Recent Postings
By Sandra Dooley on 12/19/2011 12:33 PM
If there ever was a good time to return to the Church for those who have been away for some time, this is it! We are all in the same situation—needing to rely on whatever worship aids are provided by our parishes. If you have prepared special worship aids for Christmas, whether you hand them to people as they arrive or place them in the pews ahead of time, be sure to have enough for everyone—to last through all the Christmas Eve and Christmas day Masses.

Most parishes have one or two ministries that are focused specifically on hospitality: ushers and/or greeters. If possible, it would be good to augment their presence at the Christmas Masses—to provide a welcome to all, parishioners and visitors alike, and also to assist in distributing any worship aids, bulletins or other materials you might be giving out either before or after Mass. Have ushers and greeters (and other liturgical ministers) been offered some catechesis on the new translation or given some resource material so that they will be better prepared...
By Todd Williamson on 12/15/2011 11:00 AM
For many Catholics, the first time they will experience the English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal will be at the Masses for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord–Christmas!

How do you plan to help them?

The first and most important thing that I can think of is: Make sure there are enough worship aids / pew cards. This is absolutely imperative! This will indeed be challenging, as many parishes experience “standing room only” at many of the Masses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The spike in the number of participants will necessitate having an extra number of aids—most likely more than you will ever need for any other day of the year. Understandably, that will translate into an extra cost for the Christmas Masses. But no one can deny the necessity of every person having an aid, ensuring that they are able to participate using the revised texts!

Don’t worry, though—keep the extra worship aids / pew cards; you’ll be able to use them again on Easter!

By Sandra Dooley on 12/12/2011 9:46 AM
At my parish, we are doing well with the transition, although I must admit that when I don’t remember to look at the worship aids with the new text, I still forget to say “And with your spirit!” It’s just going to take a while until the new responses come easily to my mind and lips.

And, if it will take a while for me and for others who have been working with and catechizing for months about the new texts, think of what it will be like for those who come to church only once or twice a year—on Christmas and Easter. Christmas is less than two weeks away. Have you planned what you are going to do to show hospitality to all those visitors and parishioners who come only on big feasts? I have maintained for some time now that if you have been away from the Church, now is the time to come back because we are all in the same boat—needing to follow along and read the responses because we are not yet familiar or comfortable with them.

When the Christmas crowd comes through the doors of your parish church, what will you do to help them engage in “full, active and conscious participation” which is called for by the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy?

By Sandra Dooley on 12/6/2011 8:41 PM
Our second weekend with the new translation went fairly smoothly. The challenge, I think, is for those of us in leadership positions to stay on our toes and to remember to remind people about the new responses and prayers. For those of us who have been working with the translation and catechizing about it for so long, we tend to think that we have “arrived”--but we are still early in the journey.

I had an interesting meeting last week with a group of young adults in the parish. I had been asked a few months ago to speak with them about the changes in the Mass texts, and this was the first time our schedules coincided. We met a few days after the First Sunday of Advent— just a few days after the first use of the new translation at Sunday Mass.

The group was small—only about seven or eight people, more men than women. We began by just sharing reactions to the new texts we heard and prayed the previous Sunday, and, somewhat to my surprise, everyone in the room was in agreement that the changes “are not such a big deal.” In fact, this group of young adults was generally in favor of the changes, seeing them as being more faithful to the Latin, bringing us closer to God, and expressing our prayer in language that is more sacred. These are phrases I am hearing from older parishioners as well.

By Sandra Dooley on 11/28/2011 2:17 PM

We made it through the first weekend at our parish with the new translation, and I must say that it was pretty uneventful. Many people indicated to me in the last several weeks that we have done so much to prepare people in the parish that they are comfortable with the changes. A few things helped: Before every weekend Mass, our pastor spoke for a minute or so just reminding everyone to pick up the supplement books that contain all the new texts and the music we are using at the parish. He delivered the message with a bit of humor, assuring people that the priests will probably make more mistakes than those of us in the pews. (“It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks!”)

Also helping, I think, were the reminders given at various times in the Mass by the celebrant. I placed post-it notes at strategic places in The Roman Missal for the priest to ask everyone to pick up their supplements so they could pray the new words. I noticed many people keeping their supplement books open throughout the Mass....
By Sandra Dooley on 11/7/2011 9:12 AM
In the parish where I serve as liturgy director (which is also my home parish), we are “coming down the home stretch.” We are singing a new Gloria (by Robert LeBlanc) and we have been singing a new Holy, Holy, Holy and Memorial Acclamation (Steve Janco’s Mass of Wisdom) since early September. The music for these new settings has been inserted into the hymnal supplements that are in the pews of the church. (We have hard-back hymnals in the pews plus hymnal supplements that are in small binders the same size as the hymnals.) When we first sang the Gloria during Mass a couple weeks ago, participation was poor at best. Almost no one was looking at the book with the music! After discussing this with our musicians, we decided to try announcing the page number of the Gloria just before it is sung. We were concerned about interrupting the flow of the Mass at that point, but decided to try it this past weekend. The difference was dramatic! When the page number for the Gloria was announced, nearly everyone in the church...
By Sandra Dooley on 10/7/2011 9:45 AM
Twice during the past week I gathered a small group of daily Mass go-ers to listen to some of the new texts The Roman Missal. There were about 7 or 8 people in the first group, which met after a Tuesday morning Mass. The second group was larger— more than a dozen people—after the Wednesday evening Mass. I provided pew cards (from LTP) for everyone and one of our priests read through the words of the Mass using the second Eucharistic Prayer, while everyone spoke the responses and acclamations, as found on the pew cards. The Tuesday group was pretty laid back and accepting of all the changes. They appreciated the opportunity to experience the new texts before they will be used in the church, but the general consensus was “What’s the big deal?!” I’d like to think that we have done such a good job in the parish of preparing people for the changes that when the actual changes take place it will be almost anti-climactic. The Wednesday evening group was a little more on edge, but the tone or mood of the group was generally...
By Sandra Dooley on 9/26/2011 10:26 AM

Last week we had Fr. Paul Colloton, from NPM, preach at all the Masses at our parish. The topic: the upcoming changes in The Roman Missal. Fr. Paul did a masterful job of connecting the Scripture readings of the day to the words we will be soon praying every Sunday. He had a captive audience in multiple ways:  he preaching at a time when most people are attentive, and  his preaching was so interesting and effective that people gladly gave him their rapt attention.


No matter how hard we try to catechize people about the new Roman Missal (or anything else for that matter) the most effective time to reach the greatest number of people is during the celebration of weekend liturgies. As I mentioned several weeks ago, even people who come to Mass regularly have missed or somehow not heard the commentaries we have been giving at our parish before weekend Masses during much of the past year.


Next week I will gather some of the daily morning Mass-goers to read and listen to the new texts with one of our priests. I am offering this opportunity on two different days for anyone who wants to participate. (People would come to one day or the other. We will do the same thing both days.)  I got the idea from Fr. Paul Turner who has done this in his parish and found it to be not only helpful but also enlightening to learn how people respond and react to the next texts.   We will have worship aids available for the peoples’ parts and everyone will be invited to listen to the Eucharistic Prayer.

By Sandra Dooley on 9/26/2011 10:25 AM

We recently had a “Roman Missal weekend” at our parish. Friday night was for liturgical ministers – a thank-you social with a brief talk by Fr. Paul Colloton from NPM (National Pastoral Musicians Association) in Washington, DC. Then Saturday morning Fr. Paul and I offered a 3-hour workshop for catechists, liturgical ministers and any parishioners who wanted to attend. The event was heavily advertised in the bulletin for several weeks beforehand and we had about 130 people in attendance. Finally, Fr. Paul preached at all the weekend Masses, making a wonderful connection between the readings of the day and the upcoming changes in the text of The Roman Missal.

Both of us emphasized at every event that the Mass is not changing. We helped people understand the reasons behind the changes, explained the process of revising the translation and discussed the major changes in the people’s parts of the Order of the Mass along with some of the text changes in the Eucharistic Prayers. On Saturday morning, Fr. Paul also facilitated some mystagogical reflection on some of the new texts.

By Sandra Dooley on 9/26/2011 10:24 AM

I started a new job this week, as the director of liturgy at my parish. Actually it’s an “old” job. I was the director of liturgy at St. Margaret Mary in Winter Park, FL for 10 years before my husband’s job took us to Los Angeles in 1999. Two years ago we returned to Florida and rejoined our former parish. Since then I have been involved in the parish as a lector and in other ministries, including being an active participant on the committee for the implementation of the new Roman Missal. I am replacing the person who has been liturgy director at the parish since I left 12 years ago. Fortunately, for me and for the parish, we are well on the way in the transition process. A lot of groundwork has been laid by the previous director and I am a beneficiary of that. We have been catechizing about the Mass in pre-Mass commentaries and in bulletin articles for almost a year. Our musicians have chosen a new Mass setting, which we began hearing in various ways (played on the organ or piano, sung by cantors before...
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