Recent Postings
By Christopher Carstens on 8/30/2010 1:15 PM
Following the Sign of the Cross at the beginning of the Mass, the priest greets the gathered assembly in words taken from the sacred scriptures. The first two options come from the letters of Saint Paul: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (see 2 Corinthians 13:13) Or: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (see Romans 1:7; see 1 Corinthians 1:3; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; Philemon 3) The second option, “Grace to you,” appears at the beginning of a number of Saint Paul’s letters. The first option, however, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father,” appears at the end of Saint Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians; it is, in fact, the very last verse of these letters. It may seem odd (at least it did to me) that we should be using a farewell as a greeting. Yet, on the social level, there are a number of expressions that are used as both. While in...
By Sandra Dooley on 8/30/2010 12:19 PM
A couple of weeks ago I spoke with a group of catechists in the parish. There were about 30 people—Faith Formation and RCIA catechists. Everyone present was English-speaking, although some of them work with the Spanish community and are native Spanish speakers. I began by asking what they have heard about the upcoming revised translation. There was a wide range of responses, with some saying they weren’t aware of any changes in the Mass, and a few who thought that there will be significant changes in what we say at Mass. When I asked how people felt about the upcoming changes, there were no strong opinions or feelings expressed, although as the evening went on some passion about what we say when we pray became evident. There were lots of thoughtful, sincere questions. One person asked early on why the process has taken so long. I was able to answer her question with the brief history of the liturgy that I had prepared in the power point presentation. Another significant question was “Will we need new hymnals?” That was easy to answer. Yes, we plan on getting new hymnals, not only because of the new translation, but because the hymnals we now have in the pews are about 12-13 years old and are greatly in need of being replaced. The parish has actually been putting off purchasing new hymnals in anticipation of the revised texts....
By Todd Williamson on 8/23/2010 3:19 PM
As many know by now, the United States Bishops received from Rome the final English translation of the Roman Missal. Cardinal Francis George, OMI, president of the USCCB, announced this news last Friday, August 20, 2010. At the same time, the date of implementation was confirmed: November 27, 2011. Along with the announcement, the final Order of Mass was posted to the USCCB Web site and changes were confirmed. Some of these changes were known beforehand; for example, we knew that the Creed would include the statement “I believe” a total of four times (rather than just once as had been previously approved). Other aspects of the English translation were finally made known. For example, we have been eagerly awaiting the outcome of whether or not the familiar “Christ has died” would be allowed as an option for the Memorial Acclamation. Last Friday, that question was finally answered: this particular response will not be included in the English translation of the missal. This means that after...
By Sandra Dooley on 8/20/2010 3:20 PM
“The use of the third edition of the Roman Missal enters into use in the dioceses of the United States of America as of the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011. From that date forward, no other edition of the Roman Missal may be used in the dioceses of the United States of America.” This news from Cardinal George, president of the USCCB, came Friday, August 20. The news is a relief to some and dreaded by others, but at last we have confirmation of the date of implementation that most of us have been anticipating. Now what? For those of us who have begun preparations in our dioceses and parishes, we can now finalize our timelines and continue along the path we have begun, knowing for sure when the use of the new missal will begin. For those of us who have not yet begun preparing our people, now is the time to go to the many resources and create a plan of action. On this very Web site you will find lots of good resources, some at no charge, and others at very reasonable cost. You can also go to the USCCB Web site for additional information and resources....
By Sandra Dooley on 8/18/2010 11:53 AM
As we move forward with the implementation of the revised translation of the Roman Missal, I want to tell you about a resource that will be published as soon as the final texts of the missal have been received. This resource has the potential to be of great help to many of us, especially those of us working in parish liturgical ministry. Father Paul Turner, a respected and admired friend whose writings I have used in a variety of diocesan and parish settings, has written a guide to the Roman Missal titled: At the Supper of the Lamb: A Pastoral and Theological Commentary on the Mass. I have been reviewing the pre-publication copy and, believe me, this is a valuable resource! In some ways, the book is similar to The Mystery of Faith, structured according to the Order of Mass in the Roman Missal. Father Turner clearly sets the tone and purpose in the introduction: “This book will help...
By Sandra Dooley on 8/18/2010 11:46 AM


As promised in July, I broadened the scope of my small, unscientific survey about the impact of the revised translation of the Roman Missal. A few musicians with whom I spoke are mostly concerned (understandably) about beloved music settings of the Mass that they have been singing for years, one notable example being Mary Haugen’s Mass of Creation. What will happen to this music? Will there be a considerable time of transition in which new Mass settings can be introduced? How long can we keep singing the current music? I know this will be a particular challenge for musicians. Musicians know that teaching new music must take place over time and that you cannot teach and start using a new Gloria, Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, Amen, and Lamb of God in one week or over a brief liturgical season such as Advent or even Lent. There was also a concern about how people in the parish will embrace the new Mass settings and/or the revision of familiar settings. One perceptive comment was that “the children...
By Todd Williamson on 8/17/2010 1:05 PM
I’ve been asked a number of times, “What will we do at other rituals that are not Mass once the English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal is promulgated?” “How will we respond, for example, at the Liturgy of the Hours, or a celebration of the Liturgy of the Word or at infant Baptism, to ‘The Lord be with you?’” “What will we do then?” “Will we say, ‘And with your spirit?’ Or, will we say, ‘And also with you?’” In thinking about this, I have just come to the conclusion that it will be a little “messy” in the first year or so once the revised translation is implemented. Undoubtedly, unless all of these other liturgies have worship aids in which all the liturgical greetings and responses are printed, some people will respond with the revised response (“And with your spirit”) and others will forget and respond with the current response (“And also with you”). I think this will be the reality. It will take us time to learn to respond with the revised text. Similarly, I recently attended a weekend...
By Sandra Dooley on 8/16/2010 9:25 AM
In our parish, we have begun the “remote” preparation for the upcoming changes in the text of the Roman Missal. This coming week, I will be speaking with the catechists of the faith formation program. I suspect that some of them have read the information that was in the bulletin recently, some may have heard about the changes from the diocesan newspaper or other news sources, and some will have not heard or read anything at all. So—we will most likely have a wide range of awareness of what is to come. First, I will try to determine that level of awareness among the participants, get a sense of what they are feeling about these changes, and respond to both the positive and negative feedback I receive. Then I plan to provide a brief overview of the development of the liturgy, explaining how changes have taken place throughout the 2000 year history of our Church. At this gathering, I want to focus mainly on the questions of why and how the Mass texts are being revised, using material from the resource authored...
By Christopher Carstens on 8/9/2010 12:40 PM
In the beginning of the Mass, the first words spoken are greatly significant:  “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.”  The greatest source of meaning here comes from Christ himself:  his command to baptize in these divine names, as well as the cross that our gesture emulates.

 

But the meaning of sacramental words and gestures originate from more sources than the historical commands and circumstances of Christ (even if these are their greatest source).  “The liturgical celebration,” says the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), “involves signs and symbols relating to creation (candles, water, fire), human life (washing, anointing, breaking bread), and the history of salvation (the rites of the Passover) . . . ” (1189).  The Sign of the Cross, then, is “related” to more than the historical Christ, for nature—as in “creation” as well as “human nature”—and history also contribute to its meaning.  Last time (see “The Meaning of the Greeting:  The Sign of the Cross,...
By Sandra Dooley on 8/9/2010 12:38 PM
In the last two weeks, I have had three interesting experiences with the praying of the Eucharistic Prayer—with three presiding priests. In the first two instances, the priests prayed the Eucharistic Prayer with a deliberation and prayerfulness that I don’t often hear. I spoke to both of them after the Mass and thanked them for helping us to pray well and to really hear and be able to reflect on what we are praying. Their care in presiding made for a very enriching liturgical experience for me. They both certainly enabled and encouraged the full, conscious, and active participation of all of us present.Those experiences caused me to reflect on what it will be like when the revised translation becomes law. Perhaps celebrants who now rush through the Eucharistic Prayer and pray it almost automatically will be find it necessary to slow down and help all of us listen closely and pray along.I found a hint of the answer to my question a few days later when the celebrant at Mass prayed one of the Eucharistic Prayers...
  
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