ET CUM SPIRITU TUO
On the first Sunday of Advent this year, we will change a good portion of the language of the Mass with which many of you grew up. For the first time in forty years a new English translation of the ROMAN MISSAL will be introduced and used in every parish and chapel throughout the English speaking world. While it will take some getting used to, so did the prayers and translation we are currently using when they were first introduced following the close of the Second Vatican Council.
Over the coming months I will use this space to present my own thoughts on how we get from what has become very familiar to the new, from the present translation to the new translation. This week and next over 650 of those working in our parishes in this diocese will come to a workshop presented by the Diocesan Office for Worship in techniques which might be employed to aid in making the adjustments and getting ready for the introduction of the new translation on November 26th. These sessions throughout the diocese will include our priests, deacons, music ministry people, catechists and religious education teachers, everyone who will be working to make this as smooth a transition as possible.
Our priests spent a day at the end of November 2010 listening to a very clear presentation on the new translation and why it has come to be. Y0u can watch the video of the three hour presentation by Bishop Blase Cupich of the Diocese of Spokane, Washington below or on our diocesan web site and I highly recommend that to you if you have the time and interest. Bishop Cupich explained to us that the new translation while strictly and closely translating the Latin text is theologically richer than that which we are using and can lead us deeper into the mystery of the Eucharist if we wish to go there. He made a good case and convinced a number of skeptical priests that this was indeed not “the end time” but rather the beginning of a new day in our communal prayer.
Pope Benedict has made it clear since his election that he wanted a uniform translation in English which was faithful to the Latin text. Please remember that no one is making the case that Jesus spoke Latin but rather the oldest versions of the Mass were Latin translations from a variety of other languages like Hebrew and Aramaic. The text which we have been using was rather quickly put together and approved following the Council’s close and certain approved translation liberties were taken (I will spare you here the convoluted details). Now they are being replaced by a literal translation of the Latin. Thus the famous “Dominus Vobiscum” followed by Et Cum Spiritu tuo” will once again be rendered as “The Lord be with you” and the response will be “And with your Spirit.” Bishop Cupich does a very fine job on the video of explaing that and as awkward as this may sound, it is a much more spiritually deeper response than the present “And also with you.”
One prayer in which there is no change is the Our Father. But expect some changes to get used to in the Gloria, Confiteor (“I confess…..”), Holy, Holy, Holy and O Lord I am not worthy.” The task of changing is far more challenging for the celebrant of the Mass as the Eucharistic Prayers have been altered with certain word changes, but the priests and I will work on those.
Change is never easy but I am willing to bet that proverbial dollar to a donut that you will adjust quickly as we did in the ’70′s when the present translation showed up. I intend to reflect more on these changes and hopefully help you prepare for T-DAY (aka Translation Day) throughout this year. Again, I can not recommend enough watching the video presentation of Bishop Cupich to our priests. It will help you enormously.