Parish leaders learn about Mass revisions

By | August 24, 2011

Fr. Turner, a priest of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., presented a workshop on the new translation of the Roman Missal on Aug. 18 at St. John the Baptist Church. More than 300 attended, including priests, deacons, parish directors and parish staff members from the diocese and visitors from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Diocese of La Crosse.1119missalweb

Fr. Turner, pastor of St. Munchin Parish in Cameron and St. Aloysius in Maysville, serves as a facilitator for the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), the organization that guided the translation. Workshop participants received copies of Fr. Turner’s booklet, “Understanding the Revised Mass Texts, Second Edition.”

The revised translation is more faithful to the original Latin, said Fr. Turner. He added that the texts will also allow for more consistency of Masses in different languages. Twelve different publishers are producing the book in English, including seven in the United States. The books will be available by Oct. 1. The number of changes in the new translation has been reported at approximately 10,000.

“That could be low,” said Fr. Turner. “That sounds scary and people will continue to ask why we are doing this, but in the end, the book we are getting is better than the book we have.”

In addition to providing an overview of the translation, Fr. Turner discussed collects (liturgical actions and short, general prayers) and explored in depth the Order of the Mass and Eucharistic Prayer III.

Terminology changes are part of the new Missal, explained Fr. Turner. For example, the opening song will now be an opening chant. The lector will be called a reader unless the person is an installed lector such as a deacon. Season will become time, so

there will no longer be an Easter season, but Easter time, for example.
Fr. Turner scattered humor throughout his presentations. For example, when noting that the Order of the Mass is one of the parts that stay the same, he said, “In my parish, they think that’s the homily.”

When discussing the Confiteor, Fr. Turner jokingly pointed out that “We are a lot more sinful than we used to be,” because “that I have sinned through my own fault” will become “that I have greatly sinned …”

“The first translation softened the distance between God and humanity,” he said.

The response to “the Lord be with you” will become “And with your spirit.” Fr. Turner said that he plans on singing it in his parish to help people get used to the change. He suggested overall that the music will help the speaking.

“Sing first, it will help with the memorization,” he said.

The Nicene Creed will have many changes, which may lead to questions, said Fr. Turner.

“There may be considerable controversy of what’s coming because this is what we believe,” he said. “If you can say this with us, you are in mainstream Christianity.”

He explained that the creed was first published in Greek and was not a liturgical document.

“They didn’t say, ‘Have everyone read this before the collection on Sunday,” said Fr. Turner.

Among the changes to the creed is “We believe” will become “I believe.”

“It’s an individual affirmation of faith,” said Fr. Turner.

Other changes to the creed include the word “consubstantial” to replace the expression “one in Being” and the use of the word “incarnate” to clarify that Jesus wasn’t born and became man, but became man in the womb.

“That’s a theological distinction that needed to be made,” said Fr. Turner of the latter.

Changes in the eucharistic prayer include “chalice” instead of “cup,” the word “eternal” used instead of “everlasting” and “many for the forgiveness of sins” instead of “for all so that sins may be forgiven.”

“‘Many’ is the one word that invoked the most controversy in the 1,500 pages,” said Fr. Turner. “Remember that our teaching is that Jesus died for all. (Many) has nothing to do with who is being saved, but who is doing the saving.”

Fr. Turner explained that “many” is the literal Latin translation of what was used at the Last Supper by Jesus, according to Matthew and Mark. Nonetheless, he wishes the new translation included an additional word.

“I like ‘poured out for you and the many,'” he said. “I wish they would have inserted ‘the.’ ‘And many’ is restrictive.”

Fr. Turner broke down the changes in great detail, explaining the Latin translations. He invited the priests, deacons and the entire group to read aloud the respective new translations. Fr. Turner answered questions throughout and offered suggestions for implementing the changes.

“Once the translation is under way, keep an ear open for what you need to preach,” he suggested to the priests and deacons.
In his own parish, Fr. Turner has created focus groups to read through the new translation. He suggests bulletin inserts, cards in the pews and the use of electronic communication to help ease the transition.

In response to an inquiry about implementing the changes in Masses at nursing home facilities, Fr. Turner suggested creating a ministry for people of the parish, possibly those who attend daily Mass. Invite them to attend the nursing home Mass.
“You can get one, two or a cadre of people who can help carry it through the Mass,” he said.

“Keep a confident attitude,” he added. “This is something, we can do. It’s going to be a challenging time for us, but we can do it and make it prayerful.”

Fr. Turner anticipates that Nov. 27, the first day the new Missal is to be used at Mass, will be a “day in the media” for the Catholic Church.

“It will be the biggest event in the Catholic Mass in the last 40 years,” he said. “I think you are going to have camera crews outside the church with reporters asking people ‘what do you think?’ Be honest, be friendly and evangelize.”

Fr. Turner explained that it’s a good time to invite people to join the parish.

“If you ever felt uncomfortable in the Catholic Church because you didn’t know what to say, well neither do we,” he said, drawing laughter from workshop participants. “Come and join us.”

Bishop David Ricken, who has known Fr. Turner since 1972, thanked the presenter for sharing his gifts with the diocese. Fr. Turner is scheduled to return in March for a session for priests prior to Holy Week. Bishop Ricken offered his own words of encouragement.

“Be patient with the people when they get frustrated or upset, and be patient with yourself,” he said. “There is a fine balance, it’s a process. I see it as a wonderful invitation to deepen our relationship with Christ through worship.”

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