Thursday, December 1, 2011

The New Translation of the Mass

All over English speaking Catholic world this past Sunday we celebrated the holy sacrifice of the the Mass with some new, more formal language.  This has been a change ten years in the making.  At my parish we have had workshops and practice sessions.  We have received booklets and gotten an entirely new  hymnal.  The changes were not unexpected. They were anticipated.

People have different feelings about the changes from--it's about time to why did they do that?  Change can be hard to take.  But, I suspect in a year or two we will wonder what the fuss was about.  We will find it hard to remember the change and how it all took place.  The Mass is the Mass and the changes will take hold because the Holy Spirit will lead us.

I thought before we all forget, it might be a good idea to reflect upon the changes that have just occurred.  When your grandchildren ask you, what story will you tell about your own experiences with the changes in the Mass?

I wanted to state for the record that this past Sunday, the first Sunday in Advent, felt awkward.  I kept looking at the book for the words.  At one point I searched desperately for the words to the Our Father and breathed a sigh of relief when I realized that it didn't change. And I already knew that, but somehow in panic, I forgot.

My very well prepared congregation did pretty well with the changes until we reached the Gospel and we were on a different page that had the readings and not the responses spelled out.  When the Priest at that point said--The Lord be with you.  We all in unison responded--And also with you.  Even though we knew somewhere in the backs of our brains from all the practice that it was supposed to be--And with your spirit.  If it hadn't been the Mass we might have had a little nervous laughter, but we just went on.  It will be a learning experience.

I love some of the new language--'chalice' instead of 'cup' for example rings true.  It will take a little longer for 'consubstantial' to come tripping off my tongue, but it will happen. Overall, very little has changed, it just feels a little different to say different words.  As our priest said in his homily, the changes will get us back into the book and thinking about the words of the Mass.  That can only be a good thing.

I would invite your comments about your experience with the changes.  When something as monumental as changes to the words of the Mass occurs, it is worth taking notice and remembering how it happened.


  1. Mary,
    Thanks for your comments in this post about the new language of the Mass. One of the things that I have heard people say is that it is the "new Mass"~ the language is new, the Mass is not.
    In my own parish, things went rather smoothly. The hardest thing for people to remember right now is the "and with your spirit". We have been integrating some parts of the Mass with the new language for some time now. Our pastor started with the Holy, Holy, Holy, then one of the acclamations, the Gloria. He also did a wonderful job of teaching the why's and hows during a series of homilies.
    As you said, we will get there. I love the changes, and having to learn them makes me think more about what I am saying and praying.

  2. I'm in great company as I am new to Mass anyway,I have not learned all the old so the new is good for me I feel up with y'all now, a "bit" that is. I'm already hungry for all things about The Lord, I love Mass, the changes seem deeper into the things of God!

  3. Hi Mary,
    Our pastor prepared us well for the changes - there were even CD's at the back of the Church that we got to keep explaining all the changes that were to take place. We worked into it gradually like Karinann's parish did. So what keeps popping out of my mouth every single time I go to Mass? "And also with you" instead of "And with your spirit". I did it again this morning! I like most of the changes though - it's got me thinking much more about what I'm saying. I definitely prefer chalice to cup too!

  4. I usually attend the Extraordinary Form so the translation changes don't affect me, but I still care about it anyway. Friday at Adoration I read through the new translation and found it to be very similar to the English in my Latin/English missal where the two forms share prayers in common. This is very important. If you want to read my take on it, I mentioned the subject in my Sabbath Moments post today.

  5. Mary, I forgot to say that by Christmas people will be a lot more comfortable with the responses and I think the new translation will aid piety.

  6. I think the change has made me really think about what I am saying, versus just saying the words I've always said. I enjoy that part.

    On the downside, I've remembered to say "and with your spirit" exactly one time since we changed. And our church has a giant sign with those words for all of us to see!

    God Bless.

  7. My parish was prepared well. We had cards in the pews to help us along the way,. We still said - and also with you - many times. But that will change.
    I agree that this is a good thing. It has us studying the Mass and thinking more about the meaning of it.
    And we are talking and writing about it!!