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Podcasts explain and examine changes to the Roman Missal

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April 27, 2011

By Mary Caffrey Knapke

ARCHDIOCESE — There are many ways to learn about the new translation of the Roman Missal that English-speaking Catholics around the world will begin using this Advent. Local parishes are hosting workshops to describe and explain the changes, and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops websites contain numerous resources.


Now, parishioners can also learn about the Roman Missal, Third Edition while driving, exercising, making dinner or any time, thanks to a series of podcasts produced by the archdiocesan Worship Commission.


Emily Strand, director of liturgy at the University of Dayton and a member of the archdiocesan Roman Missal Sub-Committee, was inspired to produce the podcasts after getting “hooked on” listening to podcasts herself.


Because the audio programs are posted online, they’re accessible “any time, anywhere,” Strand said. “You can listen to it on your commute to work or on your morning jog. I like being able to contribute to that.”


The series of Roman Missal podcasts, Beyond the Words, is available on iTunes or through the Archdiocese of Cincinnati web site at http://www.catholiccincinnati.org/ministries-offices/worship/the-new-roman-missal/media-information.


In the podcasts, Strand and co-host Bob Wurzelbacher, associate director of the archdiocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, use an informal conversational style and references from popular culture to appeal to young adults in particular. However, the content and the topics discussed are appropriate for listeners of any age.


In the first episode, Strand and Wurzelbacher conduct an interview with Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, who describes some of the changes to the Roman Missal and explains the reasons why they are necessary.


In other episodes, Strand and Wurzelbacher, along with a series of special guests, discuss the role of language in human culture and the sacramental power of words.


Strand said that using new forms of media is great outreach. “The Holy Father has come out strongly and said our evangelization should happen through new media. The internet is a huge, wide open field, so that inspires me.”


Wurzelbacher agreed that the internet presents great opportunities for catechesis and evangelization.


“Pope Benedict encouraged young people to use their computers, Facebook accounts, blogs and Internet video posts to share with their peers the joy of faith in Christ. Young people are using these social media outlets, and many of them almost constantly. It’s a great way to reach them and have them exposed to new ways of learning about their faith through a medium in which they are already comfortable.”


Karen Kane, director of the archdiocesan Worship Office, is a guest on several episodes of Beyond the Words. Kane explained that the Worship Office, Worship Commission and Roman Missal Sub-Committee wanted to provide information about the new edition of the Roman Missal to a broad audience through a variety of materials and programs.


While the podcasts are informational, “they are not simply about the words that are changing at Mass,” Kane said. “They are designed to help people deepen their appreciation for the liturgy — why we do what we do, why we pray what we pray; hence, the title of the podcast series, Beyond the Words.”


Wurzelbacher said that, in general, young adults tend to be curious and positive about the upcoming changes.


Of the translations, Strand said they present an opportunity “for growth and for theological depth, and I think that that’s what we need. I think there’s so much trite garbage out there in terms of words in our culture. There’s so much throwaway speech. And I think that this new translation will be the very opposite of that. Maybe it will make people scratch their heads and say, ‘Well, maybe language does mean something. Maybe the words we say are important.’”


“The reception and implementation of the Roman Missal is an important moment in the life of the church, and it is important that Catholics know about the changes and why they are happening, as well as using this moment in time to engage people in a deeper reflection on the celebration of the Eucharist,” Kane added. “If there is one goal that is most important on our list of things to accomplish with the implementation of the Roman Missal, it is to assist our Catholic parishes to celebrate and experience the Eucharist as the source and summit of our lives…. The podcasts will hopefully be one way to help Catholics deepen their understanding of the Mass in order that the celebration of the Eucharist might become for them their spiritual food and drink.”


Mary Caffrey Knapke can be reached at [email protected].

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