Each year the priests and administrators of our Rochester Diocese gather for a convocation with a featured speaker. Below follows an article I just wrote about the convocation for an upcoming parish bulletin.
There is a saying, “We learn something new everyday.” We learn at school but we also look at work and with our family and friends. Many fields, such doctors, and nurses require “continuing education.” Priests can be counted among those who are called to ‘continually’ learn. As part of our continuing education, our priests and pastoral administrators gather once each year for our annual convocation. There are times of prayer. Bishop Clark always has addresses the group.. The majority of the time is taken by a featured speaker on a selected topic.
As we gathered earlier this month the speaker was Fr. Paul Turner. He is a well respected author on liturgy and spoke to us on the upcoming new English translation of the Mass. We began introducing the translations to you with bulletin articles in January. You might also remember the homilies in February on the parts of the Mass.
Fr. Turner’s presentations were to help us better understand the new translations of the Mass so that in turn we can help you better appreciate the new translations. For now, I offer a couple of highlights.
One of the common questions people tend to ask when they hear of the new translation is why do we need it? The answer I have always given is that it is not that there was anything wrong with the previous translations but that we seek to always make our words better. In March, I spoke to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at our parish school. I made the comparison that when we write something, we don’t write it through once and hand it in. We proofread. Another example is that for my web site, I reread articles I wrote a few years ago and make changes, having learned something new or found a better way to say it.
The translation of the Mass is no different. We have been using the same translation since 1985. I first heard about the coming translation when I started in seminary in 2000. What I never realized until hearing Fr. Turner was that as soon as the current translation was approved in 1985, they began working on a new translation because they knew it wasn’t perfect. They worked on it till 1998 and then sent it to the Vatican for approval but it never received approval because in 2000, the Pope introduced an updated Latin text which started a new translation. My point being that we always knew a better translation could be done.
One of the oddities in the new translation that puzzled me is right after the consecration. Currently, the priest says, “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.” In the new translation, it is shortened to “the mystery of faith.” I have been thinking nobody says a sentence like that. Fr. Turner made the perfect comparison. When the lector finishes readings, they say “The Word of the Lord.” The people respond ‘Thanks be to God.’ When the priest or deacon finishes the gospel, they say “The Gospel of the Lord” and the people respond ‘Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ.” Those responses are to God’s Word having been proclaimed. The words “The Mystery of Faith’ follow the consecration when the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood, that is the mystery of faith. We don’t need a complete sentence. ‘The Mystery of Faith’ says what needs to be said.
Watch for more on the changes.
Peace, Fr. Jeff
P.S. If you missed the previous bulletin cover articles on the new translations or the inserts on the parts of the Mass you can find them on our parish web site at http://www.ourladyofthelakescc.org/understandingmass/understanding.html.