Tag Archives: Roman Missal

Haven’t made a New Year’s resolution yet? Try these

January 9, 2012

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It’s not that I didn’t know 2012 was coming.

It’s not that I ran out of time.

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions — other than to lose weight, of course — because:

a: I’ve rarely kept them for very long anyway (see “lose weight” above), or

b: I couldn’t think of anything I really wanted to commit to, or

c: Both a and b.

But a few ideas have crossed my desk recently, and now, even though the first week of January is already past us, I thought these might be resolutions I could live with the rest of 2012. See what you think.

1. Have a real conversation: Every day, have one real conversation with another person where you do more listening and less talking. A “real conversation” isn’t about the weather or a silly YouTube video. Ask someone how they’re doing and listen to what is going on in their life. (Credit for this resolution goes to Eric Duffy, youth minster at St. Thomas Becket parish in Eagan, MN.

2. Change your conversation starter question: Don’t ask people what they do for a living, ask them if they are being faithful to their dreams. (I forget the source. If you know, I’ll be happy to give credit.)

3. Make peace with the new Roman Missal by reading it: This comes from Father David Kohner, pastor of St. John the Evangelist parish in Little Canada, MN. We veteran Catholics who have had 40 some years to become comfortable with the prayers during liturgy need to work at becoming just as comfortable with the new translation (whether we want to or not!). Father Dave’s suggestion: Take 5-10 minutes to pray through a small section of one of the most commonly used Eucharistic Prayers (I, II and III). They can be found on the Internet by clicking here.

Do you have other suggestions? Love to read them. Send them in a comment to this post. Maybe your resolution with help someone else take a step toward wholeness and holiness.

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Catholics getting ‘consubtantial’ with new Mass language?

December 6, 2011

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There’s material for stand-up comedians in the newly translated Roman Missal, to be sure, but there’s also an opportunity for those humble enough to try to see the chalice as half full.

SiriusXM Radio’s “Catholic Guy,” Lino Rulli joked, “After taking the red eye from LA, I went home and took a nap. I felt consubstantial with my bed. Wow, the new translations are kicking in.”

Personally, I wouldn’t call myself a fan of using terms that aren’t common usage — not if one is striving for understanding — but that’s admittedly from my Bradley University journalism training to strive for clarity and comprehension for the greatest number of readers.

But I ran across Alan Hommerding’s take in his column in AIM, the magazine for music and liturgy planning, and he adds something worthwhile to Catholics’ ongoing conversations/considerations about the new language we’re hearing and saying at Mass now. Here’s an excerpt from “Talking to strangers” in the spring 2012 issue of AIM in which he writes about a talk he gave recently:

“I spoke briefly about the terms ‘consubstantial’ and ‘incarnate’ in the Creed . . . . I observed that it wasn’t at all unreasonable in the context of liturgy — meant to celebrate the mystery of Christ — for folks to learn what those words mean; beyond that, to be catechized about them, and even beyond that, to enter into a mystagogical exploration of these two foundational terms of our Christian faith.

“One attendee raised his hand and shared something from a class . . . . His instructor had been Paul Roche, a translator, classics scholar, and linguist . . . . Roche had told students, ‘For a word to be rich, it must first be strange.’

“For those of us who are followers of Christ, this kind of ‘strangeness’ must intrigue us, leading us to explore the mystery of our salvation in Christ more fully.”

Frankly, the jokes about the new translation are a great release valve allowing venting to happen, and that’s better than explosions, whatever form those might take.

But I’d really be interested in learning deeper, productive thoughts others might have or might have run across that will engage minds and hearts around the new words being prayed at Mass.

The floor is yours.

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A Vatican II Catholic tells why he loves Mass

November 18, 2011

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I’m going to love Mass come Nov.26-27.

I love Mass now, of course.

I loved Mass back in 1963 when I was an altar boy and “Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam” was rolling off my tongue although I had not a clue what it meant.

I loved Mass in the late ‘60s when we had guitar Masses in the high school gym – and 1,100 high school guys – yep, all guys – belted out “Sons of God, hear his holy word, gather ‘round the table of the Lord.”

And I loved it when we had “low Masses” for just our homeroom in the high school chapel and the presider invited all of us to come close around the altar to better see and know and understand what was happening at the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

 A prayer for all times and places

I loved Mass in the Bradley Hall auditorium when the Newman Center took it over for us Catholic college kids Sundays, and I loved it in the dark and sparsely populated old church at what used to be St. Pat’s on the south side of Peoria, Ill., before it was closed.

I loved Mass in the crowded church basement at St. Bernadette in Drexel Hill, Pa., in the quiet of the weekday Mass at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, in the boisterous cacophony of joy-filled Catholics at St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis and in the comforting community prayer of Presentation of Mary in Maplewood, Minn., where at the end of Mass a spontaneously erupting round of applause for some terrific liturgical music is not uncommon.

So when we Catholics begin praying new words at Mass the weekend of Nov. 26-27 instead of the words we’ve prayed for more than 40 years, I’ll still love Mass.

 We can deal with change

When as we are praying the new words of the Creed and get to the word “consubstantial” I’m probably going to still shake my head and wonder how in the world anyone thought that was a good idea. But I’ll probably get used to it.

Thinking about that change in particular led me to consider other words we use infrequently in every-day life but all the time in prayer. We seem to be okay with asking the God to “forgive us our trespasses” – and how many of us regularly use the word trespass as a synonym for sin?

But this wasn’t meant to be an exercise in apologetics on behalf of the new Roman Missal. I’ve read at least a dozen explanations explaining the need for the changes and just as many commentaries questioning those explanations.

Frankly, neither matter.

I’ll still love Mass.

 Why Mass matters to me

At Mass my whole person is lifted up by thoughts I don’t usually have the rest of the week, thoughts on a higher plane, a level beyond my work, my loved ones, my hobbies.

At Mass I’m challenged to be a better person than I have been. I feel as though I absorb ideas of how to follow Jesus and the ways he said we need to live.

I’m challenged to reform and I’m inspired to keep on the journey – not just do what I’ve been doing but do it better, maybe do more.

At Mass – no matter where or who or how many people are in the pews or folding chairs – I feel affirmed in my choice to be part of this 2,000-year-old tradition. Note that word “choice.” Nobody is forcing me to be at church. I go because I want to. Because I get something out of it. And what’s affirming is that I feel part of something good and valued by others.

I love Mass because when I kneel down after receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ at Communion I feel something deep inside me pushing me to imitate that Jesus in every part of my life, reminding me of what kind of person I’m supposed to be, comforting me that because I’ve taken Jesus into my heart he is with me, fortifying me and giving me the nourishment I need to be that person God made me to be, that God expects me to be.

 I’m not the only one who loves Mass

I understood a lot more about loving Mass when a fact-finding tour took me to Lithuania just after the fall of the Soviet Empire.

Our group of Catholic journalists went to Eastern Europe to see how we Americans might help our brothers and sisters as they brought their publications from their underground existence into the light of freedom.

The priests in our group presided at Mass in a hotel room in Vilnius, and we’d invited an American to join us. She’d been working in Lithuania doing development work for two religious agencies.

Rebecca Martin cried her eyes out through the entire liturgy.

“I’m sorry,” the 25-year-old from Indiana said, drying her eyes. “I’ve been here for two and a half years. You don’t know how much it means to hear Mass in your own language after so long.”

Bob Zyskowski is associate publisher of The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

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Ease into the changes that are coming to Catholic Mass

March 1, 2011

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The changes in the Mass that Catholics saw following the Second Vatican Council were fought by a few, loved by some and endured and eventually accepted by many.  Now that a new English translation of the Mass is coming our way in Advent 2011, publishers are cranking out explanations to help smooth the transition from words many have said and heard for 40 years to words we’ll say and hear come November.

I read one awful one — I won’t name it lest it get any undue publicity at all — but it was attack-dog like in blasting anything that has happened in Catholic life since 1962 as the reason Rome had to “correct” the Mass.

On the other side of the ledger is “Understanding the Revised Mass Texts,” a product of Liturgy Training Publications in Chicago. Written by Father Paul Turner, a priest of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO, this simple, 50-page booklet is a pastorally sensitive work that is well worth the $1.25 per copy. And there are discounts for parishes that purchase in bulk.

Explaining first why and how the Mass text have been revised, the booklet takes a factual yet positive approach to the changes, but it does so with the sensitivity of an understanding and compassionate pastor who knows his flock. Take for example:

“The new translation employs a more formal style than we use in ordinary conversation. Many sentences are longer. The vocabulary is broader. As with all change, there will be challenges. The adjustments will take some effort, but the results should be worth that effort.”

And then there’s this:

“By turning attention to the original Latin texts, the Church has raised some unintended fears. Many Catholics who lived through the era of the Second Vatican Council want reassurance that its reforms will remain. They hope that the recent compassionate outreach to those who prefer the 1962 Mass in Latin does not foreshadow a wholesale withdrawal of the vernacular. It does not. English is here to stay. It will be enriched through a reexamination of the original texts in Latin.”

Father Turner points to differences in attitude and rhythm that some may notice, and, as he walks readers through the various places in the Mass where words have been changed, consistently reinforces that the aim was to enrich our prayer by bringing the language closer to the original, often highlighting echoes of passages from Scripture.

He notes where changes are small and minor and when they are major, as in the words of the Gloria and the Creed. The previous translation and the new translation are printed side by side so the changes can be absorbed visually, too.

The changes are pointed out, the differences explained, and the purpose for the change named: Here’s what the translators were trying to achieve. Again, it’s a very positive analysis, one that seems intended to help Catholics appreciate the benefit that the translators were aiming for.

Yet this work isn’t afraid to point out that the word “consubstantial” that we’ll be reciting in the new translation of the Creed is, in the author’s words, “a mouthful” and “a very unusual word.”

“In the entire revised translation of the Mass, this is probably the one word that will raise the most eyebrows,” the booklet notes. It certainly did for this writer, and I’m not convince it isn’t a mistake. The meaning and use are explained, though, as describing a very unusual thing — the nature of Jesus Christ — and Jesus is not like anything else.

I’m still not sure that isn’t simply rationalizing, but I’m going to take heart in Father Turner’s reminder that after a time and so many uses Catholics will get use to the new language.

Others won’t think so, of course, and their proof may be in those who haven’t gotten over those Mass changes from the 1960s. I’m hoping, though, that these changes are going to have a side benefit that will outweigh whatever negative emotions linger from these new revisions of the liturgy: Helping Catholics better understand and appreciate the Mass. As the changes are explained, booklets like “Understanding the Revised Mass Texts” take each part of the liturgy and help readers see its purpose, why it’s part of the Catholic tradition, how we are brought closer to God and to one another through our prayer together. That’s a good thing. — bz

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