Begin to prepare for, ‘pray through’ changes in Mass language

It may be some time before Catholics start to use the new English-language translations for the constant parts of the Mass, but now is the time to start preparing for the changes, according to Father Stanley Deptula.

“My own sense is the best thing people can do to prepare is to stay informed and to pray through these changes,” said Father Deptula, director of the diocesan Office of Divine Worship. “Change can scare people, but the best way to receive these changes with a spirit of excitement and a spirit of renewal is to pray through them.”

The approved text, which was confirmed by the Vatican in June and announced in late July by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is the first of 12 units into which the third typical edition of the Roman Missal has been divided for translation purposes. It was forwarded to the Vatican for “recognitio” after a June 2006 vote by the U.S. bishops.

Father Deptula told The Catholic Post this may be the most important section of the texts as far as Catholics in the pew are concerned since it involves the prayers that they use on a daily basis: the eucharistic prayers, basic responses, the Gloria, the creed, the Our Father and the penitential rite.

Father Deptula emphasized that in granting the “recognitio” for the text, Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, made it clear that this was being done now “to provide time for the pastoral preparation of priests [and] deacons and for appropriate catechesis of the lay faithful. It will likewise facilitate the devising of musical settings for the parts of the Mass.”

Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship, has said the text will be promulgated for use in the celebration of the Mass only when the full revised text of the Roman Missal has been approved.

Father Deptula said this attention to preparation comes from recalling the lessons of 40 years ago, when the Mass was first translated from Latin into English.

“Some people remember when part of the Mass was in Latin and part of the Mass was in English. Some people remember when it seemed like the Mass was changing every week,” he explained. “We learned from that experience. All of this will be implemented together, when we really have a new missal to pray with.”

The first step in the preparation process is for priests and deacons to study the text, Father Deptula said, noting that the greatest “invitation for renewal” may be for them.

“Almost all of those little prayers a priest says when he kisses the Book of the Gospels, the prayer for the preparation of the altar with the blessing of the bread and the wine, all of those prayers will be the same and they’ll be different,” he told The Post “I find it’s going to be more beautiful.”

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