New Words, Same Mass

JosephChrismanBy Joseph Chrisman, Director for Worship - October 2010

November 27, 2011 will mark one of the biggest liturgical changes in the United States in almost forty years. On that Sunday, Catholics in this country will begin using the third edition of the Roman Missal recently translated into English. While many of the words will change, the Mass will remain the same.The third edition of the Roman Missal was released in Latin in 2002 after John Paul II called for the addition of many new prayers and formulas. This edition includes several new Mass formulas for recent saints and new votive Masses, dismissal formulas and prayers for special occasions. The Latin edition, or editio typica, is the universal text for the celebration of the Mass.

Even though the Roman Missal contains the same Mass celebrated since Vatican II, through this process the Church wanted to take a critical look at the vernacular, or common, translations in use around the world.  The result was a need for re-translations of the Mass in the vernacular.  The task of translation is not limited to the English language; all places that celebrate mass in their own language are in the process of translating their own liturgical books.

Based on the experience gained during the last forty years, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) began preparing a new translation for review by all the English-speaking countries of the world.  This was done to more closely reflect the Latin text.  After a lengthy process, consultation of the Conferences of Bishops, and suggestions from the Vox Clara (another committee involved in the process), ICEL presented its final draft to the Holy See. The Holy See made some minor adjustments to the texts, and returned it for publication.

On August 20, 2010, the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDWDS) granted approval (recognitio) for the new English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal.In the coming months ICEL will prepare a final compilation of all the texts for Mass to be published and distributed. By November 27, 2011, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) plans the full implementation of the third edition of the Roman Missal. On that day, the United States will say good bye to the Sacramentary and begin using the Roman Missal.

So what are some these changes that everyone is talking about?

Many of the priest’s parts and some of the people’s responses have changed. Here are some examples of the changes.