T-BALL PLUS ONE DAY
In some circles it was hard this week-end to distinguish between “Black Friday” (that is the shopping day following Thanksgiving) and Translation Sunday (that is the week-end past when we started to use the new translation of the Roman Missal). Both were predicted in some circles to be “seismic” and both were awaited with some trepidation. Apparently the nation’s retailers were happy with Black Friday (and today’s Cyber Monday for that matter) and overall I think the Church should be happy with what happened this week-end. I offered the 930am Mass on Sunday at the Cathedral and the Congregation all had their “cheat sheets” in hand and were ready for that first “The Lord be with you.” Smiles were seen on faces when during the confiteor we returned to striking our breast three times and since there was no Gloria the worship aids were set aside to await the recitation of the Creed. Ah, but then there is that “The Lord be with you” which introduces the Gospel and about fifty percent of the congregation, sans aid, responded “and also with you” followed by broad smiles at their realization of their flub. Facial reactions ranged from bemusement by the generation which had grown up responding “and with your Spirit” and “under my roof” to befuddlement with the Holy, Holy, Holy. But I would wager a week’s salary that if I stood at the door and asked “how did you like it?” most would likely have responded “no big deal.” I always have believed and have written and spoken that the people would quickly adjust. One might get a different response if one were to ask them to define “consubstantial” and “ineffable” and a few of the other words not often used in spoken English in this country, but we have time to fill in the gaps. This morning twenty-eight of my priests on the Diocesan Presbyteral Council indicated that all went well yesterday in their parishes as well. One funny note is that the “cheat sheet” which most of our parishes are using uses red lettering to indicate the changes in the people’s parts but also has what we call a”rubric” in red ink which reminds the worshipper to bow their heads during the words of the incarnation in the Nicene Creed. In at least one parish, a good number of the participants at Mass read the rubric as well!
Now what about my challenges and those of other priests. A number said that yesterday was like saying their first Mass as they did not dare take their eyes off the text for fear of missing a change in wording. We all “read” Mass yesterday and in the sense that we read the Divine Office also, reading does not necessarily mean not praying. I found yesterday akin to going back to T-Ball and learning from the beginning how to play the game of baseball. It was truly starting over but in time that will also come along. In the end I think yesterday went well in this diocese and I congratulate my priests, deacons and religious educators as well as the Worship Office for preparing us for this moment. Without the preparation and catechesis which preceded it, there might have been more challenges. So signing off with: THE LORD BE WITH YOU, AND WITH YOUR SPIRIT!” Why not?