Praying, Believing, and Living

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.

Recent Postings
Author: Todd Williamson Created: 3/30/2010 2:23 PM RssIcon
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 Monday morning.
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 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 Todd Williamson on 8/3/2010 11:44 AM
I co-host a monthly radio show on liturgical matters and issues with Danielle A. Knott of Liturgy Training Publications. The show is co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Divine Worship and LTP. Last week our topic was the English translation of the Roman Missal. Our purpose was to highlight and discuss pastoral issues that parishes may face in light of the revised translation. We discussed things from finances (costs to replace the missal; costs to update hymnals; costs to purchase pew cards with the congregation’s prayers, responses, and acclamations) to addressing, in a sensitive manner, difficulties many people have with change. 

We also discussed strategies that parishes might consider when preparing their people for the revised English translation of the Roman Missal. During that discussion, the...
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 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 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 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 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 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...
By Todd Williamson on 5/18/2010 8:12 AM

Todd provides practical ideas for setting up your parish plan for reception and implementation of the third edition of the Roman Missal.