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Introduction to the Third Edition of the Roman Missal

Questions and answers


1)     What do we know about the Third Edition of the Roman Missal?

  •  A new translation of the Roman Missal (Sacramentary) has been proposed and is in the process of receving the final confirmations and recognition before implementation in the parishes and institutions of the United States.
  • Substantial changes to the peoples texts, prayers and chants as well as the priests texts, prayers and chants have been proposed.
  • As of November 2009, the bishops of the United States  have voted and approved all of the proposed texts and have sent them along to the Holy See for its "recognitio".
  • The Order of Mass has already received the "recognitio" from the Holy See with other texts awaiting this approval.
  • "INTRODUCTORY RITES - Greeting, Penitential Rite, Gloria, Opening Collect 
  • "LITURGY OF THE WORD - Creed
  • "LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST - Eucharitsic Prayer, Holy, Holy Holy, Memorial Acclamation Behold the Lamb of God, etc.
  • "CONCLUDING RITES - Dismissal
2) Why do we need a new translation of the Roman Missal?
  • The reform of the Sacred Liturgy is an ongoing process. This includes the process of the translation of liturgical ttexts
  • The principles that guide the translation of liturgical texts have changed. Comme le Prevoit was the document following Vatican II that guided liturgical translation. It allowed a principle called "Dynamic Equivalency" which did not demand an exactitude of translation. It allowed the translation of ideas or concepts. Subsequently, the Holy See issued a document called Liturgiam Authenticam which replaced Comme le Prevoit and it called for a more faithful and exact rendering of the latin texts into the vernacular language.
  • A new translation of the Missal was called for so that the Sacred Liturgy might employ  more faithfully the biblical texts that are present in the latin as well as the words of the Fathers of the Church who crafted many of these ancient prayers.
  • A new translation of the Missal was called for because as the Cathechism does, the liturgy conveys and carries the Tradition of the Church. Our doctrines, our beliefs are enshrined in the Sacred Texts and a more faithful rendering of them into the vernacular is essential for the Sacred Liturgy to bear the weight of the Tradition of the Church (Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi - The Law of Prayer founds or establishes the Law of Belief)
  • A new translation of the Missal was called for to employ a Sacred Language. Liturgy is a formal solemn act. All ritual is by its very nature formal and so the Sacred Liturgy needed to make use of a language that was more faithful to the original latin in both content and style. While personal prayer may often times be characterized as informal, the community's prayer by which we address our God and our relationship with the Lord and Giver of Life is to be formalized creating a sacral language set apart from everyday speech. 

3)     What can we expect from the revised texts?

  • We can expect changes to the texts that the lay faithful use in their prayer such as:

-Liturgical Greeting, Confiteor, Gloria, Creed, Eucharistic Acclamations such as the Holy, Holy, Holy, and Memorial Acclamation, etc.

-Some examples:

  • "And also you." ------------------------------- "And with your Spirit"
  • "Lord God of power and might" -------------- "Lord God of Hosts"
  • "Lord I am nor worthy to recieve you" ------ "Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof..."
  • We can expect changes to the texts that the priests use in their prayer such as:

 -The Opening Prayer, The Prayer over the Gifts, The Prayer after Communion

-Eucharistic Prayers

  • "Shed for you and for all"----------------------"poured out for you and for many" (institution narrative)
  • "From East to West"----------------------------"from the rising of the sun to its setting" (Eucharistic prayer III)
  • We can expect the language to be more poetic, more formal and language that is elevated.

4)     What can we expect from Diocese of Worcester regarding the implementation of the Revised Roman Missal?

  • The Diocese of Worcester through the Office for Divine Worship is coordinating efforts  to provide programs, materials and resources for Priests, Deacons, Musicians, Catechists, Liturgical Ministers and Lay Faithful toward the reception of the Revised Roman Missal.

 5)     What are the shared opportunities that come from this time of transition and change?

  • To recognize that change is never easy, particularly when changes affect that which is familiar and comfortable. The full implementation of the revisions will take time.
  • Change is also an opportunity for growth, for fresh eyes, ears, and hearts to receive what is significant, timeless and most precious in wholly new ways.
  • To recognize that this is an opportunity to embrace the words and their meaning and engage people's hearts more fully in the true meaning of the Sacred Liturgy and allow it again to nourish our life of faith.
  • To allow our hearts and minds to make the essential connections between the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist and the living of that celebration each day in the world.
  • To examine and evaluate our liturgical practices in order to offer the People of God a place where the liturgy truly nourishes their faith and leads them to greater unity with God, their neighbor, and the Church.
  • To examine and evaluate our musical repitoires so that what we sing and how we sing truly has as its aim the praise and worship of God.

5)     What can we expect as far as a timeline for the implementation? When will the changes come to our parish?

  • The final texts of the  Roman Missal were approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and sent to the Holy See in November of 2009.
  • The Vox Clara Commission completed its work on the Missal in January of 2010.
  • The countries of the English Speaking World are awaiting the Recognitio or Recognition and approval of the Holy See some time in the Spring of 2010.
  • The Missal will than need approximately a year for printing.
  • While there are no firm dates for the Official Reception, some possible implementation dates would include the First Sunday of Lent or the First Sunday of Advent for the first possible use date.
  • N.B. More than likely there will be a period between when the Missal may be used and when its use will be mandatory.

Resources on the Revised Roman Missal

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops/ Roman Missal Resources 

National Pastoral Musicians 

Notre Dame Center for Liturgy 

The Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions