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Apr 27

Written by: Todd Williamson
4/27/2010 8:27 AM  RssIcon

Today (April 30, 2010), we have learned that Rome has given recognitio--or approval-- to the English translation of the thrid typical edition of the Roman Missal.

At this moment, as I write, I wonder how the vast number of Catholics in this country will receive this new.

Last week I was talking with the pastor of a parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago. The conversation had nothing to do with the third edition of the Roman Missal, yet, at the end of the conversation he asked me: “So, what’s happening with the Roman Missal?”

After relating to him the plans for the Archdiocese (to provide informational gatherings for priests and parish staffs throughout the end of this year and the first six months of 2011) he told me, “You know, I’m surprised at how many of my parishioners are not aware that this is coming.” I paused, more than a bit surprised, and asked if he was serious. He told me that he recently commented to members of his liturgy committee about the coming English translation, and that in response they asked, “What are you talking about?”

Over this last weekend I’ve reflected on this conversation and have concluded that I maybe I do, indeed, live in an Ivory Tower.

This was reinforced as I recalled yet another conversation from earlier this spring. After the Rite of Election, a small group of liturgists and musicians were talking. One of the members of this small group commented, “we (meaning those of us whose primary work and ministry is with the liturgy of the Church) have had a number of years to get used to the idea of a revised translation of the texts of the Mass. The rest of the Catholic population has yet to begin processing this reality . . . .”

Right now it strikes me: For the last 10 years I have been living with the knowledge that a revised English translation of the Mass has been coming. I have worked through the initial concerns, apprehensions, and ultimate acceptance of the fact that, truly, within the next year and a half we will worship with different words than we do now. I have come to believe that the most critical part the Office for Worship—in the Archdiocese of Chicago or in any diocese—can play in this process is to provide good, solid resources to parishes that will help them receive and implement this revised missal in the best way possible.

In other words, throughout the last 10 years I have been in the process of “receiving” this English translation. Over the last couple of days, reflecting on my conversations with the pastor of a Chicago-area church and my colleagues at the Rite of Election, I am realizing that there are many, many Catholics who are, literally, years behind me in this process. I don’t note that in a derogatory or critical way—as if they are deficient. Rather, I write that with the realization that, above all, the most important thing that we, as liturgical leaders, can do right now is to make sure that “we are all together” in this process!

To that end, I ask you: Are your brothers and sisters of your parish community even aware that we will soon have new words with which we will celebrate the Mass? Have you been talking about it as a parish staff? Have you been addressing the coming translation with the larger parish—through homilies, bulletin articles, or communal gatherings?

Recognitio (approval) from Rome of the English translation of the whole Roman Missal has been given! In the coming weeks, as the secular media reports--and you know they will--is that going to be the first time your parishioners will have "heard about it?"

Please let me know—are your people aware of the coming translation, or am I really living in an Ivory Tower?

Your comments are more than welcome.


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