Change is on the Horizon

The Roman Missal, which contains the prayers used in the celebration of our Catholic Mass, is being revised (again!), with the new translations taking effect in the U.S. on Nov. 27, the First Sunday of Advent.

Now I imagine plenty of folks are already grumbling about having to learn new responses. We gave it a test run this weekend at church, and I heard lots of people trying to wing it with the “old” responses (this, despite having a handy cheat card in every pew!).

The text we’ve been using has been in effect since the 1970s and frankly, many of us have become somewhat complacent with the current verbiage. Because it’s so familiar to us, we recite it automatically with little thought to what we’re saying.

I can’t imagine God wants us to approach our sacred Liturgy that way!

So the Church in her wisdom has some new words for us, words that more closely follow the original Latin, words that parallel the other major language groups who never got away from the Latin.

The first major change will be the people’s response to the priest’s greeting, “The Lord be with you.”

What we have been saying is, “And also with you.” This will be changing to “And with your spirit.”

See, it’s not a big change, but it’s one we laity will find tough at first (due, perhaps, to how often the greeting is exchanged). But it’s designed to follow Sacred Scripture as well as to acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church.

Most of the other major parts of the Mass, including the Penitential Act, Gloria, Creed, Mystery of Faith, and even Sanctus are undergoing change. Not big changes, mind you, but different wording here and there.

And it’s not just the people’s part that will change; priests, too, will have new words to learn. So we’ll probably see our priests, who now say Mass by heart, scrambling to read the changes until they, too, learn them!

Change is something most of us dread. It yanks us out of our comfort zone and puts us on shaky ground.

But all change isn’t bad. As one who studied four years of Latin, I’m eager for these changes. I hope the unfamiliar words will force us to wake up, pay attention, and appreciate the beauty of our Liturgy, and then to grow more fully in our faith.

12 thoughts on “Change is on the Horizon

  1. Hey Deb, Thanks for this practical spin on these upcoming changes. We will all be adjusting for a while as we “get yanked out of our comfort zones.” I agree, it will be a bit of a wake-up call to pay a little more attention and appreciate the beauty of our liturgy. Thanks!

    • My son says they’ve been singing the responses for a little while now, and singing them is actually easier than reciting them. He attributes this to the fact that people tend to remember melodies better than simple words, but I don’t know. Anyway, thanks for visiting and leaving me a comment!

  2. I can’t speak to the changes, because I’ve not been to a Catholic service. I do like your positive reaction to change (so unusual, these days ;)) I agree that change is good to wake us up. I also agree with your observation that it will make you stop and think about the words that are being said.

    • Thanks, Janna. I realized when I wrote this that not everybody would relate to it, so I appreciate your reading and commenting! The non-Catholic services I’ve been to aren’t as “regimented” as ours are; many of those folks probably don’t understand why the changes are a big deal. It’s kind of like changing the words to the Happy Birthday song — you’ve known it practically all your life, then somebody goes and makes the words just a tiny bit different!

  3. Like Janna, I don’t feel like I can speak to the changes, because the only time I attend Mass is with Mom from time to time. But now when I go, I won’t be the only one fumbling!

  4. Musings by an ND Domer’s Mom looks great! “and also with you…” was the only answer I knew by heart but hey it’s alright with me if they want to change fact I am thrilled to know that they can change! The older folk can always be reminded that it’s not as bad as when they went from Latin to English and brought this guitars through the church doors….

    • Thanks for the compliment on the re-design — it’s been fun testing out new things! I know what you mean about the guitars. Boy, that was a BIG change, one the oldsters certainly didn’t take to! And yes, change comes most slowly to Liturgy, doesn’t it?

  5. A few years back they changed the tunes up to all our musical recitations. EVeryone hated it at first…over time we became used to it. Then a new preacher came and changed it all back! BTW, love your new desgn, awesome.

    • Ooh, thanks, Suzi! Now I’m blushing! As a designer, I tend to get bored after a while with things looking the same way; this, I think, might stay longer than most! I know what you mean about the songs — isn’t it funny how we get so set in our ways with church-related things?!

  6. I remember as a young child, sitting at mass, reading from the missalette. As I grew older, I realized I didn’t need to rely on the written words, they were ingrained in my mind. And as an adult, I grew frustrated with the Catholic mass because try as I might, I couldn’t maintain much focus. It was all too routine. These changes are a good thing! People will get used to them, just like they got used to the new mass after Vatican II.

    • Excellent observation, Terri! We do tend to become bored with that which is so familiar and take it for granted. This is a good way of shaking us up and forcing us to really consider what we’re praying/saying. Overcoming the rote aspect of praying is a constant challenge — thanks for visiting and commenting!

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