Opportunity, not obstacle

JosephChrismanBy Joseph Chrisman, Director for Worship - December 2010

In less than one year, the Church in the US will make the switch from the Sacramentary to the Roman Missal. For the average person this means some new words in the prayers and responses for Mass. As daunting as this change may be, for some, it is important to remember that the structure of the Mass is not changing. This is the same Mass that the Church has celebrated since the Second Vatican Council. The only “changes” are those to the words.

Over the next 11 months, the country, dioceses and parishes will be preparing to implement the new Missal. This transition, however painful it may be, marks an opportunity rather than an obstacle. Sure, it is true, that the English words that have become second nature and part-and-parcel of Catholic life are changing; however, this time of preparation offers opportunities to probe the depth and beauty of Catholic liturgy. Many helpful resources, articles, books, blogs and even videos are now available from a number of publishers such as Liturgy Training Publications (www.revisedromanmissal.org), the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (www.usccb.org/romanmissal) and Notre Dame Center for Liturgy (http://liturgy.nd.edu/webcatechesis), to name a few.

More opportunities lie in the weeks, months and years following November 27, 2011. As the Church in the US begins to formally pray using the new texts, communities begin internalizing the words that express their faith.  They continue to open their hearts and enter into the Paschal Mystery that has such tremendous potential to transform their lives. As persons “relearn” how to pray the Mass, the focus shifts away from the words and towards celebrating as one Body in Christ. The greatest opportunity then is deepening one’s faith by actively taking part in the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus and by living a life of true Christian charity.