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The New English Translation of the Missal

The New English Translation of the Missal

Many of you will no doubt will now be getting used to the new missal translation of the Mass, which we are now using as part of the liturgy.Many of us now also  await receiving our  new personal Missals, in the meantime we use Mass Cards with the  changes for the peoples responses. Prior to this we in this parish had the opportunity to hear about the background and the reason for the changes and also to experience them. Here Sylvia, one of our parishioners reflects upon those evening sessions leading up to the launch of the New Missal.

The New Translation of the Roman Missal

In preparation for the new translation of the Mass we attended four fortnightly sessions in May and June under the guidance of Father Christopher.

We spent the first two meetings using the DVD “Becoming one Body in the Spirit”, which led to questions and discussion within the group. By the third session we were ready to study a printed plan which set out in columns the people’s part of the Mass both as we have it today and also the new translation which we shall be using in the near future. A third column gave us the Latin text of today’s’ Mass which forms the basis of the new translation. The comparisons were interesting.

Throughout these meetings differences were looked at, one of which was “and with your spirit” which replaces “and also with you”. The new translation which is closer to the Latin “et cum spiritu tuo” reminds us that we are praying for the priest who is the recipient of the Holy Spirit by reason of his ordination and that when offering the sacrifice of the Mass he stands at the altar in the place of Christ himself.

In the Creed, we were reminded that “consubstantial” (a little used word in every day English) much better describes the relationship between Jesus and his Father.

These and many other changes were brought to our attention as having authentic scriptural origins and we were encouraged to become closer acquainted with the Bible.

Our fourth session was attendance at Mass which used the new translation. There was an encouragingly large congregation and we all had sheets of the people’s part. Without copies of the priest’s part we had to listen very attentively.

After Mass we were able to talk about the experience with Father Christopher. It was agreed that we all took part with more concentrated attention and listened more carefully to the words. Would this always be the case? Father Christopher suggested that we could decide to attend Mass in the spirit of Cure’ of Ars that one should say (or attend) Mass as if it is one’s first Mass or the last or the only Mass.

There have been objections that the new translation gives rise to a language more stilted and stiffer than the English version we are used to. Father Christopher showed us that the received wording was more accurate and more firmly based on the Scripture. In other Words, it was a language for Mass not necessarily for everyday life.

Appropriately, the Universal Church has a universal language, Latin, on which all the vernacular versions can be based to ensure accuracy and uniformity. This had been done in almost all European countries years ago while English translations had opted for a looser and les accurate translation. Now we are coming in line with everyone else.

In the spring edition of this magazine, Father Christopher ended his article on the coming changes with the words “watch this space”. This space has now been most successfully filled and we look forward to a better and more prayerful understanding as we share in the Sacrifice of the Mass and the celebration of the Eucharist.

Sylvia Woods

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