New Missal presents spiritual growth opportunities

| By Susan Klemond For The Catholic Spirit | January 19, 2011 | 3 Comments

Introducing Catholics in the archdiocese to the new words they will speak and sing at Mass presents pastors and parish staff with challenges and opportunities, said Father John Paul Erickson, director of the archdiocesan Office of Worship.

Parish leaders can use this opportunity to focus on the importance of the liturgy, as well as the history and rationale behind the new translation of the Roman Mis­sal, which goes into effect in No­vem­­ber, he said.

To help them prepare for the upcoming educational effort, parish staff can attend a series of workshops beginning Friday, Jan. 28.

The workshops will provide background information on the new translation, strategies for implementing it in parishes, the theology behind it, and the role of liturgical music. (See the list of workshops on this page.)

“The real challenge, it seems to me, is to seize this opportunity for . . . catechesis in general . . . in which we remind people — priests and laity alike — that the Mass is the center and source of our life,” Father Erickson said.

The new translation reflects principles of translation developed since the first English vernacular translation was introduced 40 years ago, he said. It is a more literal translation of the Latin and should help all English-speaking Catholics continue to learn how to pray liturgically in our language, he added.

Changes coming Nov. 27

Among the changes Catholics can expect when the new translation is introduced at Masses on Nov. 27, the first Sunday of Advent, are: new dialogue between the priest and people, new wording of the Gloria, and changes to the memorial acclamation during the eucharistic pray­er, Father Erickson said.

Steps for implementing the new translation include the formation of small committees of pastors and parish staff to study and discuss the texts, followed in the spring by publishing parts of the new text in parish bulletins and websites, he said. Then, this summer and fall, the archdiocese will present workshops for any Catholic seeking information about the new translation, he added.

Some of the biggest implementation challenges will be providing books with the new texts at each parish, catechizing parishioners on the meaning of the texts, choosing and becoming familiar with music settings of the texts, memorizing the texts, and deepening the spirit of contemplative participation in the Mass through the texts, said Father Jan Michael Joncas, associate professor of Catholic studies and theology at the University of St. Thomas and a well-known composer who will present at two workshops organized by the Association of Liturgical Mi­n­is­ters.

Rewriting Mass music

Besides the fact that the new trans­lation involves more chant, it will have a significant impact on liturgical music, Father Joncas said. Some music will no longer fit with the new text, while other music is being adapted for the text changes.

Composers such as Marty Haugen and David Haas, along with Father Joncas, are making changes to their popular liturgical music.
“I expect that we will discover some new compositions that will enrich our sung worship together as a result of this change in texts,” Father Joncas said.

The ALM workshops will attempt to make some of that music available for local parishes to make informed choices for their worship communities, he add­ed.

Implementing the new translation will require a coordinated effort and, hopefully, will be a source of unity, Father Erickson said. “It can help to bring us together again, which is certainly the goal of the liturgy.”

New Roman Missal workshops scheduled

Father Joncas

Workshops sponsored by the Association of Liturgical Ministers and sponsored by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will help parish leaders to implement the changes in the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

» Jan. 29: “History and Development of the New Translation” with Father Jan Michael Joncas, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., University of St. Thomas, St. Paul.

» March 24: “Implementation Strategies” with Vicki Klima, lay leadership director at Pax Christi Catholic Community, 9:30 a.m. to noon, Pax Christi, Eden Prairie.

» Sept. 21: “Chants and Musical Settings for New Texts” with Benedictine Father Anthony Ruff and Father Jan Michael Joncas. Afternoon and evening sessions at St. William, Fridley.

The above sessions are open to the public. For more information and to register, call Bernie Leach at (763) 712-7435 or e-mail

The following day-long workshops on the theology of the new Roman Missal are open to clergy and parish staff:

» Feb. 28: St. John the Baptist, New Brighton.

» March 11: Guardian Angels, Oakdale.

For more information and to register, call (651) 291-4400.

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