A new translation of the Mass

What the New English Translation of the Mass be like?

A new translation of the Mass has just been approved by Rome. This will affect all worshippers who must now get adjusted to new translations, new responses and in certain cases new ways of doing things. When the new missal is ready it will be introduced to us. In the Mass there are certain parts, which are always the same. Called the Ordinary of the Mass, it contains the Kyrie, the Gloria, and the Sanctus. There are also responses where the priest says something to us and we respond back. There are also proper prayers that vary from Sunday to Sunday. The first thing we will have to learn are new responses. For example, when the priest says, “The Lord be with you” we will respond “And with your spirit” instead of “And also with you.” It might be a little awkward at first, but if we pay attention these new passages will become familiar to us.

Some critics of the new translation are afraid that the vocabulary used is outdated or difficult to understand. As one Cardinal remarked however, we should not be using the same level of language, the same vocabulary to address the All Powerful God as we do for a Barbecue! Some words and expressions apply themselves to our liturgy others are for more casual moments of our life. We already use some words in liturgy that we would never use elsewhere. Think of the Our Father! As Catholics we have a rich tradition which we need to rediscover and to use.

The New Translation will also be a unique opportunity to rediscover part of our musical tradition. The Bishops who worked on this new translation envisioned that we would be making more common use of chant, which is part of our rich heritage. They invite us to rediscover Gregorian chant whether the words be in Latin (the official language of Church and of its liturgy) or in English as the best suited “musical genre” for liturgy. In the weeks and months to come will we have to prepare ourselves for some change and together deepen our understanding of what we do together when we celebrate Eucharist. May this unique journey leads us closer to God the Father through the intercession of His Son, who is the Living Bread come down from heaven.

Fr. Marc-André Campbell