When I first told the parishioners at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, S. C., that a new translation of the Mass was coming, I had to convince them that it really was the Pope’s idea and not mine.
We began preparations for the introduction of the new translation of the Mass in July with four pastor’s letters in the parish bulletin. These letters outlined why the new Mass translation was necessary and explained the theory behind it.
This gave me an opportunity to explain why we, as Catholics, worship with liturgy in the first place. Next, I explained the difference between “dynamic equivalency” and a more literal rendering of the text. This led to a couple more weeks of catechesis about how the new translation was more faithful to the Latin and restored the references to Scripture.
In October, we devoted three weeks worth of homilies to the new translation. First, I reviewed the uses of liturgy and why the language used matters. The second week we looked in detail at the changes in the people’s parts for the Introductory rites and Liturgy of the Word, and the third week I explained in detail the changes in the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
That brought us to November, and during these past weeks, just before the new translation kicks in, we have spent time practicing the musical changes for those parts that will change on the First Sunday of Advent: the Acclamation of Faith and the Sanctus. The congregation has also used pew cards to practice their new responses.
We have delayed the process of learning a new musical setting for the Gloria until Advent begins. I’ve suggested that we might all take it on as an Advent penance. So far, things have gone well. I have tried to make the transition as painless as possible, and the feedback from our people has been positive.
I do, however, worry about one comment. I asked a parishioner how he liked the new translation, and he thought for a moment and said, “I really like it. I think it is shorter than the old one.”
Father Dwight Longenecker
is the parish priest of
Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina.
Visit his parish website at