those 431 days to get your parish ready. For those born after Vatican II, like I was, this will likely be the only time in our lives that everyone who pays even minimal attention to the Catholic Church—from CNS to CNN, to families at the dinner table, couples in the car, priests from the pulpit, and church secretaries in the bulletin—will be talking about the liturgy. As Nick said in an earlier post, it’s a golden opportunity.

The right moment

To me, these 431 days are kairos. We use this term, mostly, to speak of the quality of time in liturgy that is different than the rest of our time outside of liturgy—chronos. We usually refer to kairos as “God’s time,” time out of time, when time seems to stand still. Although this is a true description of how we often experience that brief moment in our Sundays, to me, it’s a very passive image. It implies too much that liturgy somehow magically transports us into God’s presence in a timeless ether. And when liturgy is done, we go back to our tick-tock lives.

But in Greek mythology, Kairos was a god with wings on his back and feet. He had no hair except for a hand-full of long locks at the top of his forehead—a kind of reverse mullet! Kairos was constantly running, very fast. Where, I don’t know. But the only way you could catch Kairos was by that strand of hair at his forehead. To the Greeks, Kairos was the “right moment,” the perfect opportunity, which you only can catch if you see it coming.

When I learned this, I thought, of course! When we enter into liturgy, we’re entering the right moment, catching the perfect opportunity to spend some time with God in the midst of our busy lives. That’s what we mean by kairos, isn’t it? But what if it were the other way around? What if we are Kairos, always rushing about our business, checking off our to-do lists, never stopping for a moment just to even breathe? What if God is trying to catch us, and the liturgy is the best way for God to do just that?

Real presence

This rings more true to me. As the Christian Brothers always say to begin their gatherings, “Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.” Liturgy isn’t when we enter into God’s presence, as if God hadn’t been there before the opening song. Liturgy is when God has the perfect opportunity to catch us and slow us down and say, “Here I am.” Listen.

As we count down these 431 days, with our myriad plans for the new translation, let’s treat this moment as kairos—431 golden opportunities for all of us to pay more attention to the liturgy we already celebrate. It’s the right time to grab the attention of all our parishioners to help them enter more deeply into that liturgy not only through the words we speak now, but also through the music we sing, the gestures we make, and the places we gather. Let’s prepare not only for a new translation but also for a new way of participating in the liturgy, fully present, completely engaged, ready to be grabbed by God who has been ever watchful for this perfect opportunity.

The Roman Missal and liturgical renewal

Performance by tdenham [stock.xchange]Yesterday, I suggested parishes use this coming year as a time of preparation for the introduction of the new Roman Missal and as a time of liturgical renewal. To help you do that, you can find a liturgy self-assessment tool here. You can also consider some of these questions regarding your parish worship:

  • Do visitors on Sunday always feel welcome and part of the community? (How do you know?)
  • Do the ushers, greeters, staff members, and key volunteers all wear nametags?
  • Are the lectors always well prepared, and do they proclaim with excellence? (What is your standard for “excellence”?)
  • Does the music always meet the three criteria of being pastoral, liturgical, and musically excellent?
  • Does the assembly know the music and sing confidently?
  • Does the music reflect the diversity of your community?
  • Is the presider always clear, confident, prayerful, well-prepared, and attentive?
  • Are the homilies always relevant, surprising, and applicable to daily life?
  • Are the acolytes well-trained and always fully engaged in the liturgy?
  • Do the Communion ministers always exhibit a high-level of leadership and competence when serving?
  • Do parishioners leave the liturgy inspired to live out the Gospel and evangelize others? (How do you know?)
  • Do you avoid the three most common mistakes made every Sunday?

I’m sure this is not an exhaustive list. What else should be added to insure a powerful year of liturgical renewal?

Will the new Roman Missal make liturgy better?

Sunday Mass at 11.30am by      becca1301We are about to have a nanosecond (in terms of church history) in which we can have a dramatic impact on the faith lives of Catholics. Catholic worshipers are beginning to be aware that a new translation of the Roman Missal is on the horizon. As we get closer to the mandatory implementation date, that awareness will grow. And so will their questions. Their number-one question will be: Why is this change being made?

There are many answers to that question, but there is only one that matters to your parishioners. It is the answer to a deeper, probably unspoken question: How will this change affect me?

How will we respond?

That is the golden opportunity before us. The introduction of the new translation will get people’s attention. They will have a genuine question about their experience of worship, and we will have a very brief window of time in which to answer that question. I think that means we have to do two things. First, we have to stir up as much buzz as possible about the new translation so more and more people will start to ask questions. Second, we have to prepare an answer to that deep, unspoken question.

If someone asks why these changes are being made (and is really asking how these changes will affect the way he worships) what will you reply? If you are standing in front of a room full of people who are asking that question or preaching at Sunday Mass about the coming changes, what will you say?

A deep question needs a deep answer

If you are not a fan of the new translation, it may be difficult to find a graceful answer. And if you are a fan of the new translation, it may be difficult to avoid getting bogged down in line-by-line comparisons of the old and new. In both cases, we have to broaden the scope of the answer to fit the deep concern of the question.

I don’t think most parishioners are going to be all that wrapped up in the new texts. Most of the changes will be in the words the presider says. The changes to the assembly responses will be novel and maybe even jarring for a while, but people will adapt quickly. So one possible answer could legitimately be that the parishioners’ experience of the liturgy will not change all that much.

Parishioners expect great things

However, I don’t think that is the answer people are looking for. I think they want to know that these changes are being made to improve the Mass and make worship better—more spiritual, more prayerful. They want to experience the liturgy as both more reverent and more fascinating. If you don’t like the new translation, you might find it difficult to promise them that. And if you do like the new translation, you would be overpromising if you expect a new text, alone, to accomplish improvements on that scale.

Time for a liturgical renewal

So here is the challenge before us. Between now and Advent 2011, what changes can we make to the way we worship every week so we can honestly say to parishioners that the introduction of the new missal will have a dramatic, positive impact on the quality of the liturgy? In other words, how can we grasp this brief opportunity—when we will have the attention of parishioners perhaps like no other time in our ministry—to institute a year-long liturgical renewal in our parishes? If we begin now to improve all aspects of our worship, by the time the new texts are introduced, they will be more smoothly incorporated into our more active and vibrant parish worship.

“Christ has died” acclamation will not be an option

The Harrowing of Hell by jimforrest [Flickr]The new text of the Roman Missal will not be implemented until Advent 2011. However, there is one change you might consider making now in order to make the transition smoother next year. The popular memorial acclamation, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again,” was not approved by the Vatican and is not included in the new missal. You can see the approved texts on the USCCB website.

In my experience, most worshiping communities use “Christ has died…” almost exclusively. If you begin to transition away from that response now, it will feel like one less change you have to make next year.

Unfortunately, none of the new texts are exactly the same as the ones we have now. However, option C in the current translation and option B in the new one are very close:

Current translation New translation
When we eat this bread
and drink this cup,
we proclaim your death,
Lord Jesus,
until you come in glory.
When we eat this Bread
and drink this Cup,
we proclaim your death,
O Lord,
until you come again.

If you begin to use the current option C more often, you will be one step ahead by the time you need to implement the rest of the changes.


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Introducing the new missal: A four-step strategy

Bath abbey nave by kunalmehta [Flickr]By now you have no doubt heard that the new translation of the missal has been approved by the Vatican and the implementation date has been set for the First Sunday of Advent 2011. And you are probably also aware the new translation has been controversial. In the August 28, 2010 issue of The Tablet, Philip Endean, SJ, lists a four-step strategy for introducing the new translation to our parishes:

            • Acknowledge the wider issues at stake. Some of the issues are not just about correct translation, but also about issues of ecclesiology.
            • Acknowledge conflicting concerns. Some choices in translation were made between conflicting goods. A decision for one “good” is not a rejection of the other.
        • Recognize that reverence and accessibility are theologically complementary. “If the introduction of a new text can be described as one side ‘winning’ some kind of competition between gospel values, things have gone badly wrong.”
        • Only say in public what you actually believe. Parishioners need to hear your authentic voice regarding the new translation. “Defending what you do not believe will be far more harmful to the Church than any public disharmony.”

To read the entire article, click here.

(Thanks to the Pray Tell blog for putting me on to this.)


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The new missal: We wait in joyful hope

missale_romanum_red_658x10001The introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal is not going as smoothly as its promoters perhaps wish that it would. At a recent meeting of clergy and lay leaders in Milwaukee, participants expressed their dissatisfaction with the texts. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted Father Ken Smits, a Capuchin priest and liturgical scholar as saying: “For some people this will be very unsettling. The real concern is among the parish priests, who will have to explain something many of them are not in favor of. They’d much rather spend their time in ministry than have to go through this linguistic exercise.”

Some of the clergy in Chicago are apparently in agreement. Jerry Galipeau, Associate Publisher at World Library Publications, reported on his blog today about a meeting he had with ten priests of the archdiocese who told Jerry that “not one priest of the deanery gives his personal approval for the need for a new translation—and there is some resentment and fear.”

And all this follows on the heels of the “What If We Said, ‘Wait’?” movement, which has collected over 21,000 signatures from people who “are very concerned about the proposed new translations of the Roman Missal.”

Jerry Galipeau, however, sees the introduction of the new missal as hopeful moment.

[T]he advent of the new translation—I hope—will lead to a discovery, or rediscovery (as the case may be) of the real art of celebrating the Mass for these priests. We look for a new dawn of liturgical engagement, a synergy among the realities of text, celebrant, music, and people. It is within the life that is generated through this synergy that God’s work of mercy, love, and reconciliation in Christ takes root, blossoms, and grows day after day, Mass after Mass, year after year, until our voices are joined with countless hosts of angels in that eternal “Hosanna!”

The most compelling statement of support I’ve read came from Kathleen Hughes, RSCJ. Hughes committed almost two decades of her life to creating the second English translation of the missal, which was approved by the world’s English-speaking bishops’ conferences in 1998, but rejected by Rome. If anyone has reason to be resistant to the current translation, it would be her. Instead, she said this at the July 2010 meeting of the National Associations of Pastoral Musicians:

[W]e can make a choice now not to be cranky about the new translation or to disparage this word or that phrase. I have more reason than most of you in this room to wish it were otherwise. I worked for the former ICEL for nineteen years and we had neared completion of a new translation of the Missal using different translation principles. But that was then. Now I have made a conscious choice to button my lip. Being cranky, especially being perpetually cranky, sours us and keeps us in a sort of low grade depression. None of us really wants to live like that.

This will be a defining moment in our ministry as liturgical and pastoral leaders in the church. There is certainly enough to criticize and denounce. But, as Hughes, suggests, do we really want to live like that? The reason we all chose lives of ministry is because of our radical conversion to the hope Christ offers and our apostolic compulsion to proclaim that hope to others. It’s time to go to work.


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