Sunday, November 27, 2011

lost in translation?

I confess, I am a liturgical geek.  So here are my musings, as such...

Thursday, at Thanksgiving Mass, I knew that would be the last time I would hear that particular translation of the Mass.  No big fanfare.

Friday morning, we replaced the missalettes at our parish, as we do every so often, usually coinciding with a change in liturgical seasons.  But this time was special.  This time, there were pew cards, too!  The Ladies' Altar Society was in charge of changing the missalettes (and I showed up, along with a Boy Scout and his family because none of the ladies can lift the full boxes once the old missalettes are packed up).  But our pastor had charged our sacristan with putting the pew cards in the pews.  He guarded that duty with great care!  After the ladies had all left, he and I chatted for a bit.  I offered to help him with the cards - he suffers with arthritis and various other ailments - but he declined.  I was stepping into my car, about to leave him to his task, when he reconsidered, "Would you mind helping me?"  Not at all. 

I was ready for Mass on Saturday evening a full hour ahead of time.  I wanted to be there for the unveiling of this new translation, for sure!  History in the making!  You could feel the excitement!

The "pew cards" contain a condensed version of the new translation of the Mass, so that you are not stuck flipping through the missalette.  This is the first real change in about 40 years.  "Translation Sunday", our cantor called it.  I thought he had the best line of the evening when he was reviewing some of the musical changes with us..."The words to the Great Amen have not's still 'amen.'"  Well, thank goodness for small favors, I suppose.

It was a little overwhelming with both new music and the new translation.  Even though Father reminded everyone before he began Mass that "and also with you" would now be "and with your spirit," 20 seconds later, when he said "Peace be with you," the replies were about 50/50  "and also with you/ and with your spirit."  It is just so automatic for most of us. By the end of the Mass, you were thinking about every word before you spoke it...."Amen is still amen?  The Our didn't change, did it?  Lord hear our prayer?...still good?"  This morning, at the end of Mass, Father said to "Go in Peace," and some people questioningly mumbled, "Thanks be to God." 

Our good monsignor, who has really down-played the whole new translation thing, said that he hadn't been this nervous for his first Mass.  But all, in all, it went pretty well for a first time, and it will get better each week.   I put a shout-out on my facebook page to all my Catholic friends and family "on leave" from the church.  Come back now, and you will be as lost as everyone else!  Really, a limited-time opportunity.

I like the new sound of the prayers.  Like a well seasoned dish, rather than a plain piece of bread.  They have made it even more beautiful!

Because I am a liturgical geek, I noticed a couple of months ago, that our pastor had tweaked ever so slightly the part of Mass where he said "This is the Lamb of God...."  He began to end it with the same ending as the new translation.  Last night, I realized why...the server clears the Missal from the altar during the Sign of Peace, so our priest says that part from memory.  All he needed to do last night was to add the beginning.

I noticed another something and that was as he prepared the altar for the Eucharistic Prayer.  From atop the chalice (?) he took a cloth (the corporal?) and unfolded it, spreading it on the altar before beginning his prayer.  Not sure if that was a universal change, or just an option he decided to exercise.

 And...last but not least our altar servers had new albs after a gazillion years of the old ones!! 

Happy New Year to my Catholic friends!  May your Advent find you waiting at the door of your heart...ready to open with the Lord knocks!


  1. I was so excited for Mass today too! I like the way it made everyone seem to pay more attention.

  2. The cards have been in our pews for MONTHS. I just wanted them to get on with the changes! We've been slowly incorporating the music since summer, too, so it wasn't quite the big shock.