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A new way of praying…Missal to include Australian observances

Mary MacKillop
The new Missal will include specific Australian observances such as the Feast of Mary MacKillop.
Rev Peter Williams

The words we use when we pray publicly are very important. They are important because they help shape our religious consciousness and they tell us about who we are in relationship to God and to one another as members of the Body of Christ.

In the last half of 2011 we will begin using a new translation of the Roman Missal, which was recently approved by the Holy See.

It has been a long process to get to this point, which began after the publication of the third edition of the Missal in Latin in 2002.

For the past eight years the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) has been translating the Missal and sending segments of it to the 11 English-speaking conferences of bishops that make up ICEL.

There have been lots of suggestions made about how to translate the text. Late last year the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference voted on the final segment and the entire Missal was sent to Rome for recognitio by the Holy See.

This Missal contains the texts for the Order of Mass, Solemnities and Feast Days of Saints, the Proper of Seasons, and Masses for Various Needs and Occasions and Votive Masses and Masses for the Dead.

Added to this will be specific Australian observances like the Feast of Mary MacKillop, Australia Day and Anzac Day.

The way in which Mass is celebrated will not change from the way it is celebrated now, but when we start using the new Missal we will be introduced to some new responses, and some of the parts of the Mass that we currently have become familiar with have been re-translated.

This will mean that we will have new musical settings to the Mass as the Gloria (Glory to God in the Highest) has been translated so that it is much closer to the Latin text.

There is a slight change in the Sanctus (Holy, holy …) and the Memorial Acclamations have been re-translated. The Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) remains the same.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes we will need to adapt to is the greeting response to the priest. We currently say “And also with you”, but the new response will be “And with your spirit”, which is closer to the Latin “Et cum spiritu tuo”.

To help explain and introduce the changes, the National Liturgical Council will prepare material in the form of bulletin inserts, homily notes, commentator’s notes, laminated cards and PowerPoint presentations with the new texts that will assist congregations in preparing for the new translation.

Also available will be a DVD resource entitled: “Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ”, which will be used as the principal resource in all the English-speaking countries.

In the Diocese of Parramatta in preparation for the changes there will be a process of education for the clergy and also for the people of the Diocese.

This will take place over a number of months before we start using the new translation. I am sure that at first we will find some discomfort using the new texts but just as people adjusted to the Mass going from Latin to English in the late 1960s and early 1970s, we will soon be using the new texts and responses with confidence.

Rev Peter Williams is Director of Liturgy in the Diocese of Parramatta and Executive Secretary of the Bishops Commission for Liturgy.


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