Homily — 26th Sunday OT A 9/25/11

Homily — 26th Sunday OT A 9/25/11

We interrupt the regularly scheduled homily for this important announcement.

The countdown has started.

In just nine weeks from today, things will never be the same again.

Everybody get ready, because here it comes:the New English Translation of the Mass begins Nine Weeks from today, on November 27, the First Sunday of Advent.

This new English translation of the Mass from the Latin original has been 10 years in the making. Over 7000 people have worked on the project, translating prayers most of which were written over 1500 years ago.

The final translation was completed and approved by all the English Speaking Bishops and the Vatican about a year ago. New Mass books or Missals have all been published and will be shipped out to Parishes and Religious goods stores next week. New musical settings of the Gloria, the Holy Holy and the Memorial Acclamations have been written.

To give you an idea of how much is going to be changed, let me just say that the Our Father hasn’t changed at all, and the Lamb of God hasn’t changed at all. The Holy Holy Holy and May the Lord Accept the Sacrifice at Your Hands have both only changed by a word or two.

But almost everything else in the Mass, both my parts and your parts, are a noticeably different translation than we’ve been used to for the past 40 years.

Certainly, such a major revamping of the Mass is going to take some getting used to for many if not all of us.

And some of us I know are wondering, was there really a need to make a new translation? What’s wrong with the one we’re using now?

Maybe some of us are asking: Isn’t there more serious problems going on in the Church that we should be concerned with other than the Liturgy? Is this just some way for the Bishop’s to make money selling a lot of new Missals that they own the copyrights to?

Those are all valid questions, which I’ll try my best to answer in the weeks to come.

To answer just the first question for now, “did we need a new English translation?” the answer, which anyone with even a remedial knowledge of Latin will tell you, is a definite yes.

In general, the new translation is a much more accurate translation of the original Latin that the current one.

The translation we currently have, which was completed in late 1960s/early 1970s, using a new method of translating that was the in thing in the 60’s but has since been discredited by everyone, is in large part more of a paraphrase than a word for word translation.

And just as I think all of us would want to have as accurate a translation of the Bible as possible, we as Catholics should want to have as accurate a translation of the Mass as possible also, seeing as the Mass is even more important to us than the Bible, as important as that is.(Also, the Mass is rich in quotations from the Scriptures, but with the current translation many of these scripture references aren’t evident.)

Again, most of the prayers of the Mass are over 1500 years old. These same prayers were prayed by the saints and martyrs and all the faithful down through the centuries; and have been faithfully handed down to us. We want to be able to pray those same prayers and benefit from them in the same way they did.

So the translators these past 10 years have worked hard to try and make the new translation more faithful to the original, but at the same time making the English prayers beautiful to hear when prayed out loud, poetic, theologically rich, meaningful, moving and memorable.

And in my humble opinion for what its worth, for the most part they did a good job doing all of that. I’m really looking forward to praying and singing these new prayers, I think it will enrich my faith and help me to appreciate the Mass more deeply.

At the same time, I think it’s going to take me and all of us awhile to get used to it, how long I’m not that sure yet. And their will probably be some parts I and some of you will have a hard time getting used to or even liking.

I’d like to close by saying a few practical ways our parish will be getting ready for this new translation.

First, I am getting a Mass pew card made with all the people’s responses on one double sided sheet of paper. These will be in all the pews for as long as we need them, so you won’t have to fumble around in the missallette to find say the new response or the Creed say.

I’ll probably for the first few weeks have to hold up the card during the Mass and point to it and say “The Lord be with you” to remind you when a different response is coming.

Next weekend, we will be starting to sell at the doors of the Church for $2 this booklet, “The Magnificat Roman Missal Companion” It has the whole new translation of the Ordinary Parts of the Mass used every week, including the Four Eucharistic Prayers, on one side of the page, and a commentary on the new words on the other side by Catholic Writer and Providence College Professor Dr. Anthony Essolen.

Also starting next week, Bishop Tobin has given Parishes in the Diocese permission to start singing the Gloria and the Memorial Acclamations, so I made up a smaller sheet I’m going to put in the pews with the music for the Revised Mass of Creation Gloria on one side, and the Three new Memorial Acclamations on the other.

On Thursday evening October 27th in the Church Hall, we are also going to have a guest speaker come in and give a Talk and Power point presentation on the New Translation.

Finally, I’ll probably talk more about the new translation in my homilies and in the parish bulletin in the weeks to come. You can also feel free to talk to me one on one if you have any questions or concerns.

I will conclude with something Bishop Tobin said to all the priests at our annual priest study day last spring. He said that we should all prepare for the New English Translation by praying for the virtues of patience, humility, and a sense of humor; if we are all patient and give it a chance, humble and open to the new words and what they can teach us, and laugh it off when we screw up and get frustrated with the changes (after all, it is only a new translation), all will go smoothly, and we will in a short time end up appreciating ever more fully and deeply the awesome “Mystery of Faith” which is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Christ’s greatest gift to His Church.

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