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Notre Dame offers workshop on new Mass translation

Adam Llorens | Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On Nov. 27, the first Sunday of Advent, English-speaking Catholics across the world will begin using the new translation of the Roman Missal.


Dr. Timothy O’Malley, director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy, said he expects an easy transition for the lay people of the English-speaking Catholic community.


“For the lay person in the pew, the new translation of the Mass is not too complex,” O’Malley said. “There will be some new responses to learn, a few new prayers and songs like the ‘Gloria,’ the ‘Sanctus,’ and the ‘Confiteor,’ but nothing that cannot be picked up over a couple of weeks praying together.”


He said the new translation allows English-speaking Catholics to celebrate Mass in a deeper way.


“The new translation is a more faithful translation of the Latin based on the structure of the prayers and the content,” O’Malley said. “Thus, it will connect each Catholic more deeply to the universal Church in her own prayer.”


O’Malley said the changes will offer both students and the larger Notre Dame community new ways to reflect.


“Notre Dame has always been an important player in the American liturgical renewal, particularly on an undergraduate level,” O’Malley said. “As undergraduates contemplate the new images of the prayer, consider what they mean, they are invited to allow these images to transform their lives.”


Fr. Joe Carey, interim director of Campus Ministry, said Notre Dame priests and rectors are currently preparing for the change.


“The Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend has hosted workshops these past few months for our priests,” Carey said. “Rectors within residence halls have been given five talks — one for each Sunday — that began on Oct. 23 for students to understand the changes they will have to make with the new translation.”


Students are also welcome to learn the meanings of the new translation at the Center for Liturgy, O’Malley said.


“[We] are offering a whole year of formation into these images so that students might come to mirror in their lives what they pray with their lips,” he said.


Carey said additional assistance is available to students and interested members of the community to learn more about the changes.


“There will be a campus-wide workshop this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the new translation inside Campus Ministry’s office in the Colman-Morse Center,” Carey said. “Priests, rectors, musicians and intrigued students are all invited to come and learn.”


The Second Vatican Council in 1965 allowed bishops to celebrate Mass in the vernacular, which created some problems in translation, O’Malley said.


“The liturgy was translated into English using a philosophy of translation that focused on comprehensibility, as well as dynamic equivalence,” he said. “In 1998, the American bishops recognized the problems of the present translation and presented to the Congregation for Divine Worship an updated translation.”


He said one of the more widely discussed changes to take effect Nov. 27 can be found in Eucharistic Prayer II, which reads, “You are indeed Holy, O Lord, the fount of all holiness. Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall.”


O’Malley said the previous translation did not use the phrase, ‘like the dewfall,’ but that it refers directly to Scripture.


“This phrase refers to the manna in the desert in the Book of Exodus, Chapter 16,” he said. “In this newly translated prayer, the connection between manna and (the) Eucharist is drawn. The Holy Spirit will come down upon the bread and wine and will transform it so that it will become a kind of manna from heaven, engaging Scriptural imagination.”


O’Malley said he expects the transition to the new translation of the Roman Missal to be harder for priests than for lay people.


“No priest in the English-speaking world is going to be able to ‘coast through’ the Mass in the coming months,” he said. “Instead, each priest will have to learn to pray more slowly, and thus hopefully more truly, and the new book of prayers for the Mass [the Roman Missal] is filled with music, so each priest will have to consider the value of chanting or singing some of the prayers.”