This year, Catholics across the English-speaking world will begin the Advent season reciting from a revised version of the Roman Missal, which contains prayers and instructions for the celebration of Mass.
Fr. Herb Essig, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Bolingbrook, said the new version of the missal was prepared “in response to a document written by Pope John Paul II, who wanted the translation of the Roman Missal revised to conform more literally to the Latin.”
According to the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the English edition of the reformed liturgy of the Second Vatican Council (popularly known as “Vatican II") was published in the U.S. in 1973 and revised again in 1975.
In 2000, in accordance with a decree from Pope John Paul II, the church began the process of further revising the texts. As a result of those efforts, Catholic parishes in the U.S. will implement The Roman Missal, Third Edition, on Nov. 27, the first day of the Advent season.
Although there are many changes in the new text, Fr. Essig said “It won’t be too bad” for parishioners, who will have access to pew cards to help familiarize them with the revised prayers, chants and responses. He said members of St. Francis Assisi have been introduced to some of the revisions through the church bulletin, presentations held as recently as October 18 and, in the last couple of weeks, during Mass.
“Last week, during homily time, we covered the first part, Liturgy of the Word, and this week, the Liturgy of the Eucharist,” Essig said. “Those who come every week will be aware of the changes.”
He said area priests attended a workshop on the revised missal a year ago and have had a variety of other educational opportunities on the subject over the past year.
“In our prayer life, we try to meditate on the changes,” Essig said. “It won’t be as different as going from the Latin (in Vatican II).”
The USCCB offers examples of some of the changes in the new Roman Missal, with comparisons between the current and new texts at http://old.usccb.org/romanmissal/examples.shtml. A few samples:
- During the opening portion of Mass, congregants who have traditionally answered the priest’s greeting of “The Lord be with you” with “And also with you,” will now respond with “And with your spirit.”
- Among the changes in the new translation of the Nicene Creed, the words “one in Being with the Father” now reads, “consubstantial with the Father” and “by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary,” will now be recited as “and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary.”
- Congregants will now answer the priest’s recitation of “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith” with “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again,” rather than the former “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.”
Parishioners will also hear other changes in the Mass, including their priest’s greetings, the act of penitence, recitations before and after the Gospel, the preparation of gifts, Eucharistic prayers and more.
According to its website, St. Dominic parish in Bolingbrook recently offered a presentation entitled “The new translation of the Mass, the meaning behind the words,” to help prepare its parishioners for the upcoming changes. In the coming weeks, parishioners will have the opportunity to practice singing some of the new parts five minutes before Mass. And the parish priest, Fr. David Lawrence, will practice the Mass using the new translation and explain the rituals at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15.
At St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Romeoville, congregants have already begun familiarizing themselves with the revised text before each Mass.
“We have been breaking down the Mass into three parts over the past four weeks,” said Sue Psenicka, liturgy coordinator at St. Andrew the Apostle.
According to Psenicka, the three-part process will be repeated over the next month, culminating with the implementation of the new Roman Missal Nov. 27. She said pew cards will also be on hand to help parishioners through the process, and the church will run a video explaining the changes in room 105 after each Mass Nov. 12 and 13.
“I think it will go very smoothly,” Psenicka said. “The changes bring us closer to the original Latin, which will make Mass more spiritual. So far, people have been pretty receptive. I think it will be a real good transition.”