A slight change is coming soon to the opening prayer priests offer at Mass

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, offers a prayer during a Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

Beginning on Ash Wednesday, people will notice a slight change to the opening prayer at Mass that is intended to bring the English translation into greater alignment with the Latin text and correct the focus of the prayer.

“The prayer begins, ‘We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ That makes it clear we’re praying through Christ, but in the Latin it also ends with a clear reference to Christ, ‘God, for ever and ever,’” said Msgr. Philip D. Halfacre, vicar general for the Diocese of Peoria. “But in the English the end of the prayer is Trinitarian in nature — ‘one God, for ever and ever,’ which always refers to the Trinity.”

The new translation will correct this by removing the word “one.”

He said prayers are always addressed to God the Father, but we’re praying through the Son.

The new translation for the opening prayer, which is technically called the Collect because the priest is collecting all prayers to offer them to God, will also bring the United States into conformity with the other English-speaking countries that have already made this change, Msgr. Halfacre said.

An instruction from the Committee on Divine Worship of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, notes that the new formula should be used whenever it appears in a liturgical book.

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