Bulletin Letter from October 30

Dear Friends,

On the coming 1st Sunday of Advent, we, along with every other parish in the United States will begin using the 3rd English Edition of the Vatican II Missal.  There has been a lot of ink spilled in the press about the changes. In my opinion, most of these stories are feeble attempts to create controversy where there really is no controversy.  The translations that were produced in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council were hastily done and required to serve the needs of a broad English speaking world. Immediately, in 1970, critiques arose about some parts of the translation.  It would have been imprudent to hastily make changes in light of those critiques after so much work had gone into the texts. It has been generally thought among those who study liturgy, that some revisions were necessary.  40 years have gone by and the Church has been well served by the translations that have been in place.  40 years gives us a lot of experience with the current text and time to weigh the critiques.  So now a new edition of the Missal has been approved and we will make some changes.  All of the changes to what is said by the assembly (you) fit on the two sides of an 8 1/2 x11 sheet of paper in 12 point font (in other words, there aren’t very many changes).  Most of the changes are to the parts of the Mass that are spoken by the priest presider.

Here are our plans for implementation:

  • Between now and the first Sunday of Advent, we will be talking about the specific changes at Sunday Masses.
  • A Catholic Update called “Changing the Way we Pray” is available (they were in the bulletins last week and will be in the pamphlet racks at the entrances to the church.
  • During the Advent Season, we will make extensive use of the projection system to introduce the changes at Sunday Masses.  During those weeks, we will speak many of the Mass parts we usually sing: the Gloria, The Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy), the Memorial Acclamation.  There will also be laminated pew cards with the texts of the assembly’s prayers and responses.  We will add music to these parts of the Mass during the Christmas season and at the beginning of the spring semester.
  • For those who wish to delve deeper into the theology and rationale of the changes, I invite you to participate in “Source and Summit” a series of Thursday night discussions helping us to prepare for the changes. There are two more sessions (Nov. 3 and 17).

In my opinion, the chief advantage of the changes that will take effect in November, is that they will shake us out of the slumber that repetition and memorization can lull us into.  We will be forced for a while to read new texts. Such reading gives us the opportunity to refocus on the meanings of those texts.  There will be some goof-ups on your part and on mine.  We need to keep good humor and patience to make the transition as seamless as possible.


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