As parishes across the country get ready to implement the new English translation of the Roman Missal on the First Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27, some parents have been teaching their children about the changes and practicing them at home.
Joel and Joan Recznik of Toronto, Ohio, were able to get enough cardstock copies of changes months ago from their parish for everyone in the family. The Reczniks have 12 children who range in age from 4 to 23.
“We started to talk about the changes and have the kids basically recite the responses just like we taught them any other prayers, so that when the new translation goes into effect, they won’t be totally new to it,” Joel explained. “It’s a good opportunity to catechetically go deeper into what the Church prays and believes. We’re very positive, and the kids, in general, are very open.”
Already, they’ve learned by heart the Confiteor, one of the prayers that can be said during the Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass, and the Gloria with their minor but significant changes.
In Austin, Texas, Adam and Sharon Gretencord find it’s never too early to start explaining the Mass to their children, including the new changes; the oldest of their four children is Thérèse, who is nearly 8.
Both parents are going over the prayers and doing some catechesis on what words like consubstantial mean.
They found a good teaching supplement in the Holy Heroes series (HolyHeroes.com) for young children. One CD has a section devoted to the new translation of the Mass.
“It goes through all the prayers, why we say certain things, and why we beat our chests at the Confiteor,” Sharon explained. “It’s something we’ve been listening to and also something we’ve been hearing at Mass and talking about.”
Additionally, for the older children, they have been able to supplement a few explanations about the changes by adapting some facts from Ascension Press’ Epic: A Journey Through Church History, which they’ve been studying.
As the material “talks about the Council of Nicaea and where consubstantial came from,” she said, “it was a nice segue to talk to our children about where this terminology comes from and how our
Church Fathers pack so much meaning in one word, and why it’s important to bring that word back.”
Where music is concerned, they’re finding a challenge, since there isn’t one single musical setting for prayers.
They are teaching the children what the new “Holy Holy Holy, Lord God of Hosts” means.
“We are part of the Church Militant and part of God’s army,” Sharon explains to them, “and we’re here to really proclaim the Good News and the glory of the faith and being Catholic and what that means.”
As for the Gretencord kids, “The older ones are starting to piece it together, even more so when you talk about the historical context and why we do that,” Sharon said. “It makes more sense to them when you bring in the richness of the liturgy and the liturgical year. It’s slowly coming together in their little minds.”
In Excelsior, Minn., Bill and Juli Currie are using their pastor Father Mark Dosh’s articles from the parish bulletin to explain different elements in the changes to their seven children, who range in age from 2 to 16.
“We have been basically reading them over a meal and talking about them,” Juli said.
Their five children from 9 and up “can definitely appreciate the different changes in the words they know from doing their own Latin.” The Currie children learn four years of Latin before starting high school.
“They can appreciate the difficulty of giving a good translation, because it’s more than just literal,” she explained. “I hope they have a better understanding of the changes now.”
Their overall reaction, like that of their parents and so many others, is positive. As Juli summed up about the new translation: “I think it’s great. I’m all for (the words) being closer to the original.”
Register staff writer Joseph Pronechen is based in Trumbull, Connecticut.