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 Christopher Carstens on 7/26/2010 11:35 AM
Examining the texts of the Mass through sacramental lenses yields the greatest insights to their meaning. For example, the Mass begins with the Sign of the Cross and the Greeting: Priest: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. People: Amen. Priest: The Lord be with you. People: And with your spirit. A sacramental approach to the liturgy’s signs and symbols finds in them their true and grace-filled theological reality. It does this by uncovering the “roots” of the texts, roots that extend into a multilayered and “organic” soil.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says it this way: “A sacramental celebration is woven from signs and symbols. In keeping with the divine pedagogy of salvation, their meaning is rooted in the work of creation and in human culture, specified by the events of the...
By Sandra Dooley on 7/26/2010 11:21 AM
When the revised translation of the Roman Missal is implemented, a big issue will be what to do about musical settings of the ordinary parts of the Mass (Gloria, Holy, Holy, Holy, etc.) Most parishes have a limited number of Mass settings that are used on a regular basis, and some of those settings are dearly loved by musicians and parishioners alike. At the recent NPM convention in July, the three major Catholic music publishers presented a wide variety of Mass settings for our review. NPM also hosted a competition and invited all of us present to sing through sample parts of the four finalists over the course of the convention, using the three judgments from Sing to the Lord as our criteria: musical, pastoral, and liturgical. I was somewhat surprised at the number and...
By Todd Williamson on 7/19/2010 1:38 PM
The date for the implementation of the revised Roman Missal will most likely be November 27, 2011, the First Sunday of Advent.The current newsletter of the Bishops' Committee on Divine Worship (BCDW) reports that the English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal will be sent to the English-speaking Bishops Conferences by the end of summer. This seems to be what many have expected. Probably, when the English translation is received, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will then formally determine the date of implementation. With a release of the English translation by the end of this summer, that still points to the probable date of implementation being the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011. This, as well, is what has been...
By Sandra Dooley on 7/19/2010 9:19 AM
3.	Most people in the parish will be open to the change and accept it readily as long as they know the reason for the change.There are a lot of opinions being voiced about the revised translation, some of them very negative, so I decided to do a little investigating on my own to find out what kind of attitudes are present among the people with whom I associate on a fairly regular basis, and how those attitudes might affect the implementation of the revised translation of the Roman Missal when it becomes reality, most likely at the end of next year.

I’ve started my research at the parish where I work. I talked briefly (and individually) with about a dozen people, mostly parish staff members, asking if they were aware of the changes being made in the prayers of the Mass and what issues or concerns...
By Sandra Dooley on 7/15/2010 8:58 PM
Visit www.NPM.orgThis past week I attended the NPM national convention in Detroit. Of course, there was lots of talk about the revised translation of the Roman Missal and the major Catholic music publishers had samples of new and revised Mass settings which will be published once the final text has been released. One of the keynote speakers was Sister Kathleen Hughes, RSCJ. Sr. Kathleen is a prominent theologian, liturgist, and scholar whom I consider to be a prophetic voice in the Church. She gave a sobering list of many of the ills confronting our world and our Church and wondered aloud if we have lost sight of the many blessings we’ve been given. But the reason I mention her talk here is because she also gave a list of choices that each of us can make regarding the situations in which we find ourselves and our Church. Two of the nine choices she listed...
By Sandra Dooley on 7/14/2010 2:24 PM
It is important to give people time to adjust to the new texts.As I mentioned last week, it is important to give people time to adjust to the news of the coming changes in the translation of the Roman Missal. Information from authoritative sources can diffuse negative attitudes. People in our parishes and institutions need to learn about the changes from those of us within the Church structure rather than reading or hearing about it from the secular media. We need to make it clear that the coming changes are non-negotiable while at the same time being willing to let people air their frustrations and anger.

Without becoming defensive ourselves, we can kindly and gently explain the reasons for the changes. There are numerous resources available to help us. The articles in Preparing Your Parish for the Revised Roman Missal,...
By Christopher Carstens on 7/14/2010 2:19 PM
The first of the newly translated texts in the Order of Mass is the greeting of the priest and the response of the people: Priest: “The Lord be with you.” People: “And with your spirit.” Why are these texts translated as they are? Where do these words come from? (There are, it should be added, two other greetings that the priest may use.) It’s anticipated that the translation of this opening greeting will be used for the first time in Advent in the year 2011: what can be done between now and then to make these words truly meaningful? A number of approaches can yield insights into the meaning of these words at the greeting, including: 1) According to the rubrics, the rubrics indicate that “When the Entrance Chant is concluded, the Priest and the faithful, standing, sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross, while the Priest, facing...
By Todd Williamson on 7/6/2010 2:57 PM
I’ve had the opportunity to attend a half-dozen deanery gatherings in the last month and a half in order to talk about the coming translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal. The purpose is to hear what concerns or questions parish leadership staff might have concerning the translation. I wanted to give a forum for priests and other leaders to voice their apprehensions and to clarify misconceptions as well, as to present the archdiocesan plans for catechesis and preparation for reception. These sessions—usually no more than an hour—have gone very well, I think. I believe that the participants, for the most part, found the opportunity helpful. What has struck me about the attendees’ concerns is the need for clarity between the third edition of the Roman Missal and its translation (for a brief treatment...
By Sandra Dooley on 7/6/2010 9:31 AM
When a parish goes through the process of renovating a church building or planning and building a new worship space, the project often becomes a lightning rod for all kinds of criticism. Disgruntled people come out of the woodwork and try to sabotage the project or bring others into the circle of their discontent. Questions are raised about why this must be done, what is wrong with the old worship space, why such expense, etc. One successful strategy for dealing with such negativism is to involve the critics in various decision-making aspects of the process. Even when they do not always agree with the final decisions, those most critical know that their voice has been heard, and they may understand better how and why certain decisions are made.

Decisions regarding the implementation of the revised translation...
By Christopher Carstens on 7/6/2010 9:24 AM
“Why did God make you?” The answer may even come to the lips as if the lesson were given yesterday from the Baltimore Catechism, which was a standard text in the religious education classes of many youths: “God made me to know him, to love him, and to serve him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.”

Another easily remembered question and answer from the Catechism is: “What is a sacrament?” Answer: “A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.” The more recent Catechism of the Catholic Church (in its second English edition from 1997) expands upon the definition given by the Baltimore Catechism. A sacrament, it says, is “an efficacious sign of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us through the work of the Holy Spirit” (Glossary).