On November 27 of this year, the first Sunday of Advent of 2011, a new translation of the Mass will be used in all Latin Rite Catholic parishes in the United States. These new words represent perhaps the most significant liturgical changes since the revision of the sacraments shortly after the Second Vatican Council. But while the words will be different than those to which we have grown accustomed, it must also be remembered that the Mass itself will remain the same. Its structure and flow will remain as they currently exist.
While change can often be difficult, the new words to the Mass nevertheless give us all a chance to refocus and to rededicate ourselves to the source and summit of our Faith, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The new words present, in fact, a real opportunity to once again remember just what it is that we do when we gather for the Eucharist. Better yet, it is a chance to remember what it is that Jesus Christ does when we assemble. As we learn more about these new words during the next few weeks, take time to really study them and to listen with fresh ears to the beautiful prayers of the Church.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a marvelous website dedicated to the new translation.
One video clip that is a helpful overview for young people (and adults!) can be found on the LifeTeen website. All are encouraged to explore these sites to learn more the important changes to come.
Learning the new words of the Mass will take patience and time. But after several months of their use, they will become just as familiar to us as our current words. What remains to be seen, however, is whether we will use this time of preparation to grow in attentiveness to the true heart of the Mass – the prayer of Jesus. Are we willing to make this prayer our own? Will we let the eternal “Thy will be done” of Jesus be spoken by our lips, through active and conscious participation in the Mass? Let us pray that the answer is a resounding yes.
To understand more about the changes to the missal, all are welcome to attend the Wednesday Night Speaker Series St. Michael’s Social Hall 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Presentation will begin at 6:45 p.m. November 9 The Words of our Liturgy are Changing, Part I: The importance of the Word in the Catholic Tradition and The Place of Liturgy in Our Faith November 16 The Words of our Liturgy are Changing, Part II: Defining the Parts of the Mass and the Specific Changes Therein. December 7 Universality in the Tradition of the Catholic Church December 14 Jayne Windnagel, Director of Liturgy and Music: Music and the New Translation