Missal 7: Put the new Missal into action
Over the past six articles we have explored the new English translation of the liturgy of the Holy Mass. The aim of this series has been to inform Catholics of the changes, to help them to understand the reasons for the changes, to help them to participate more fully in the sacrifice of the Mass—but always with the end-objective of facilitating and enriching worship of God within our faith community, as members of the universal Church, the Mystical Body of Christ.
It is very important that people are aware of the Phase Two and Phase Three changes and the reasons for them. In addition, this series has, I hope, provided an opportunity for priests, deacons and catechists to help people to better understand the reasons for the Phase One changes that have been in place since 2008. The changes can be referred to in homilies and other catechesis.
The bishops’ conference arranged for the Catholic Link to include a seven-week series of inserts explaining the changes, with the text of these also made available to all parishes that do not use the Catholic Link. In order to facilitate the implementation of the new English translation, the bishops’ conference also obtained the rights to an outstanding catechetical programme. The DVD-based interactive training programme called Becoming One Body, One Spirit in Christ provides an exceptional formation tool that fulfils two functions.
Firstly, it leads us through a careful and thorough process that assists us in understanding the Mass more fully. This can be a very special and valuable path to deeper personal spirituality and also to greater community worship. Secondly, it also provides considerable insight into the new English translation. The bishops strongly recommend that every parish make use of the DVDs to run a series of formation workshops, either before or after Mass on Sundays or else on weeknights. They also provide a wonderful resource for catechists, both at a parish level and also for use in Catholic schools.
A new sub-committee of liturgical musicians has been formed and they have been tasked with exploring the opportunities of bringing our liturgical music into alignment with the sense and wording of the new translation. This committee has been asked to work towards providing recommended sung Masses in time for the introduction of Phase Two in November this year. Their work of developing a resource of excellent Catholic liturgical music will continue into the future.
The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) has asked that every parish and community in its region commence using the new English edition of the Roman Missal (in other words, the new translation of the entire Order of the Mass) on the first Sunday of Advent, November 27.
The bishops’ urge every parish and community to mark this important liturgical and catechetical development by introducing the new missal. Each parish should use its own special character to plan a small ceremony that emerges from its own culture.
Some parishes are planning to display the new missal in the porch of the Church or some other public place for a week or two leading up to Advent, in order to draw people’s attention to it.
At the main Mass on the first Sunday of Advent the new missal could be brought into the Church either in a special procession or in the normal entrance procession, showing it to the congregation, then incensing it and sprinkling it with holy water before starting to use the book.
It would, of course, be wonderful if every parish planned a similar ceremony to introduce the new lectionary at the beginning of Lent next year.
An 80-page, pocket sized book with the full text of the Order of the Mass together with the Eucharistic Prayers (but no readings) and a 16-page pocket-sized booklet reflecting only the Order of the Mass (no Eucharistic prayers) are available at a low cost. The 80-page book costs R15 and the 16-page costs R2. These have been distributed to all dioceses for onward distribution to parishes before Advent this year.
The new lectionary will be available in 2012. The SACBC plans to distribute it to all parishes before Lent next year.
Parishes are urged to start to plan special ceremonies for the introduction and implementation of the new lectionary. This ceremony could take place on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday (that is, Week 7 of Ordinary Time, in February 19) or on Ash Wednesday itself, with the lectionary being used from Ash Wednesday onwards.
Small missals are also being published and these will be made available through Catholic bookshops as well as through parish repositories or other parish channels. The publishers have indicated that these will also be available at the same time as the new lectionary, namely by Lent 2012.
These small Missals will be made available in two formats:
• A Sunday Missal that will contain the full Order of the Mass, Eucharistic Prayers and readings for all Sundays in the three-year cycle as well as major feasts.
• A Daily Missal that will cover every day of the cycles, including all Sundays and major feasts as well as weekdays. This means that daily Mass goers will no longer be have to purchase two missals.
All of the missals (the large altar missals, chapel editions, and the Sunday and daily missals) are being published by the Paulines in Kenya as an African edition, and as a happy result will include African saints. This has also ensured that the cost of the missals will be far lower than was the case previously when we had to import missals from British or American publishers.
This will not be the last time that a new translation is implemented. The speed of change, the emergence of new technologies, the rapid development of language, and the ongoing evolution of the “global village” will all continue to contribute to the need for future new translations.
Change is one of the constant elements in human life. We can reject change, staying in our comfort zones; or we can accept change, allowing it to take over our lives; or we can welcome change and work with it in order to extract the most benefit from new things.
Jesus showed us and taught us to welcome a new way in him — let’s continue on that road!
This concludes Chris Busschau’s seven-part series on the new English translations of the Roman Missal.