WASHINGTON — In only a matter of weeks, the Roman liturgy in English-speaking Catholic churches will undergo the most significant change since the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. The question is: Will parishes and parishioners be ready for the new translation of the Roman Missal?
To help them prepare for the changes that will begin the First Sunday of Advent, there is an abundance of resources.
“The bishops have been doing a good job of getting the word out,” said Edward Sri, professor of theology and scripture at the Augustine Institute in Denver. “As I travel the country, I continually meet people who do not know that there’s a new translation coming and that the Mass parts will be changing.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has made available a plethora of free resources on its website (USCCB.org). Included are sample texts, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, an annotated Order of Mass, the people’s parts with commentary, the priest’s parts with commentary and music.
In addition, the book Welcoming the Roman Missal, Third Edition and accompanying DVD have been utilized by thousands of parishes around the country to prepare Massgoers for the changes.
The USCCB website also features a YouTube channel with 14 thorough videos explaining the changes, as well as PowerPoint presentations that can be utilized by parishes; other topics include musical settings and frequently asked questions. In the videos, Father Richard Hilgartner, executive director of the Secretariat of Divine Worship, provides an overview of the changes.
“There are two things to keep in mind [regarding the translation],” said Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, chairman of the Committee on Divine Worship, in an interview with TelecareTV. “First, the only changes are in words, not in ritual. Secondly, it gives us an opportunity, as we do change words, to look more deeply at the words we’re saying and come to a deeper appreciation of the Eucharist and what Mass means for us as Catholics as the center of our faith.”
Outside of the U.S. bishops’ conference, there are many other resources available for individual and parish use.
Boston’s CatholicTV has launched a 12-part series, The New and Eternal Word. The series features Msgr. James Moroney exploring how the new translation of the prayers can draw us more deeply into the words and rituals of the Mass. The series began Oct. 3 and will end just before Christmas.
Ascension Press has made available Sri’s book A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, with accompanying workbook, video, leader’s guide and website (GuidetotheMass.com).
“The materials show the connections between the Scriptures and the liturgy,” explained Sri. “The average Catholic goes through the rituals but doesn’t understand the meaning of it all. These resources are designed so that they can understand what we’re saying and doing.”
Sri began working on the project in 2010. The new English translation of the Roman Missal forced Sri to rework the project.
Ascension Press has also prepared a question-and-answer booklet called A Guide to the New Translation of the Mass with basic information about the new translation. In the back of each booklet is a detachable pew card that features all of the new parts in bold so parishioners can follow along.
Several other liturgical publishers, such as Oregon Catholic Press and Magnificat, have created resources such as Mass settings, missals and pew cards to prepare parishes for the change.
Ascension Press said that at least 4,000 parishes across the country have ordered and are using their materials.
“This time of the new translation is a unique opportunity for the Church to re-catechize on the Mass,” said Sri. “We’ll be taken out of our routine. It’s a good opportunity to learn more about the meaning of the Mass and learn how to live the Mass.”
Reaching the Young
In addition to resources for adults, there’s also a growing number of resources specifically for young adults and youth.
Cale Clarke has created new media for the new Missal. He and a technical partner have created the New Mass app (available at TheFaithExplained.com), which has been available through the Apple App Store for just over a year. They’re also working on versions for the Android and BlackBerry markets.
“The app is designed to help Catholics learn and understand the changes to the English translation of the Mass,” said Clarke. “I chose to go the route of a mobile app to try and reach people who would not necessarily darken the door of a Catholic bookstore. These days apps are king, especially among the young, the crucial demographic the Church needs to reach.”
Each section of the Mass covered in the app lists the current translation, the new translation and reasons for the change.
Liturgy Training Publications has published a series of books for children and teens and handbooks for teachers and catechists titled What’s New About the Mass. Each book includes the new prayers and responses, as well as an explanation of the words and the meaning of the parts of the Mass.
They’re not alone in creating materials for children. The Belmont, N.C.-based apostolate Holy Heroes (HolyHeroes.com) has created a unique Best-Loved Catholic Prayers CD for children. The CD not only walks through an explanation of the new responses, both of the priest and the faithful, but also has a response-only version that parents can play on their way to Mass.
Said Ken Davison, president and founder of Holy Heroes, “Children will probably be quicker to pick up the changes.”
Tim Drake is the co-host of Register Radio, which airs
Fridays at 2pm Eastern on EWTN Radio affiliates.