A panel of liturgical experts recently noted that the early weeks of using the new English translation of the Roman Missal should be an occasion for Catholics to grow deeper in their understanding of the Mass.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington said that the new translation provides a “great opportunity” for those who are familiar with the old responses to gain a “deeper grasp of their faith.”
The cardinal participated in a Dec. 6 phone conference to discuss the impact of the new translation, which went into effect in the English-speaking world on Nov. 27, the First Sunday of Advent.
“It helps to step back” and reflect on the Mass from time to time, said Cardinal Wuerl.
He explained that in celebrating Mass he has experienced a deep spiritual engagement with the text, as he has become more aware of the meaning of each word he says.
Edward Sri, author of A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, said that after hearing about the changes Catholics are now beginning to “experience” the new translation for the first time.
Sri, who serves as provost at the Augustine Institute in Denver, said that the time of transition presents a “wonderful opportunity” to answer people’s questions, “not just about the new translation, but about the Mass as a whole.”
By continuing to preach about the Mass and the “profound significance” of the changes, priests and deacons can provide a “great doorway” for people to enter more deeply into the liturgy, he said.
Father Dan Barron, OMV, editor of Magnifikid!, the weekly children’s worship aid published by Magnificat, emphasized the importance of personal witness in reaching out to share the faith with others.
A priest for 15 years, Father Barron said that he has personally experienced an increased awareness of the mysteries of the Mass and finds himself “more drawn into prayer and contemplation in the midst of the liturgy than ever before.”
Grammy-nominated Catholic musician Matt Maher commented on the continued role of music in the liturgy, saying that music is a humble tool that serves to aid active participation in the Mass.
He noted that this participation requires that people not only sing and respond when appropriate, but also enter fully into moments of silence within the Mass.
Maher added that Catholics should not expect a perfect adjustment after two weeks, but patiently realize that “these things take time.”
He said that he is especially excited for future generations who will grow up seeing the treasures of the Mass “unlocked” by the new translation.