BACK TO THE FUTURE
This week-end many of the parishes in our diocese will begin to use the musical settings which will accompany the implementation of the new translation of the Roman Missal. The whole new translation will begin to be used on the First Sunday of Advent in late November this year. Most of our priests have been talking to you about this change in the last few weeks and there will be more catechesis or teaching coming from them and from myself in the next few months. For the moment and for the purpose of this entry, allow me just to comment briefly on what begins tonight in our parishes.
The new translation of the Roman Missal will occasion some slight changes in wording of the prayers which we pray together as a worshipping community. There are such slight changes to be found in the Gloria and Creed of the Mass, the Holy, Holy, Holy and the Memorial Acclamations. Please remember that no changes have been made in the Lord’s Prayer. Beginning in November we will all be looking at prayer cards as we pray aloud these prayers until we become accustomed to the new wording, have them memorized, and no longer need a text in front of us. That will probably take at the most only several months for those in Church weekly.
But, the musical settings require something of a head-start. For one thing, during Advent and Lent we neither pray nor sing (which is also praying) the Gloria. On Christmas with our churches traditionally full of “CEOs” (aka. “Christmas and Easter Onlys”), when we sing these once familiar prayers there will be new words and new musical settings. Hence, we will all start this week-end learning the new words and music for our familiar sung prayers and responses. I will be celebrating the 1145am Mass tomorrow at Sacred Heart Basilica on the campus of the University of Notre Dame where I will hear and sing for the first time the revised setting for the OUR FATHER which has been set to music by Steve Warner of this campus and which we use almost everywhere around the diocese. Gone, of course, are the concluding words “from now until the end of time” and the conclusion of this particular setting will be as the Missal indicates “for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, now and forever. Amen.” We will also be singing a new setting for the “Glory to God in the Highest.” So, most likely will you in our parishes as the new musical settings and the new translation begins its implementation phase.
Always on this topic, I ask for your patience and prayers. For my generation, the future takes me back to the earliest English translations of the Roman Missal following the Second Vatican Council: for example, “Lord I am not worthy that you should come under my roof but only say the word and I shall be healed” or “The Lord be with you” followed by the response, “And with your spirit.” I will explain this movement back to the older translation in a coming blog entry. So some patience is going to be required on the part of all of us. Prayers should be said for your priests because the changes affect them the most as you will see come the First Sunday of Advent. They had better not have any breathing challenges if they wish to pray the opening prayers at Masses!
For some, the language of the new translation will seem archaic and to others it will seem far more reverential or more theologically rich. Since I survived the post-Vatican II changes without any deep wounds of doubt or disbelief, as a lay man I might add, I think it will not take long for the changes which we are beginning to be accepted and prayed. That, at least at this writing, is my prayer.