Christopher Carstens

In Encountering the Words of Christ in the Mass, Christopher Carstens reflects upon the third edition of the Roman Missal, giving particular attention to the changes in the Mass texts.

Christopher Carstens holds a B.A. from the Oratory of St. Philip in Toronto, and M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Dallas and a M.A. (Liturgical Studies) from The Liturgical Institute. He is currently the Director of the Office of Sacred Worship for the Diocese of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where he serves as Coordinator of Pontifical Liturgies, liturgical coordinator for the Permanent Deacon formation program, and diocesan Director of RCIA. He is an adjunct faculty member at the Liturgical Institute and a frequent presenter in liturgical conferences and parish education. He is a member of the Society for Catholic Liturgy and is married with four children. Mr. Carstens is one of the presenters of Mystical Body, Mystical Voice.

Todd WilliamsonIn this blog, Praying, Believing, and Living, D. Todd Williamson discusses the pastoral, spiritual, and ministerial ramifications of the revised English translation of the Roman Missal.  Todd's blog is updated every other week.

Todd Williamson is the current Director of the Office for Divine Worship of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is the author of two editions of Sourcebook for Sundays, Seasons, and Weekdays:The Almanac for Pastoral Liturgy (2007 and 2008, LTP) and has contributed to subsequent editions. He is also co-author of Bringing Catechesis and Liturgy Together: Let the Mystery Lead You! (2002, TwentyThird Publications), and he has written for numerous periodicals (Rite, Pastoral Liturgy, Catechumenate, and Religion Teacher's Journal).

In addition to writing, he is a teacher and national speaker in the areas of liturgy and the sacraments. He is co-host of the monthly radio program, Focus on the Liturgy, which airs on the fourth Wednesday of every month on Relevant Radio 950 AM, in the Chicagoland area.

Todd has been the director of the Office for Divine Worship for eight years. As such, he has dealt with countless pastoral situations in regards to the liturgy. It is from this unique experience that he writes in this blog: breaking open the English texts and making connections to our spiritual and ministerial lives as people of faith.

A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Sandra Dooley moved to Los Angeles in 1999 after 18 years in Orlando, FL. where she spent 10 years as the liturgy director of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Winter Park. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master of Pastoral Studies degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, with emphasis in liturgy. She is an experienced church musician, religious educator and liturgist, and has been a committee member, coordinator and/or speaker at local and national conferences.

In June, 2001, Sandra joined the Office for Worship of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as Associate Director. She was Director of the Office from April, 2003 through July, 2009. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC) from 2004 until her return to FL in 2009.

Sandy currently serves as the director of liturgy at St. Margaret Mary Church in Winter Park, FL, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.


Blog Posts
By Todd Williamson on 6/22/2010 8:06 AM
It has been pointed out many times that the English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal is going to provide, among other things, a unique opportunity for homilists to preach on the actual texts of the Mass. Recall that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) directs that the homily can be based on “some aspect of the readings from Sacred Scripture or of another text from the Ordinary or from the Proper of the Mass of the day? (GIRM, 65, emphasis added). Last week this possibility was made obvious in a conversation I had with a local pastor here in the Archdiocese of Chicago. He called me with a couple of questions that he wanted to talk about. Among them was a question he had about a particular section of Eucharistic Prayer I (commemoration of the living): “Remember, Lord, your servants N. and N. and all gathered here whose faith is known to you. For them and all who are dear to them we offer you this sacrifice of praise or they offer it for themselves and all who are dear to them.?...
By Sandra Dooley on 6/22/2010 7:53 AM
About two years ago, when there was a flurry of news items about the revised translation in the local newspapers, I was surprised to hear the person next to me at a Sunday Mass respond, “And with your spirit? when the priest said, “The Lord be with you.? I’m not sure if he was trying to be on the “cutting edge? of the liturgy, or if he was just one of those people who has been longing for years for a more literal translation of the words we use at our celebrations of the Eucharist. For whatever reason, his response surprised me and was a bit unsettling to those of us around him. His use of the response “and with your spirit? was certainly premature, and showed, in my mind, a lack of respect for all of us celebrating the Eucharist with him. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) places a high value on the unity of the gathered assembly, expressed in our postures, gestures, and words. In fact, among the many paragraphs that I have highlighted and bookmarked in my dog-eared copy of the GIRM are these statements about the duties of the People of God: “Thus, they are to shun any appearance of individualism or division . . . Indeed, they form one body, whether by hearing the word of God, or by joining in the prayers and the singing...? (GIRM, 95, 96)

By Christopher Carstens on 6/22/2010 7:50 AM
Theology and Sanity? A 1978 book by Catholic apologist and publisher Frank Sheed bears the intriguing name Theology and Sanity (currently available from Ignatius Press, San Francisco). The book’s premise is this: the sign of a healthy, sound (sanus, in Latin) intellect means seeing what is actually there in reality. Seeing things that aren’t there, or not seeing things that are there, means that the intellect, either through error or sickness, is not functioning as it should. How, then, is the intellect to see things rightly? The short answer is theologically. “This means that when we look out upon the Universe we see the same Universe that the Church sees; and the enormous advantage of this is that the Universe the Church sees is the real Universe, because She is the Church of God. Seeing what She sees means seeing what is there. And just as loving what is good is sanctity, or the heath of the will, so seeing what is there is sanity, or the health of the intellect? (Theology and Sanity, p. 22).

By way...
By Todd Williamson on 6/14/2010 10:46 AM
I was speaking with a colleague recently about the English translation of the Roman Missal and speculating about its reception within our two parishes. She made, I think, a very simple but significant statement, “There are images and phrases in the current translation that are near and dear to us. I’m sure that there will be images and phrases in the revised translation that will become, once we’ve had time to pray them, equally as dear to us.?I think her statement is very true: given time and, after an initial period of transition, I think there will be parts of the revised translation that will “sink into? our hearts and our souls.An example for me may well be the proposed Collect, or Opening Prayer, for the First Sunday of Advent. If the expectations are correct that the date for implementation of the revised translation will be November 27, 2011, then this prayer will be among the first words we hear of the revised translation: “Grant, we pray, almighty God, that your faithful may resolveTo run forth with...
By Sandra Dooley on 6/14/2010 8:19 AM
Recently, we celebrated First Holy Communion at the parish for about 150 children. It was actually two celebrations on a Saturday morning. The church was packed for both services, with a standing crowd that spilled out into the narthex/foyer of the building. As I stood among the latecomers (and those who chose to remain in the church foyer), I was struck by the number of people who seemed confused and uncertain about how to participate at Mass and even to understand what the celebration was really all about. Nearly every person arrived with a camera in hand, and quite a few didn’t hear, or chose to ignore, the three announcements made before and during the liturgy requesting no flash photography. (Ushers who serve at these types of liturgies should be recommended for sainthood!)Observing the crowd in the narthex made me wonder about the catechesis being planned for the implementation of the revised Roman Missal. How will we reach these people who appear in our churches only a few times a year? Will our carefully...
By Todd Williamson on 6/9/2010 8:29 AM
One of the characteristics most often discussed regarding the English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal is that the biblical allusions from the Latin texts are much more obvious.I have to admit that I like the premise here. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy makes the point several times that in the renewal of the liturgy, the inherent connection to Sacred Scripture is to be brought out more clearly. In addressing the proclamation of scripture in the Liturgy of the Word, the Constitution notes that “the treasures of the bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God's word? (CSL, 51). As we know, that call has resulted in the three-year cycle of readings which we now have.Even more pointedly, the Constitution holds that “sacred scripture is of the greatest importance in the celebration of the liturgy. For it is from scripture that lessons are read and explained in the homily, and psalms are sung; the prayers, collects, and...
By Christopher Carstens on 6/7/2010 11:05 AM
On March 25, 2010, the Holy See approved the third edition of the English-language Roman Missal (this approval was announced on April 30, 2010). March 25 is also the solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. This day marks that high point in history when “the Word became flesh? or, as we will soon say in the Nicene Creed, “was incarnate of the Virgin Mary.?There could be no better day on which to approve our Missal than on the Annunciation. In the event of the Annunciation, the Word of the Father takes on human flesh, joining himself to our nature. In the prayed texts of the Roman Missal, this same Word becomes present and active before us at Mass.Saint Ephrem, a fourth-century deacon of the Syrian Church, even spoke of a kind of “double incarnation? of the Second Person of the Trinity: one into our flesh, and another into our language. The Word who creates all things condescends (literally, comes down to join us) to the limitations of human nature and human language.When the Church gathers to pray, her words...
By Sandra Dooley on 6/7/2010 11:00 AM
Now that recognitio has been granted for the revision of the texts of the Roman Missal, it is time for us to get serious about what we are going to do in our parishes to help people become aware of, and familiar with, the changes that will take place, presumably in about a year and a half, at the beginning of Advent 2011. I have been dropping little hints at the parish where I work as liturgy director. I’ve given copies of the brochures by Paul Turner (published by LTP) to the priests and liturgical leaders of the parish, as well as other staff members. At the last several liturgy committee meetings, I have made a few brief comments about it, and beginning this week, there will be occasional short articles in the weekly bulletin regarding the coming new translation. My plan is to begin preparing people for the changes by giving information gradually, and letting people get used to the idea. I remember how averse I was to the new translation when I first heard about it eight or nine years ago, and how long it...
By Todd Williamson on 6/2/2010 1:30 PM
As we continue to prepare for the reception and implementation of the English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal, I’ve had opportunities to speak to priests and lay leadership alike in the parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago. For the most part, these are initial conversations about Archdiocesan plans for preparation. I’m always careful to ask the person to whom I’m speaking, “What would help you in preparing the people of your parish?? One of the most common responses that I receive to this question is, “Help me to explain to them where this is coming from.? Sometimes the person will ask for the same assistance for his or herself—“Help me to understand where this is coming from.?It seems to me that what these ministers are asking for is basically, “Give me a perspective in which to see this translation.? Within that question are often other, related questions: “Why do we need a new translation? Why is it coming now? How does it fit in the broader process of liturgical renewal?? Etc.I understand...