A View from the Pew: The New Translation in Practice

Well, I saw no neck braces at our local, rural Minnesota Catholic parish, and I didn’t see anyone storm out of the 8 a.m. Mass this morning. All in all, the implementation of the new translation of the Roman Missal seemed pretty effortless.

The most noticeable faux pas were the automatic instincts of the congregants to say “And also with you” at the very beginning of Mass, and at the very end. In the beginning of Mass, our priest smiled at the discordant responses and said, “Let’s try that again.”

One unintended consequence of the discord was that people were caught off guard. For example, during the dismissal, when the priest said, “The Lord be with you,” and he received a variety of responses, he then proceeded to “Go in peace.” Because of the previous confusion, there was a noticeable lack of response to “Go in peace,” either because people were uncertain if the response was the same, or they felt embarrassed by their previous response.

Throughout Mass, the priest reminded parishioners of upcoming changes, so that they could grab the pew card and find their place.

There was one minor mistake on the priest’s part, where he, too, relied on instinct and uttered text from the previous translation without catching himself.

Our children, equipped with child-friendly Missals from Holy Heroes were easily able to follow along and participate. They had listened to the Holy Heroes new translation on CD a number of times, so were probably more equipped for the changes than myself. In fact, at dismissal, I found myself instinctively uttering “And also…” until my daughter elbowed me, and what came out probably sounded like “And also with your spirit.”

Otherwise all went well. The pews were well equipped with helpful pew cards, and booklets inserted into the back of each hymnal. The hiccups were pretty minor ones and I suspect that, as in the U.K., where the change took place previously, the changes will become habitual and effortless in a matter of weeks.

What did you see, hear, experience?