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 12/1/2010 4:50 PM
On November 20, the staff of the Office for Divine Worship of the Archdiocese of Chicago presented the first of eighteen workshops on the English Translation of The Roman Missal. We will offer a second workshop this coming week. The remainder of these regional offerings will take place from January to June 2011, all in preparation for the implementation of the English translation, which will take place in a little under a year from now—November 27, 2011. These day-long workshops consist of four main presentations: Setting the Context for the English translation of the Third Edition of The Roman Missal; Viewing the Third Edition through the Lens of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy; Exploring the Texts of the English Translation; and Looking at Resources and Suggesting Strategies for Implementation. There is also the opportunity for questions and discussion. The first workshop went very, very well. There were approximately forty participants, largely made up of members of parish staff. The group was...
By Todd Williamson on 11/12/2010 3:01 PM
Last week I posted about the gathering of priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago that took place on Tuesday, October 19. The purpose of the gathering was to hear Father Michael Joncas in preparation to receive and implement the English translation of the third edition of The Roman Missal. As I noted then, it was quite an experience to be part of a gathering of almost 1,200 priests who celebrate the Eucharist in this Archdiocese (attendees were all priests who celebrate the Mass in the Archdiocese--diocesan, religious, externs, etc.). Many of the attendees noted that they’ve never been part of such a large gathering of priests. I think it was an extraordinary experience for them too. I have found myself reflecting on this aspect of that day, ever since. It’s not like the priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago don’t gather. Every year there are two days offered for them, as priests of the Archdiocese, to come together, and every three years there is a three-day convocation. At these gatherings there are usually...
By Todd Williamson on 10/25/2010 12:58 PM
Last week, over 1,200 priests who celebrate the liturgy in the Archdiocese of Chicago gathered in Oakbrook, Illinois, for a daylong presentation on the English translation of the third edition of The Roman Missal. Truly, it was amazing to see that many priests gathered together to focus on this most important subject! Father J. Michael Joncas, professor, liturgist, and composer, led the day for the Chicago priests. The purpose of the day was to set the context of the third edition and then to help them unpack some of the texts of the English translation—notably, Eucharistic Prayers II and III. Father Joncas’s scholarship and pastoral approach was most helpful during the day of study and discussion. His focus was to acquaint the priests with the texts in an attempt to assist them to begin to interiorize the revised translation. He highlighted some characteristics of the translation, hoping that this would help the priests begin to make the texts their own. This is a major concern for many—priests and laity...
By Todd Williamson on 10/14/2010 2:29 PM
Last week I attended the annual meeting of the National Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. The focus of the meeting was the implementation of the English translation of the third edition of The Roman Missal. Two outstanding speakers led the members in study and discussion throughout the week: Father Paul Turner (Kansas City - St. Joseph) and Monsignor Kevin Irwin (The Catholic University). Both are renown in their understanding of and ability to speak on the third edition of The Roman Missal. Among the numerous topics that were presented, one has continued to stay with me after the meeting—it was a presentation on “Living a Eucharistic Life,” emphasizing the dynamic of allowing our lives to be shaped by the prayers we pray in the liturgy. Traveling back to Chicago from the meeting, I spent time reviewing the Order of Mass with this dynamic in mind. For some reason, the prayers of preparation that...
By Todd Williamson on 9/13/2010 10:59 AM
On November 27, 2011, the English translation of the third edition of The Roman Missal will be used for the first time in every parish in the United States of America. (It’s important to note that NONE of these texts may be used before that date.) At a recent gathering of liturgists and musicians—a planning meeting for the catechetical efforts of the Archdiocese of Chicago—a parish liturgist made a few very good points about this particular date. He noted that we need to be aware that “the whole country will be watching that day.” He noted how the media, at least here in Chicago, will, without doubt, be clamored around Holy Name Cathedral on that Sunday, getting “on the spot reports” from parishioners freshly emerging from the first use of the revised Mass texts. (You may consider this reality for your own Archdiocese or diocese.) He noted that, in addition to the cathedral, many parishes outside of downtown Chicago will similarly have media outside, “scooping” reactions: criticism and praise, commentaries...
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...