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(3rd edition) Roman Missal -
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'The New Translation' - articles from the parish newsletter [May 2011 onwards]
Quick links>: What New Translation? | Whose idea was it anyway? | When and how will it be introduced? | Why do we need one? | The four presences of Christ | Biblical influences | ‘And with your spirit’ | ‘The Word of the Lord’ | The Gloria and the Creed | The Mystery of Faith | Lord I am not worthy| quotes from Vatican II on the Sacred Liturgy | Introduction in our parish | Singing & Music | download this page as pdf or rtf | external links |
Did you know that the translation of the Mass which we currently use is going to change? The texts we have now have been in use since 1970 and in September we will begin to use a new translation. Over the coming weeks/months there will be short articles in this newsletter which will help us to understand what these changes are and why they have come about. There will also be plenty of opportunities provided to learn more about it and become familiar with the changes. A number of day and evening sessions will be arranged for those who would like to find out more. We will publish some material ourselves and will also provide web links for those who have internet access. This will be a great opportunity for us all to learn more about the Mass and deepen our understanding of the liturgy and its meaning and relevance for us in our lives today.
Although we have already received the official approval from Rome, it will still be some time before the new translation is being used in our parishes. In England and Wales we will all begin using the new texts at the same time, to avoid any confusion. It is planned we will be able to celebrate Mass in the new translation from September onwards. This gives us plenty of time, over the next few months, to learn something about the changes, about how they will affect us and our liturgy and why they have been made. There will be a lot of resources available to help us to do this, both locally and nationally. As well as the information that will appear in this newsletter, there will be lots of internet resources. There will also be parish or group sessions which will help us to explore the new translation and our understanding of the Mass. Please pray that we will all make the most of this opportunity to learn more about the Mass and to deepen our relationship with Christ. If you want to find out a bit more, why not look at the Liturgy Office website
The Second Vatican Council reminded us of our ancient faith: Christ is always present in his church, especially in its liturgical celebrations. So, each time we come to Mass we experience the presence of Christ in four different ways:
1. Christ is present in the
congregation – the people gathered together
The more we are able to understand and join in the Mass, the more we will come to love it. The new translation will help us to do that because the words we will now use will say more clearly what our faith is teaching us.
One of the first things we will notice with the new translation is that, when the priest says ‘The Lord be with you’, we now say ‘And with your spirit’. This is much closer to the original Latin. When the Mass was first translated into English we were one of only two languages that did not translate it as ‘your spirit’. It is a very biblical response:
Paul concludes four of his letters with a very similar expression. For example, at the end of his Second Letter to Timothy, Paul ends by saying, ‘The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you’. If you think about it, for nearly 2000 years Christians have been greeting each other, ‘The Lord be with you’, ‘and with your spirit.’ So the new translation will bring unity to this response in all the languages of the world - and with all previous Christian generations.
We will also notice some changes in the Gloria and the Creed. In fact, there is not a great deal of change in the new words that we will pray so we will have to be careful that we don’t slip into the old texts! The first lines of the Gloria itself echo the angels’ message to the shepherds, announcing the birth of Christ (Luke 2:14). Because of these changes, new music is being written so that we will be able to sing the new translation too.
When it comes to the Creed we will notice the first change immediately - ‘I believe’, not, ‘We believe’. We have become used to praying the Creed all together as a parish. The trouble is, when we say ‘we believe’ it could suggest that between us all we believe everything being said. It is not clear that we all believe everything that is being said. To say ‘I believe’ makes it quite clear that each one of us believes everything we are saying.
As the priest invites us to receive
Holy Communion, he will say ‘Behold’, rather than ‘This is’, ‘the
Lamb of God’.
Until the early 1960s, Mass was
celebrated in Latin throughout the world. Wherever you happened to
be on Sunday the Mass would be celebrated in the language you
were used to. At the Second Vatican Council, in the early 1960’s,
it was agreed that Mass could be said in the language of the
country in which it was being celebrated. There would be no
fundamental change to the Mass itself, just the language being
used. This would enable us to understand more fully what was being
said and help us to participate more fully. An English translation
was made available as quickly as possible, but it was intended to
be temporary. A more considered translation would be issued later.
Now, some 40 years has since passed! This translation has at last
been agreed by Rome and we will begin using it in our parishes this
As we have already seen, until the early 1960s, Mass was celebrated in Latin throughout the world. At the Second Vatican Council it was agreed that the Mass could be celebrated in our own language, and in 1970 Pope Paul VI agreed the official Latin text that would be used. This was then translated into different languages to be used throughout the world. It proved to be a huge task which was completed in a very short time. However, because it was done so quickly, some of the richness of the original Latin prayers was, quite literally, ‘lost in translation’. It was seen that a further translation was needed. The new translation would keep the original words, meaning and style of the Latin as far as possible. The new translation also means a new edition of the Missal which will include some additional text such as, prayers for the saints who have been added by the Church to the liturgical calendar.
As we use the new translation we
will perhaps notice more biblical connections than we have been
used to. The texts of the Mass are precious to us, partly
because they were inspired by the bible. These words have come down
to us over the centuries, and most of the words we speak at Mass
are rooted in the bible. When we gather for Mass, we are praying
with words that have been given to us by our ancestors, who knew
the bible well and prayed it well.
At the end of the readings and the Gospel at Mass, we are used to hearing ‘This is the Word of the Lord’; ‘This is the Gospel of the Lord’. In the new translation, the words ‘This is’ are now left out and we will hear ‘The Word of the Lord’ and ‘The Gospel of the Lord’. One of the reasons is that the Latin does not include ‘This is’. But there is more to it than that. If the priest or deacon lifts the book and says ‘This is’, it can suggest that he is talking about the book itself. In fact, he is talking about the Word of God - which is alive and active. The words at the end of the readings are announcing a great event. They are telling us that God has spoken; that Christ is present. We respond ‘Thanks be to God’, or ‘Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ’ which is our acknowledgement that what we have heard is, indeed, the Word of God.
For Catholics, a ‘mystery’ is not a puzzle that cannot be solved. It is a truth that is so deep that we know we’ll never be able to get to the bottom of it; a truth we’ll never completely be able understand. One example of this is our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. We believe that Christ is truly present but we can’t wholly explain it. The priest shows us the host and then the chalice. Then he genuflects and says ‘The mystery of faith’. We continue with one of three responses. These are all different from the ones we have been used to and they come directly from the New Testament. So when the priest says ‘The mystery of faith’ he is inviting us to welcome this Real Presence of Christ. We then make our response, which we address to God.
The Church earnestly desires that
all the faithful be led to that full, conscious, and active
participation in liturgical
(from the General Instruction of the
Roman Missal 39/40)
The New Translation –
Introduction in our Parish
October: The parish booklets with the new words and music are out now, both the Sunday and the Weekday versions. Not all the music will be used at all Masses in our churches, but certainly the Gloria, the Sanctus, and the Acclamations will be used in each place. A music learning session will be Tuesday, 18th October in Penzance at 7.30pm. There will also be a music session on Sunday 23rd October 3.30pm for an hour in St Ives. At the 11am Mass the choir will introduce things gradually. Anyone from wherever is welcome to these learning sessions. Leaflets & a booklet ‘Introducing the New Missal’ Understanding the Changes.’ & ‘Introducing the Revised Mass Texts’ are available.
are publishing new Missals: Sunday’s at
£18 and a complete Daily Missal, which includes Sundays at £45.
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