The Catholic Church will implement the new translation of the Roman Missal in the United States on Sunday, November 27, 2011. Many parishes have started to prepare their flock by publishing inserts in their weekly bulletins and introducing people to the new musical Mass settings.
Some Catholics bemoan the changes claiming that they are not interested learning the new responses. To these people, the old translation of the Mass is comfortable. They can rattle off the responses in their sleep. Learning the new Missal will require a certain effort that may not have been present for many years in the veteran worshiper.
Pope Benedict XVI understands the human hesitation to change. He recently stated:
“I pray that in this way any risk of confusion or bewilderment will be averted, and the change will serve instead as a springboard for a renewal and a deepening of Eucharistic devotion all over the English-speaking world.”
The change in the Mass presents the Church with many challenges but at the same time offer the catechist a wonderful opportunity to reintroduce his or her students to the glory of the Eucharistic celebration. It is no secret that those who know the Mass often respond without mediating on the beauty of its language. The lessons on the new translation should delve into the scriptural origins of the Mass. We must show our students how and why our liturgy has evolved.
One example of the new translation changes our response as we prepare ourselves for the reception of Holy Communion. As the gentile centurion who did not feel privileged enough to have Christ enter his home addressed Jesus, we too will state:
Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
This new translation exemplifies how our new responses will be more faithful to our scriptural roots.
Many of the changes are simple and modify only a few words from what we may be accustomed. However, the more subtle the change, the more we can be confused. Use a resource that explains the reason for the changes. I recommend A Guide to the New Translation of the Mass Booklet by Edward Sri (Ascension Press). It is a straight forward guide that provides the reader with a tear out reference sheet to take to Mass.
Your enthusiasm will be the key to selling your students on the new Mass. Demonstrate your passion for the liturgy and your willingness to adapt to change. The youngest generation needs to discover the “source and summit” of our faith. Enkindle their love of Christ in the Eucharist as we awaken our Latin roots. Open their hearts and minds to the words of Christ and allow Him to speak to them in a way that will change them forever.