- Presention: Understanding the New Translation of the Mass
A concise presentation by our pastor, Fr. Tom Wilson, that explains many of the insights and riches that flow from the changes found in the new translation of the Mass. This session was offered in November.
- Booklets Available
Small booklets explaining the key components of the Mass and translation information are available in the back of Church. This is a great way to learn about the magnifince and magnitude of the Liturgy! We hope these education materials deepen your awareness of the Liturgy!
New Words: A Deeper Meaning, but the Same Mass
The one Church Latin phrase that nominally or formerly Catholic sit com writers can muscle out as part of an attempt at humor is “et cum tuo spiritu.” Its literal translation is “and with your spirit” and is the response to the greeting, “Dominus vobiscum” (“the Lord be with you”). The exchange is frequent in the Mass in its original Latin and is translated to English with the response “and also with you” in our current translation. Our current translation has a number of places that are not literal because of a decision to make the English more conversational in tone and to help smooth out the roughness of certain usage that does not make for an easy translation.
As most of you have heard from various sources, the Church will be introducing a new translation to the Roman Missal (the book containing the prayers of the Mass) in English beginning the first Sunday in Advent this year. Like any change, some are excited and some are fearful, with most of us somewhere in between. No matter how we approach the pending changes, it is important that we are accurately informed about what is happening and why. The most important aspect of this change is to know that it was not an impulsive decision by anyone. Our approach to authority in this country lends itself to subscribing to ideas of leaders acting on whims, and when we apply that to the hierarchical nature of the Church it has the possibility of going viral. The truth is that the new translation has been in the works for over a decade, when the Church, in consultation with experts in language and liturgy, put out new norms for the translation of liturgical texts in the late 1990’s. What we are doing is well thought out and not at the whim of anyone or because the previous translation was poor.
Our Liturgy & Worship Commission, Aana Bendson, our Music and Liturgy Director, and our Formation and Education staff are working hard to put together a program for introducing the new missal next fall. Since the Eucharist is the source and summit of our life together, it is appropriate that we have many sectors of the parish working together to implement the translation at All Saints. The first step will be some internal staff education this summer and then work with parish groups in the fall. The new translation will be integral to our children’s formation programs and our adult education programs in the fall.
The translation is not a radical change, but we will experience change in some of the basic prayers of the Mass. The most significant change will be in the Gloria, in which our current translation did not include a number of parts from the original Latin. Along with the “and with your spirit” anticipate modest changes to the Sanctus (the “Holy, holy”), the creed, and some of the acclimations used in the “Agnus Dei” (the Lamb of God). The transition will be eased with Mass cards that will be placed in pews that we will need to read from while we get used to the new language. You will also notice changes in the collect prayers (prayers said by the priest at the beginning of Mass, over the gifts, and after communion). They will have a more transcendent tone than the more conversational style we have now. There will be modifications to the Eucharistic prayers as well including the words of consecration. We will have the opportunity for specific teaching on each of these modifications during Mass beginning in early October.
It is important to note that the Mass is not changing. The words are not “changing” either. The translation is changing. This is the same Mass with a different translation and no ritual changes. While we may see more settings in Latin, we are not abandoning the vernacular in the Mass. The Mass is our highest form of prayer and connects us most intimately with Christ in His body. Our new translation is an opportunity to appreciate anew the same Mass, different words and deeper meaning.
Fr. Tom Wilson, Pastor All Saints Catholic Church June, 2011