(SNR) - After a decade of development and roughly a year of preparation, the new English translation of the Roman Missal will now be used in its entirety beginning this Sunday, Nov. 27, and at vigil Masses on the preceding evening.
Parishes throughout the Diocese of Lincoln have been preparing in different ways.
Many availed themselves to the educational materials prepared by a special diocesan committee led by Msgr. Joseph Nemec, pastor of St. Teresa Parish in Lincoln. Others found their own ways to learn the new translation and the meaning behind each change.
Msgr. Nemec is pleased with the progress.
"I have heard about a lot of great things happening," he said. "I’ve heard from many of my brother priests who have done this or that…. Some deaneries have conducted little workshops with the priests giving different talks about the meaning of the liturgy and the changes."
Sister Mary Agnes, C.K., and Sister Mary Maximillian, C.K, who teach religious education at St. James School in Crete, have used several different methods to prepare the school children and their families.
Sister Mary Agnes has been beginning or ending religion class by singing the new Mass responses and teaching the children to sing along. In recent weeks, the students have been singing these new responses at all school Masses.
Booklets, worksheets and posters displayed in the school hallways have also helped the students learn.
"They are very enthusiastic about it," Sister Mary Agnes said. "They love to tell you the new responses, and they are very interest in hearing where the new translations are coming from and why."
The changes are rooted in the Holy See’s policy for more unity among all Catholics.
After the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), when the Church permitted Mass to be celebrated in the vernacular (meaning in the language spoken locally), a new English translation was developed using a method known as dynamic equivalency.
Rather than being a literal translation, dynamic equivalency presents the concepts and ideas of the text. While this made the English Mass easy to understand in some senses, some of the Scriptural references were lost, and some of the responses in English became quite different from what was actually being said in the original Latin text.
For example, when a priest says, "The Lord be with you," the current English response is, "And also with you." In the official Latin, the response is "And with your spirit."
Father Rudolf Oborny, V.F., pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Hebron, was ordained in 1971, so he was in seminary when this English translation was being worked out. It was a rather dramatic change from the Latin, but it didn’t bother him all that much.
"It was all brand new," he said. "I didn’t have a big long history of saying it in a certain way."
Two of his uncles were priests for the Archdiocese of Omaha, and Father Oborny recalls one of the older priests grumbling about the change.
"I remember being really cheeky with him," Father Oborny said with a chuckle. "Now I can appreciate what it must have been like for him."
During the Jubilee Year in 2000, Pope John Paul II promulgated a third edition of the Roman Missal in Latin. Among other things, the, the third edition contains prayers for the celebration of recently canonized saints, additional prefaces for Eucharistic Prayers, and some updated and revised rubrics (instructions) for the celebration of the Mass. However, the third edition still needed to be translated into the vernacular.
In 2001, the Holy See issued Liturgiam Authenticam (Authentic Liturgy) to provide translators of any language guidelines for translating both sacred Scriptures and liturgical text.
Liturgiam Autheniticam calls for a method known as formal equivalency, which lends itself to a more faithful translation of words and expressions, as well as concepts.
Father Oborny cited one example where the new translation is more Scriptural.
"At the Lamb of God, instead, of saying, ‘…and I shall be healed,’ we will say, ‘…and my soul shall be healed.’ It’s more like what Jesus was speaking of in Scripture."
Comparing the overall difference between going from Latin to the vernacular and moving from the 1969 translation to the 2011 version, he added, "I think this won’t be as drastic."
Msgr. Nemec echoes this assurance.
"The changes for laypeople will be placed on one single sheet of paper, so I think that the adjustment will come fairly quickly," he said.
Both Father Oborny and Msgr. Nemec agree that the new translation will encourage everyone to be more engaged during Mass.
"I think one of the benefits is that we will be more alert at Mass, we will have to pay attention a little bit more, and different words might help us to understand what we are praying," said Msgr. Nemec.
All parishes will have resources concerning the changes available to parishioners for the weekend Masses. However, it’s probably a good idea to review the changes ahead of time.
Msgr. Nemec recommends the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website at www.usccb.org. Once on the site, you can look under "Prayer and Worship" (far left of the main navigation bar) and follow the "Roman Missal" link to find excellent resources.
For those who would like to learn the new chant that was written for the new translation, there are two links to follow on Msgr. Nemec’s home parish page, www.thelittleflower-lincoln. Click on "Bulletin" and scroll to page two to find the links.
Sister Mary Agnes recommends that parents take a little time to make sure their children are prepared to say the new responses.
"Make it a game," she said. "Your own enthusiasm for it will rub off on them. This is exciting."
She added, "I’m looking forward to the richness that the translation will provide," she said. "I think it will enrich our prayer life in other ways."
Presenting the New Missal in Music
(SNR) - One of the major initiatives for the new English translation of the Roman Missal has been developing the musical portions of the Mass.
Composers have been working steadily to supply choirs and liturgists with the required music for a number of years. Each piece was vetted by local ordinaries and then forwarded to publishing houses for possible inclusion in the new English Missal.
Last June, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Divine Worship announced that diocesan bishops would be allowed to permit the gradual introduction of the musical settings of the people’s parts of the Mass beginning in September.
The idea was to help people become familiar with a portion of the sung prayers before the full Missal is implemented on the First Sunday of Advent.
Choir directors like Jessica Happold, who leads the adult choir of the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln, as well as the middle school choir at Cathedral School, got a first look at the these new musical settings during the summer.
"At first, I was apprehensive," Mrs. Happold admitted. "I wasn’t sure how people would react…. Now that I know more about the ‘why’ of the changes and I’ve seen them and worked with them, I am truly excited."
She brought the new parts to the Cathedral choir in late August. The singers began using the new music Sept. 11, as did many other choirs throughout the diocese.
"We have been using the new translations for the Holy (Sanctus), Memorial Acclamation, and Gloria (when used during a daily Mass) ever since. The Cathedral choir has reviewed the Creed, as well," Mrs. Happold said. The translation of the Lamb of God has not changed.
For the school children, she started teaching them the new parts just after Sept. 11. The children have been singing the new responses during daily school Mass, which has helped them master the changes rapidly.
"At first the choir members and students at school would trip over some words in the Gloria and the Creed," reported Mrs. Happold. "I would attribute these stumbles as naturally wanting to resort to what we already know."
Overall, she’s seen good progress.
"Both the choir and students seem to be adjusting well to the new words, especially since we have had so much practice with them. The students even have some of the prayers memorized already."
Mrs. Happold feels the new wording is more vivid and poetic than the older version.
"The new translation seems to capture the beauty and the mystery of the Mass in a different way than before," she said. "Once people get used to the prayers being different in wording only, they will become comfortable with the changes and soon pray as if it is second nature to them."
Mrs. Happold can’t wait for others to experience the new Missal.
"I hope that the new translations open the eyes of all Catholics in a new way to the wonderful gift that Jesus has given us in the Mass," she said