The New Roman Missal
History shows that the Church has routinely revised and updated its ritual books. For example, the English translation of the Roman Missal (the book that lays out the prayers and procedures of the Catholic Mass) underwent a major revision as a result of the vast liturgical changes brought about by Vatican II. It has even been revised since then - and has now again undergone a more extensive revision, a multi-year project of bishops, priests and Church scholars from around the world. (Revisions for other major languages are being undertaken as well.)
Our new Roman Missal was implemented November 26/27, 2011, the First Sunday of Advent. The texts more closely reflect the original Latin and Scriptural texts from which they are translated, in order to bring more depth and solemnity to the celebration of the Mass. The use of common texts by English-speaking Catholics all around the world will help us become more united in the way we worship.
In addition to changes in the spoken prayers of the Mass, there were also changes to the words of the various sung acclamations and responses. Current musical settings have been altered, and many new settings have been written, to incorporate the revised texts. This has required some adjustment and learning on the part of each and every one of us.
While some have expressed a resistance to the changes, comfort can be drawn from the fact that, while the liturgical expression, in language, of our worship may be altered, the substance, or essence, of what we believe remains unchanged.
There are many, many resources to consult regarding the coming changes. You’ll find a pamphlet entitled “Why Is the Translation of THE MASS Changing?” on the literature carts in church and in the parish center lobby.
Some changes to the prayers and responses are more noticeable than others, but the changes will affect each of us. Finally, please don’t hesitate to ask your parish liturgy staff members questions about the Roman Missal. In particular, Bill Steffl, Therese Jorgensen and Fr. Chuck had studied and had attended numerous conferences and workshops to prepare for these changes!