This past week I attended our annual priestly study days. The formal title for this exercise is called “ongoing priestly formation”. And like any people who are devoted their work, we need to be updated, refreshed and have opportunities to reflect and pray that the Lord of the harvest will sustain us in our ministry.
This week’s time was devoted to studying the renewed translation of the Roman Missal, the book we use for Mass. The Third Typical Edition of the order of Mass established by the Second Vatican Council was published in 2002. The Holy Father, also issued an important document at that time directing how this new edition would be translated into modern languages. For the English language the Vatican department charged with these matters, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments directed that a single English translation be developed and subsequently approved following the methods and norms established in the Pope’s document on the subject.
The Conferences of Bishops around the world whose language is English have been co-operating through a body housed in Washington called, the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL). At the same time, the Vatican appointed experts and bishops from around the world to work with ICEL to refine the translations. Archbishop Prendergast of Ottawa was a member of the group called, Vox Clara (Clear voice). These two groups have substantially finished their work. A few votes of approval are still required from some of the Bishops’ conferences, and then the text needs approval from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. Some of the texts require the personal approval of the Holy Father.
This is a long way of saying that our prayers at Mass will probably change in a little over two years from now. I think the changes are very exciting. The texts are much more poetic. They may stretch your vocabulary, but they will be much more evocative. The texts are also more dynamic. They will help us to respond to our journey toward the completion of Christ’s saving work. As we get closer you can expect to hear more. The United States bishops also have information: http://www.usccb.org/romanmissal/resources.shtml.
In Christ. Fr. Bob