This coming Sunday, we begin the journey of Advent in the Catholic Church. It is a beginning and as such is an important time for all Catholics as we prepare for the birth of our Lord. But it will be more than that because on November 27, 2011, the First Sunday of Advent, a new English translation of the Eucharist (Mass) will be introduced in English-speaking countries across the Roman Catholic world. For cradle Catholics, this will be almost foreign as many of the traditional responses that we have come to know and say will be changed. And why? Bishop Henry has provided an excellent response that I provide here.
I look at the changes from a couple of different points of view. The first comes from my background in education. The new translation is far more accurate than the previous version. We would never want to use old methods when improvements are available in education and so now that we have more accuracy, we should welcome the changes with open arms. The second point of view is far more personal. I would like to say that every time I respond in church it is done with great thought. But to be honest, because I’ve grown up in the Catholic Church, many times my responses in church are automatic and without any thought. The New Roman Missal forces me and hopefully all of us to really concentrate on what we are saying, what we are professing and in reality, what we truly believe. I admit that for the first while, the mass will feel a little bit awkward and clumsy as we struggle with the new language. But in our struggle, we will deepen our faith as we truly reflect on our responses.
There are some excellent resources to assist Catholics in learning about the New Roman Missal. As a Learning Leadership Team (system and school administrators) we engaged in discussions on the changes and were provided inservice through videos and readings. Listed below are some excellent resources for parents and all members of our Catholic faith.
- Catholic Diocese of Calgary (website link)
- New Roman Missal for Middle School Youth – Word for Word by Life Teen (3 minute video)
- New Roman Missal for High School Teens – Word for Word by Life Teen (8 minute video)
- New Roman Missal for Parents and Adults – Word for Word by Life Teen (10 minute video)
New beginnings can cause some anxiety as we journey where we have not gone before. However, I hope you see this new beginning as a wonderful opportunity to learn together and grow in our faith. May God bless you and keep you close as we begin the season of Advent and the New Roman Missal.