Archdiocese Local

A new way to pray

The Roman Missal has undergone some significant changes— and they will affect how Mass is celebrated


by Joe Bollig
joe.bollig@theleaven.org

Additional reporting by Marc and Julie Anderson

TOPEKA — The Book of Ecclesiastes says, “There is an appointed time for everything” (3:1).

And Michael Podrebarac’s appointed time is Sat., Nov. 26.

The longtime liturgist has the whole day blocked off for the end — and the beginning — of two eras for Catholics in the United States.

On that morning, Podrebarac will be at a church for the last celebration of the Mass as he has always known it. In the evening, he’ll be at another church for the celebration of the Mass as it will be for the rest of his life — and unforeseen years to come.

“There will be a sense of sadness for these words, particularly for these phrases that have so much meaning for us in the liturgy,” said Podrebarac, archdiocesan consultant for liturgy.

The First Sunday of Advent on Nov. 27 is the first time the new translation of the Roman Missal can be used, although that includes the anticipatory vigil Mass on Nov. 26.

In a single day, the old Sacramentary will be replaced by the new translation of the Roman Missal — the book that orders our public, divine worship in the Mass.

A time to grow, a time to change

It’s OK to be sad, and it’s OK to celebrate this transition to a new translation, said Podrebarac. Some will likely do both.

“There are those phrases that I’ve become accustomed to that I am going to miss, and I think that’s true for all of us,” said Podrebarac. “Even for those of us who . . . are very excited about and welcoming these changes, change is difficult for all of us.”

“But in the end, there are many beautiful turns of phrases in these revised texts, and they will become part of our expression of faith,” he continued.

Many Catholics have questions about the changes.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann addressed some of these questions at a presentation he gave on the new Roman Missal Feb. 24 to the Serra Club in Topeka.

“‘Why do we need a new translation? What was wrong with the old translation that we have had all these years?’” he said some people have asked.

And if something was wrong with the old translation, he continued, they wondered whether we’d been celebrating the Eucharist improperly for all these years.

But that is not the case at all, the archbishop explained.

The order, content and essence of the Mass will not change, said Podrebarac, who gave a workshop on the new translation of the Roman Missal to parish ministers on March 5 at Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Topeka.

“This will be a more articulate way of trying to express the Christian mystery,” said Podrebarac. “I think if we go into it with the attitude that ‘no matter how well we try to express [the mystery], our words will always fail,’ these words can carry us to a deeper appreciation, if we let them.”

How and why we got here

Pope John Paul II announced in 2000 that, in commemoration of the jubilee year, there would be a third edition of the Roman Missal, one of the fruits of the Second Vatican Council, 1962-65.

Before the council, the Mass was celebrated in Latin universally. The council fathers deliberated over the use of the vernacular languages in the liturgy. Seeing this as being potentially beneficial to the faithful, they granted such use of the vernacular in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (“Sacrosanctum Concilium”). It was Pope Paul VI himself who granted permission for the entire liturgy to be celebrated in the language of the people.

In the United States, the first edition of the Roman Missal of Pope Paul VI made its debut in Advent 1969. Some minor revisions were made to the first edition in 1974. The U.S. bishops approved a second edition of the Missal in 1998 but, soon after it was submitted to Rome for approval, Pope John Paul announced the third edition, which came out in Latin in 2002.

“And so, how does one translate from a language like Latin into a language like English — two of the most persnickety languages that ever came after the tower of Babel?” said Podrebarac.

The translation of the first edition was guided by the 1969 instruction “Comme le prévoit,” issued by the Consilium for Implementing the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. It called for the approach called “dynamic equivalency.”

“The idea was [to] take what is there in Latin and create a dynamic equivalent which maintains the essence of that prayer but is not a formal [literal] translation,” said Podrebarac.

After the dust settled from the adoption of the vernacular, the Vatican issued an instruction to guide translations, “Liturgiam Authenticam,” in 2001.

“It said the that the older way of dynamic equivalence can sometimes hide certain points of the Latin prayer that are really beneficial and necessary for the people,” said Podrebarac.

The intent behind “Liturgiam Authenticam” was to take the Latin and create a translation with a little more formal equivalence — one that didn’t leave out little phrases, Scriptural gems, and turns of phrases that better clarify what the church teaches.

There were other reasons for a new translation as well. The church’s calendar had changed, and there were more saints. Also, the Vatican had approved additional options for various needs and occasions, as well as additional eucharistic prayers.

“The Eucharist is the most important thing that we do as a church,” said Archbishop Naumann in his talk in February. “It is the center of our prayer as Catholics. It is the source and summit, as the Second Vatican Council spoke of it, in terms of our Catholic faith and Catholic life.”

“And so,” he continued, “how we celebrate the Eucharist is really very critical in living our Catholic faith and that we do it with the greatest care and devotion possible.”

The ancient Latin principle is: “Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi,” or “As we worship, so we believe, so we live.”

Words fail me, and you, too

The challenge of translation goes beyond choosing between a literal or a dynamic equivalent approach.

What about all those idioms? What about differences in culture among the English-speaking peoples of the world? What about different understandings of identical words?

And then there is the biggest challenge of all: We’re human. We don’t speak angel.

“No matter what language we use, or words we use to express the mysteries of the Mass, we will never outdo the mystery; we will never satisfy the mystery,” said Podrebarac. “In other words, the expression of the mystery will never quench the mystery.”

A good example of the limitations of language can be examined in two phrases, he said. One is: “I love you”; the other, “I’m sorry.” Neither can express the fullness or depth of those two phrases.

In the case of the language used in the Mass, sometimes one word will mean just a bit more than another word, or put a different slant on things. This is the case with the words “fellowship” and “communion.”

Currently in the introductory rites of the Mass, the priest prays that “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” In the new translation, “communion” replaces “fellowship.”

It’s not that fellowship is a negative thing, or the word here is somehow deficient or wrong, said Podrebarac. It’s just that “communion” is a deeper and closer way of translating the Latin “communio.”

“Communion means that we are not here simply of our own will,” he said. “We have been drawn here by a power higher than ourselves. We have been given grace. . . . Communion means we just don’t come together. We enter into one another. We belong to one another. We live for one another, because we are all members of the mystical body, and that mystical body is Christ.”

A time to study, a time to practice

Archdiocesan Catholics — along with all English-speaking Catholics around the world — will have to learn the new translation.

The words of the priest will change. The responses of the people, both sung and recited, will change. The prayers of the people will change. Music will change.

Some changes will be quite noticeable, and others could easily be missed. This change might remind older Catholics of the changes following the council, when there was a bit of fumbling at first.

In time, these words will become as familiar as those we currently use, said Podrebarac.

Priests will receive copies of the new missals in October, but they’re already taking workshops to prepare for the change. They received instructions during their annual workshop in September 2010, and a singing workshop is scheduled this year.

“I think our priests received well the opportunity that this new translation presents us, not only with making people acquainted with the translation and the rationale behind it,” said Archbishop Naumann, “but also to re-catechize ourselves of the importance of the Eucharist in our lives.”

The laity are being prepared through the distribution of monthly bulletin inserts, and by regional and parish workshops. The times, dates and places will be announced later.

For more information on the new Roman Missal, go to the Web site of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at: www. nccbuscc.org/romanmissal.


Present Text

Greeting

Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.

Penitential Act, Form A (Confiteor)

I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Penitential Act, Form B

 

Priest: Lord, we have sinned against you: Lord, have mercy.
People: Lord, have mercy.
Priest: Lord, show us your mercy and love.
People: And grant us your salvation.

Gloria

 

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Mystery of Faith (formerly the Memorial Acclamation)

Priest: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:

People: A – Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

or B – Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory.

or C – When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.

or D – Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Savior of the World.


 

New Text

Greeting

Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.

Penitential Act, Form A (Confiteor)

 

I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Penitential Act, Form B

Priest: Have mercy on us, O Lord.
People: For we have sinned against you.
Priest: Show us, O Lord, your mercy.
People: And grant us your salvation.

Gloria

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Nicene Creed

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Mystery of Faith (formerly the Memorial Acclamation)

Priest: The mystery of faith.

People: A – We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.

or B – When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.

or C – Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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