Monday, February 7, 2011

In Preparation for the New Translation

Last Saturday my husband and I attended the very first Mass said by the new pastor at my husband's former parish. We were married at my parish three years ago (just last Wednesday...Happy Anniversary, Eddie Ray and Gina!) and we just stayed there; but we will most definitely be around ol' St. B's much more often than we have been.

Fr. Bill, "the new guy" as he referred to himself during the announcements, is not new to us. He's been the spiritual director of our local Cursillo center for many years. He's one of those priests who just "gets it"--he knows what he's doing, believes in what he's doing, and puts his entire self into every Mass. He has also killed a couple of small forests by making hundreds of handouts over the years, pulled together from Scripture, the Catechism, papal encyclicals, and all kinds of other Church documents, in an effort to try to make us "get it" as well. I could kick myself for not thinking to keep those handouts sooner than I did.  I hope he decides to offer some instruction on the new English translation of the Novus Ordo.

I admit that I've been a little more than concerned that Advent 2011 will arrive and people will not be ready.  I've already surprised a number of people at my own parish, who have no idea that there will be some changes. Parishes need to be preparing for the changes better, of which there are quite a few: new responses, some new words to the Gloria and the Creed, new acclamations, etc. If the church is going to give her people a new translation of liturgy, wouldn't our parishes be wise to use this gift as an opportunity for some formation? Having read through just the annotated sample text of the Order of the Mass, available at the USCCB Website, there's enough there to hold a weekly study from now until Advent. What good, after all, will come of just giving us new words to sing or recite?

Fr. Dwight said it best today in his most recent post over at Standing on My Head:
Mass isn't reverent simply because you start using lofty language that 'sounds religious'. True reverence is the fruit of a condition of heart. Reverence in worship is a by product of a certain type of Catholic mindset. It is not the automatic product of a particular form of words. (CLICK HERE to read the entire post titled "Is the New Translation More Reverent?")
He's absolutely right. If this new translation is supposed to ignite within Catholics the fire of faith, our parishes need to do more than just rely on osmosis and hope for the best.

Fr. Bill, I sure hope you're working on some new handouts. I'll even start a binder!

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