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I was ordained in 1991. At that time a new sacramentary was on the horizon. I am in my 13th year of priesthood. The more I have studied the latin I know how poorly we have been served by our current sacramentary. Most egregious has been the prefaces, especially the seasonal ones. Some of the images of these prayers have made it into homilies, but sadly have not been supported by the text of the mass.

Not everyone will be happy with the new book, but I am sure that in many ways it will be a vast improvement. Maybe it will encourage more priests to pray the mass rather than preach it.

Interesting article.

One interesting text is the prayer after the "Our Father."

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that with the help of your mercy
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all disquiet
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.

I am not sure that "disquiet" is a word we use in common English, and it happens in a place where many priests have been tempted to change or explain the "anxiety" that we are trying to avoid. One hope I have is that there will be less temptation to over-psychologize the Mass.

It has been more than four years since the GIRM was released. It is about time we had a new book to use for prayer for the next generation. I am getting tired of waiting. Lent is one of those times where this wait becomes painful. I have Fr. Marvin Steffes' translations of the Lenten Prefaces. The differences are incredible and the images from the Latin prefaces and prayers are so much more inspirational and instructive.

God, help our Bishops to make a decision quickly and to get these prayers into our hands as soon as possible.

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I just pray that this means I won't have to listen to any more Gospel readings of the Annunciation where the unborn John "moves" in his mother's womb as Elizabeth greets Mary.

I, too, am offering up my impatience through Lent.

In Christ's peace and joy,

Robin L. in TX

Given where we are, I hope the bishops take the time to consult widely and build some consensus about the texts.

And pace, Father Jeff, it ain't up to the US bishops alone...first, they have to work with all the countries in which English is an official language for Roman Catholic liturgy. Then, those who know our language better than those who speak it every day, the powers that be in the Vatican, have to have their say.

The current Roman enamorment with high-falutin' language is one reason I don't care if they take their time.

My parents were form the "Latin Mass", days and are ecstatic because in the diocese of Phoenix starting in June, the "Latin" mass is now going to be offered per our Bishop Thomas Olmstead.
The place at where it is going to be is still TBA, but our associate pastor's guess is that it will be held at St.Mary's Basilica in downtown Phoenix. St. Anne in Gilbert,AZ will be introducing more Latin in their Masses during our Friday night Marian Masses. It's going to be
interesting to see how these different generations
are going to respond to all this Latin. I personally love hearing Latin sung at the Mass.

Peace, Fr Jeff.

I think we have a minimum of two years, and maybe more, despite Helen Hull Hitchcock's optimism.

The sticking point won't be the prefaces, or the other presider prayers of the Roman Missal. The Order of Mass will snag the whole process. There will be a resistance from everyone but the extreme Right on the proposed drastic alteration of the commonly memorized prayers of the Mass. And that will be enough to delay an improved Sacramentary I've been awaiting for twenty years.

Roman Missal, edition 2 was a far superior translation to what we have. But you realize that work wasn't scuttled because it was poor English. It was dumped for political reasons: primarily that the curia didn't want minor languages using English as a source for translating their own Missals.

The whole point in this particular liturgy battle is a slavish faithfulness to Latin. That any decent translation of the Roman Missal would be an improvement on what we have is a convenient bonus for the curia-aligned elite.

I think there are good compromises to be made to satisfy all sides. And careful implementation must be done to ensure an openness to change. Don't bet the Vatican cares about either.

The sonorous phrasing and piling up of clauses in the "Deliver us from every evil.." that Father Jeff posted are going to be hard for so many Catholics in California for whom English is a second or third language.

47 word sentences are tough!

It's going to take some practice for the presider to get the sense of the text across, too, because we don't speak this way.

Then perhaps they should attend Mass in a language they can more readily understand. Besides which, if they now understand the import of the passage, the meaning itself doesn't change, merely nuances that are important to those of us who have mastered/are mastering the English language.

As for high-falutin language, I personally think that our high-falutin language is mere baby talk compared to the meaning behind the Words that God and His Son have revealed and shared with us.

In Christ's peace and joy,

Robin L. in TX

Even here in the San Francisco Bay Area, parish communities that celebrate Mass every week in people's native languages aren't always easy to come by. Clergy skills are an issue, too.

Then, too, there's a rightness about the local parish and its presence in the neighborhood, even if people do have access to gas-guzzlers rather than what passes for public transit here on weekends and at nights.

So, for me, "they should attend Mass in a language they can more readily understand" doesn't work as a response.

I thought the whole point of Vatican II was to make the Mass more of a potential vehicle for encounter with the Holy through the proclaimed word and spoken prayers and the actions, not in spite of them.

Thanks for the good news, Father.

Want to post some examples of those prefaces?

The preface acclamation is still a weak point, in my opinion:

"Dignum et justum est" should be "It is fitting and right", as some Eastern-rite translations have it, rather than "It is right and just". "right" and "just" in English are practically synonyms.

"One hope I have is that there will be less temptation to over-psychologize the Mass."


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This page contains a single entry by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. published on March 29, 2004 10:16 PM.

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