Saturday, October 22, 2011

Receiving the English translation of  The Roman Missal, Third Edition

Some wisdom, suggestions and recommendations to KEEP IN MIND as we enter this new moment in our liturgical life together…

1.     Take some time to prayerfully prepare (yourself and the texts) before Mass
Practice each prayer aloud—sounds silly, maybe, but try it—you will feel the difference compared to simply reading with your eyes. ALSO, set all your ribbons BEFORE MASS—things will flow more smoothly and the folks will think you know what you are doing.

2.     Pray slowly; use pauses to help the meaning to come across; speak clearly and be mindful of your pacing.

3.     Don't panic if you or the Assembly make some mistakes;
no need to apologize; take a deep breathe and continue the prayer.

4.     No matter what your intentions—don't change any of the words.
(CSL: Constitution on Sacred Liturgy para. 22.3)

5.     Start practicing with your community at least one sung Mass setting for the new texts.  Even though you may have many favorite settings, if they have not been revised, you may NOT use them after November 26, 2011. Order them now; practice, practice, practice.

      New or adapted Mass settings in the new English translation normally includes: Kyrie, Gloria, Alleluia, Sanctus, Mystery of Faith acclamation, Great Amen.—Includes a tune for the DOXOLOGY that the priest must sing— and the  Agnus Dei).

6.  Offer the prayers in a way that favors the people's understanding and engagement.

      “Pastors must therefore realize that when the liturgy is celebrated something more is required than the mere observance of the laws governing valid and lawful celebration, it is also their duty to ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what  they are doing, actively engaged in the rite, and enriched by its effects.” (CSL #11). We are in this together; it is our common prayer.

     Join the people for the Gloria, the Creed, the Sanctus, and the Lord's Prayer—but don't let your voice dominate. Unless you have a high-class sound-engineer at Mass, regulate your own microphone by turning it off when you are not the main speaker.  

When you get your MISSAL, go to the very front, find the General Instruction (GIRM). (Page 28 in my LTP version) Find articles 39-41 These paragraphs explain the fact that the most important singing during Mass belongs first of all to all those DIALOGS between priest and people; secondly comes all the parts of the Mass (Responsorial Psalm, Alleluia, Sanctus, etc…) Only then comes the Entrance Song and the Communion song.  This may be a challenge for some communities. 
This is a very different way to appreciating music in our liturgies. 
“Sing the Mass” don’t just "Sing At Mass”.

7. These next realities may give you some examen questions about your current mode or method of presiding.

[A.] You have permission to use 'these or similar words' at these moments:
(a.) Form C of the Penitential Act
(b.) Invitation and concluding prayer to the Prayer of the Faithful
(c.) Of course, it works best if you plan them out and write them down.

[B.] You may make adaptations within Mass, only at these moments:
(a.) BRIEF introduction to the Mass 
      (before the Invitation to the Penitential Act)
Brief means about two sentences.
(b.)  At “Form C” of the Penitential Act. Look in Roman Missal, Appendix VI. Note that sample Invocations to Christ are given. The use of the word “sample” indicates that other invocation to Christ may be made as long as they follow the guidance of the samples. Hint: They address Christ in his innumerable titles pointing to his mercy, compassion, and justice.

(c.) BRIEF introduction to the Liturgy of the Word (before the First Reading)  
(d.) BRIEF introduction to the Liturgy of Eucharist 
(before Preparation of the Gifts)
(e.) BRIEF announcements at the end of Mass (after the Prayer after Communion)

[C.] You do NOT have permission to add words or to use other words at these moments:
Some of these may surprise you since ad lib variations were often used in these moments across the past 30 years.

(a.) The Sign  of the Cross
(b.) The three given "Liturgical Greetings"
(c.) Invitation to the Penitential Act
(d.) Introduction to the Gloria and the Creed (Hint: there isn't one!)
(e.) The Introduction to the Lord's Prayer (Now reduced to only one choice!)
(f.) Invitation to Holy Communion: “Behold, the Lamb of God…”
(g.) The Dismissal 

Finally, please note that some things are re-arranged in this new Missal. You will benefit from sitting down with the Missal and doing these things:

Try to find items or feasts or anything that interests you in a special way. Simply start at the beginning and page thru the whole book; at the same time, (Yes, multi-task!) make yourself some notes. Some samples of items to look for:
[1] The Sunday Sprinkling with Holy Water and other items are now found in the back of the book in a series of Appendices. Send me other examples to post.
[2] Prefaces for some Solemnities are found printed along with the other proper prayers and antiphons for that day  instead of with all the other prefaces.
[3] Three sets of indices are found at the very end of the book. I’d urge you to add tabs to these sections because there will be days when you are in a very great hurry to find some thing, and a simple flip to these sections will help you out and calm you down.

[4] For example, I expected to find the COMMUNION RITE after all the Eucharistic Prayers—they weren't there! They were AFTER EP-4 and before EP Reconciliation I.

Further up-to-date information:

There are more....but start here.

REMEMBER, you can always go back and re-read past POSTS 
by using the clickable column at the LEFT SIDE of your screen.

The Apostles Creed

In the second edition of the Roman Missal, whenever we said/sung the Creed it was the Nicene Creed.There was also the exceptional use of the Apostles’ Creed allowed at Masses with Children.  Now, with RM3, the Apostles Creed may be used at any time as well. RM3 at #19 states: “Instead of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, especially during Lent and Easter Time, the baptismal Symbol of the Roman Church, known as the Apostles’ Creed, may be used.”

Notice that the only caveat given at RM3 #19 points to encouraged use in the Lent and Easter seasons of the Apostles' Creed. The fact that RM3 especially encourages its use in those two seasons, makes it clear that the Apostles' Creed may also be used any time the Creed is required.

Both versions of the Creed (cf. GIRM#137) ask us to add the ritual gesture of a BOW FROM THE WAIST when the mystery of the Incarnation—the truth that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity took on our human condition out of love for us. We bow as we come face-to-face with this awesome reality, far beyond our grasp. cf. John 3:16.

++ Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary (Apostles’ Creed).

++ And by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. (Nicene Creed)

The Apostles’ Creed in RM3 has fewer changes in the translation than the Nicene Creed presents.
These changes affect only a few conjunctions, prepositional phrases, and adjectives.  Though few in number, they can still trip you up unless you use the worship aid to follow along and not try to mumble your way through it.  

Picking up the red worship-aid and finding the page  are essential steps to fulfilling the opportunity to be very intentional about what you are doing, that is, letting your lips, your vocal chords  and your inner  most soul burst forth with the others in the Assembly in PROFESSING your faith.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Nicene Creed

When Advent comes, we will notice some differences in the words with which we profess our faith.  Here we look at samples from the Nicene Creed:

In this version, the RM3 goes back to translating the belief statement, Credo, in the singular. The Latin always had the singular. Now we re-claim this "I believe" as an opportunity to personalize and interiorize the statements of faith we hold in common

Replacing the words "seen and unseen" the new translation says  "of all things visible and invisible." drawing us to the true mysterious nature of creation. It goes beyond the me-centered view that depends on 'my' sight. God made all things: things visible and invisible. It is not simply a question that "I, myself" can or cannot see them. Indeed, there are spiritual realities.

The "only begotten Son" and "born of the Father before all ages." These texts help us to reflect on a growing, unique relationship between Father and Son. This is not magic; it is relationship.

"Consubstantial with the Father" For some CONSUBSTANTIAL will seem like a very big word; it is brought over from the Latin and emphasizes the unutterably fundamental oneness in nature between Father and Son. Worth meditating on.

"Incarnate of the Virgin Mary" This phrase uses a very precise word to indicate the truth that the eternal Son took on our fleshly existence in the womb of Blessed Mary and with the normal gestation process..

"He suffered death"  The Latin does not contain the verb "to die" and so the new text shows that Jesus suffered the ultimate loss, real death, and that this was overcome by the reality of his resurrection, as attested in the Gospels.

" adored and glorified." The word who as a transition from the Holy Spirit is non-gender specific and stretches our minds to think about WHO God really is. And our God is worth adoration, that is, a total, other-focused acknowledgement of the divine nature of the elusive Spirit.

"I confess" is a phrase we normally only use with regard to guilt. Here it takes on the sense of those Martyrs who confessed their faith by giving their blood.  Our acknowledgement  of God is so strong that we profess our faith not only with words but with our whole self.

"I look forward to the Resurrection of the dead." This is a very bold statement, resounding with confidence.

Coming Next,

new words in the Apostles Creed.

….Watch for comments on the Apostles Creed….

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Roman Missal: now in my hand...

LTP may have been the first of the publishers to dispatch their editions of the
English translation of the ROMAN MISSAL v3.  Maybe it is because the University of Dayton Campus Ministry made such a large order: one for each of the chapels, and one for each Campus Minister who regularly work with and plan out of the Missal.

I was warned that  I would be confused by the ordering of the sections. However, for the most part, it seems to me that RM3 follows the order we are used to in RM2/Sacramentary with these three exceptions:
  1. The Communion Rite follows Eucharistic Prayer 4. Then, after the Communion Rite comes the rest of the Eucharistic Prayers, namely, Reconciliation 1, Reconciliation 2, and the four variations of Eucharistic Prayers for Various needs. I expected to find the Communion Rite after ALL the EP's and not in the middle of the bunch.
  2. There is no Table of Contents in the front but there is a rather complete Index at the very end of the book. Hint: I added my own four tabs for quick reference to these very helpful pages.
  3. Not all of the prefaces are printed in one place as was the custom of previous English language Missals (Sacramentaries). Some prefaces are printed along with the other prayers and texts proper to that day. I have not had time to go through and note if I see a pattern in this usage.
I will add more comments as I have time to make more notes and as others point things out to me.

At this point I would also like to direct you  to a very helpful book: Pastoral Companion to the Roman Missal by Fr. Paul Turner, STD.  This book gives two pages to every Sunday and Solemnity of the Year. Fr. Paul gives an overview of the non-Scriptural texts of the day, viz. Entrance Antiphon, Collect etc. He also gives indications of the source material that forms each item. Included too are suggested introductions and concluding prayers for the Prayer of the Faithful for the A-B-C cycles of the Sunday texts. If you are ordering by phone or online it would be handy to have the ISBN #978-1-58459-514-4. If you are not familiar with World Library Publications you owe it to yourself to check their website for many treasures: . You can also browse their newest products including RM3 specific materials:

More later.
If you have recommendations, drop me a line.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


The Gloria, rooted in the Song of the Angels (Luke 2:14), has been sung in common worship since very early ages, first at Morning Prayer, then, in the Mass. It includes elements of praise, thanks, acknowledgement and pleas for God’s loving-kindness. .

The GLORIA is often referred to as a hymn, though it is not structured with rhyming  lines, as we generally expect in a hymn.

If it seems longer than usual: you’re right! While the Latin in both RM2 and RM3 is the same for the Gloria, the different styles of translation can be seen in comparing the texts.

 The current translation, (RM-2), for the sake of poetic flow, re-arranged some phrases and combined what they considered duplication. RM-3, following the strict, literal translation method, gives all of the variations of praise and petition. 

Despite their translation differences, the 3-fold structure of the Gloria remains in both versions: [a] Glory, praise, adoration to God, Peace to all on earth; [b] expressions of confidence in Jesus our Savior and  desire for forgiveness; finally, [c] a return to giving praise to the Most Holy Trinity.

It is filled with "acknowledgement vocabulary" which would probably be good to add to our own prayer-life, if it lacks much praise. 

  • Praise, Bless, Adore, Glorify, ...give You thanks...,
  • Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father.

In some ways, praise is more difficult than thanks.  In praise, the entire focus is on the Other.  In thanks, there is still a little bit of the self: while we acknowledge God as the source of all gifts, part of us is focused on what we got out of it.

Praying the Gloria balances us. It stretches our ability to focus on the Holy One without reference to self; and yet it incorporates our undeniable need to depend on God's mercy, strength and forgiveness.



There are many new Saints given days in the Liturgical Calendar.  J. Michael Thompson has written a new book to help you appreciate more of the diversity amongst us.

Learn about new saints, pray with their stories, and sing your praise! This collection of 16 saints are newly included in the third edition of the Roman Missal. 

NOTE: J Michael Thompson has written prayers and a hymn text about each saint, set to familiar melodies to support your prayer as you reflect on the lives of these holy witnesses. Inspire your own journey of faith as you sing and pray with the saints!

ISBN:  9780764821035
Author: J.Michael Thompson
Publisher:  LIGUORI

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Mass, Missal, and Mission--Blog to help Marianists prepare for the new translation of the Missal.

The simple answer: The Roman Missal names the BOOK containing all the PRAYERS needed for the priest and people to celebrate the Eucharist, i.e., the Mass. To call it the ROMAN MISSAL indicates that this book belongs to the LATIN (or ROMAN) RITE of the Catholic Church.  In the Catholic Church there are a variety of RITES, sometimes referred to as CHURCHES.

A more complicated issue lies in the fact that the Catholic Church exists around the world (catholic, universal). In addition to those Churches (ecclesial realities) that are West of Rome, there are those that are EAST of Rome. Sometimes these churches are referred to as ORIENTAL Churches. The designation ORIENTAL is confusing to some people, because in modern speech ORIENTAL refers to the FAR EAST (like China and Japan). Within Catholic documents, Oriental points to all those Churches with roots in the Mediterranean basin and East of that.

In the West, there are three extant Rites: the Latin or Roman (largest  of them all), The Ambrosian (usage within the Archdiocese of Milan), and the Mozarabic (usage within a limited area of Spain). In the East, there are many other RITES. Depending on how you group them, you can count as many as 20.

Catholics use the word RITE in two senses: 1) the various “ceremonies” celebrated in the liturgy. For example, baptism has a rite (ritual) to be followed in order to properly celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism. Further, there are rites for the conferral of blessings and for a variety of  other occasions as may be found the BOOK OF BLESSINGS or the PONTIFICAL (a book used for rites reserved to the Bishop). 2) The other use of the word RITE refers to a branch within the Catholic Church that has its own complete set of rites (as explained in this same paragraphh at # 1) and has been in use for many (usually more than a thousand) years. As mentioned, one Western rite is the Ambrosian Rite.  They too have a Missal: The Ambrosian Missal.  The structure of their Missal is very similar to our Roman Missal. However, if you examine it closely you will see that their Liturgical Year (calendar) is similar but different.  If you look up a Feast day that we hold in common, you will see that the prayers are different. Even the ORDER OF MASS has differences from the ways we celebrate Mass according to the ROMAN RITE. The Ambrosian Rite has some different eucharistic prayers than the ROMAN RITE. Most striking is the fact that the Ambrosian Missal has well more than double the number  of PREFACES for the Eucharistic Prayer; some based on themes; some rooted in particular feast days

Remember, the church spread “out to all the world” in an age where they had no printed bible or catechism or ritual books. These were the days before printing press, before the internet, before radio and TV. So as the Gospel spread and Christian communities developed, the “basics” existed in different but similar forms.  Each church also developed their own texts and customs across the centuries.  If you are interested in the great Catholic heritage of the East I would recommend….

Now that we have a context and perspective, let’s go back to the basics about the Roman Missal, in its new typical edition and translation.

In the long history of the Church there have been many forms and editions of the Roman Missal.   You may have noticed that this current book is being referred to as the third Typical Edition. This means that the first typical edition of this Missal was the one put out following upon the Directives from the Second Vatican Council.  There were many changes in that Missal because of the revision of the Church year and the introduction of a three-year cycle Sunday Lectionary; and a two year cycle weekday Lectionary, thus fulfilling the desire that the scriptures be opened more lavishly to God's holy people.

While many, many prayers from the long Western Tradition were retained or adapted to the new ways of naming liturgical days; there were also some new compositions. The biggest surprise to many was the fact that we went from only one Eucharistic prayer for the previous 400 years to four prayers. Furthermore, at the time of the Second Typical Edition that number jumped higher with the introduction of the Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children and the two Eucharistic Prayers for Reconciliation.  

The Latin edition of the Roman Missal is called the TYPICAL EDITION because all other languages are to translate from this authentic Missal as accurately and beautifully as they can. The second EDITIO TYPICA was promulgated March 27, 1975.  This is the book that we have been using these last thirty some years. The second edition took advantage of the usage of time; some texts were corrected, others added or moved. While very competent scholars were charged with translating this immensely large book; they were also under a time crunch. The Catholic faithful across the English speaking world had begun to taste the joy of celebrating the sacred mysteries in their own language and they wanted to deepen that experience.  Now, with the Third Editio Typica we have reached a new level of maturity and found that it was time to examine some of the translating methods; it now falls to us to put our best efforts into celebrating the Sacred Mysteries together. 

There have been many editions of the Roman Missal to this point in time, and there will be further emendations and translations in the future.  Our task is to put our best efforts into the praying of the text and the singing of the many parts of the Mass. Many beautiful new settings have already been published and we can be certain that there will be many that we will enjoy singing, will unite us with our singing neighbor, and will lift us all up more closely to the Lord, if only we can be open to the changes.

Finally, keep in mind that all liturgical books, since Vatican II (including the Roman Missal, Third typical edition), consists in two main divisions:

  • (1.) The General Instruction which gives both (a) the theological insruction on the meaning and shape of the Sacrament or Ritual at hand, and (b) a detailed explanation of the ritual actions for the celebration.
  • (2.) The prayers and other texts that compose the Rite at hand

For the Mass, the first section is called "The General Instruction of the Roman Missal" [aka GIRM] and the rest of the book, The Missal proper, containing the vast amount of pages needed to print the prayers and rubrics for the celebration of the Mass for every possible occasion.

Reading the GIRM and following its instruction is an essential step  to an authentic, knowledgeable, fruitful as well as valid and licit celebration of the Mass.

Some helps to SINGING THE MASS, instead of singing AT Mass.

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