Welcoming the Roman Missal, Third Edition
October 21, 2011
By Karen Kane
Over the past few years, Worship Offices all over the United States have been preparing their dioceses for the reception of the English translation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition.
Here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, we have held workshops, training sessions and discussion groups with our priests, deacons, DRE’s, youth ministers, parish musicians, school teachers, parish Worship Commissions, liturgical ministers and members of our worshiping assemblies as we sought to prepare the people of God for the changes in the words that we pray at Mass. We have created podcasts, provided bulletin inserts, developed a monthly newsletter, gathered and made available print resources and expanded our web site so that parish communities would have access to information of all kinds in a variety of mediums. Many archdiocesan offices and professional parish staff members have collaborated on these efforts. Thousands of people have had the opportunity to learn about the Roman Missal, Third Edition and are prepared for its reception on Nov. 27.
While there are some who may still be somewhat skeptical about the changes, many more have come to welcome them. No translation is ever perfect. It is incredibly difficult to create a translation from Latin into the vernacular, English in this case, that is accurate and poetic and theologically precise. Nevertheless, we have a new translation that has been given to us by Pope Benedict XVI and he has asked that we open our hearts and minds to this new translation and allow it to speak to us as we continue on the path of spiritual and liturgical renewal.
The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy speaks of the liturgy, the celebration of the Mass, as being the font and summit of our Christian lives (CSL, no.10). Our participation in the celebration of the Eucharist should be an experience of bringing all that we are to the table of the Lord to be transformed, made anew by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. Our participation in the celebration of the Mass is one in which we give worship to our God: a God who has created us in His image and likeness; a God who has given us the gifts of this world to use; a God who loves us beyond compare; and a God whose mercy never ends. And for all these things we come together, never ceasing to give thanks and praise. Our participation in the liturgy nourishes us and sustains us for life outside the Eucharis. It strengthens our hearts and minds to live as Christ in the world. It strengthens us for mission.
The Sunday celebration of the Mass is not changing; the order of Mass remains the same, and the Mass will continue to do and be what it is meant to do and be. It will continue to be a participation in the sacrifice of Christ as we join with Him and the entire church to offer worship to God, to offer thanks and praise for our redemption, to offer thanks and praise for all that God has done in our lives. The liturgy will continue to be the place in which God sanctifies us, where God makes holy this gathering of people who desire to know and do the will of God. It will continue to be the gathering of a people united in Christ who desire to be fed at the table of the word and the table of the Eucharist so that we may go forth to proclaim the Gospel. Yes, some of the words are changing, but the inner meaning and power of the Eucharist remains unchanged.
As Catholics, it is up to each of us to come to the Eucharist ready to enter into its power and grace, ready to receive from it the gift of Christ’s very own life. In a world such as ours, we need our Sunday Eucharist to be an experience of Christ present, present in word and sacrament, in the person of the minister and in the gathering of the people of God. However, in order for us to receive the full benefit of the Eucharist, we must come to it with our hearts and minds open to its power, ready to receive its many blessings. We also need for those who serve the liturgy, priests, deacons, lectors, extraordinary ministers of holy Communion, servers, ushers and the entire assembly to be present to their role in the liturgy and to perform their role with dignity and decorum so that the people of God can derive from the celebration the grace that is available to them through the church’s worship.
And so, as we look to these upcoming changes, as we struggle to say the right words and to understand some of the new and unfamiliar words, we are invited to go beyond the words, to enter into the mystery of our worship. May we as the church of Cincinnati move forward with the entire English-speaking church and offer our worship to God who deserves our praise, and may our worship be for us the source of grace for our lives, the source of nourishment to live as Christ in the world.
Kane is the director of the archdiocesan Worship Office.