MILWAUKEE — Upcoming changes to the wording of the Mass are the church’s way of “teaching us to be more spiritual,” according to one of the country’s leading Catholic music and liturgy publishers.
Beginning in Advent 2011, responses and prayers used in the Mass will reflect new translations of liturgical texts that originated in Latin. Those who have the Mass parts memorized – priests and parishioners alike – face a learning curve.
“This is going to shake us out of our stupor,” predicted Jerry Galipeau, associate publisher at World Library Publications, headquartered in suburban Chicago.
Members of St. Veronica Parish, Milwaukee, and a group of musicians and priests from throughout the archdiocese gathered for presentations by Galipeau earlier this month.
“We’ve been talking about these changes with musicians and clergy for about three years,” Galipeau said. “The lay people are the toughest crowd of all.”
Galipeau guided participants through the history of translating the Mass from Latin into other languages, as first mandated by the Second Vatican Council. Guidelines issued in 1969 called for the text’s basic thoughts – rather than its exact wording – to be translated, he explained.
During the Jubilee Year in 2000, however, Pope John Paul II changed course. The following year, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued “Liturgiam Authenticam,” calling for the correction of “omissions or errors” in earlier translations as well as a more faithful rendering of the original texts. It has taken nearly a decade for the new translations to emerge.
“There was a general sense in the Vatican that particularly the English translation was done with haste and some of the original meaning was not captured,” Galipeau said.
From the greeting that begins the Mass to its concluding rites, Catholics will hear and use different wording. Among the revisions: The response to “The Lord be with you” changes from “And also with you” to “And with your spirit.”
Galipeau said “And also with you” had become as rote as the reply, “Fine,” when someone asks, “How are you?”
Worship is different from everyday life and thus requires a different way of thinking about a response, he said.
“This is not the lady at Wal-Mart greeting you,” he added.
About 50 people were at the St. Veronica presentation on Friday, Oct. 1, which lasted more than 90 minutes. A second presentation at St. Frances Cabrini, West Bend, the following morning drew about 40 people. According to Galipeau and Fr. Mark Payne, pastor of St. Veronica, their attendance was breaking the ice for other parishioners.
“This should be a model for the archdiocese to do this in every parish,” said parishioner Joe Hazinski.
Parishioner Nancy C. Tarkowski, 74, said she didn’t remember parishioners being similarly educated in the 1960s.
“I’m glad we were told why,” she said. “With Vatican II, they had all these changes and nobody told us why. It was never really explained.”
While the specific words being spoken are changing, the Mass itself is not, Galipeau emphasized.
“The Mass has gone through changes in rituals and ritual books for as long as the church has been around,” he said. “The one thing that isn’t changing is the celebration of the Mass.”
That said, the Mass will sound different. Composers are working on new musical settings for the Mass, and it is expected that more sections of the Mass will be sung or chanted.
“Maybe, just maybe, this might be the opportunity I’ve hoped for as a church musician that instead of singing at Mass we sing Mass,” said Galipeau. “Just singing it elevates it. Nowhere else does someone sing to me and I sing back.”
Fr. Payne’s priestly formation was in the Norbertine order, which makes extensive use of chanting. He is eager to sing more of the Mass.
“It’s going to add a quality that, I think what the pope is getting at, has been missing from the liturgy,” he said.
On the Web site of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the changes in the people’s responses are four pages long; the changes in the priest’s text run 19 pages.
As the Web page’s name – www.USCCB.org/romanmissal – indicates, the book used by priests now referred to as the Sacramentary will be called the Missale Romanum (Roman Missal). To incorporate all the changes, as well as prayers for the celebration of recently canonized saints, the Roman Missal will be 1,500 pages in length. Galipeau said his company has been unable to find a printing house in the U.S. that can bind a book of that size; it will be printed in Europe.
The new Roman Missal is expected to sell for $200 to $500. Hymnals, missals and even some sheet music used by choirs will have to be replaced, too, and at no small cost to parishes. Paperback missalettes cost about $3 each per year. Hard-cover pew hymnals can run $9 to $15 apiece.
For publishing companies, the next 12 months will be a race as they prepare and print worship-related materials for shipment to parishes, Galipeau said.
The order to revise the translations applies to all languages, although some languages’ earlier translations from Latin already were more true than the translation to English, Galipeau said. For example, the Spanish Mass has used “And with your spirit” for years.
“The hope is that the language we use is a sacred, elevated English,” Galipeau said. “It’s not going to sound like we talk. We have a lot of work to do in our hearts.”
Some Catholics resent the changes, he said, saying they think the church is telling them that they have spent decades not worshipping properly. At some of his presentations, Galipeau said, “A small minority would say, ‘This (translation problem) would be solved easily if we went back to Latin.’ ”
No one in attendance at the St. Veronica meeting suggested that. Most were old enough to remember the Mass in Latin, but as Hazinski said, “I didn’t know what I was saying.”
The changes will not come without unintended consequences, however. Galipeau said other denominations, such as Methodist, Lutheran and Anglican, that have borrowed heavily from Catholic wording aren’t revising their worship texts.
“They may feel this move is a slap in the face to the ecumenical movement,” he said. “I think it’s a sad, sad thing.”
With the new liturgy wording due to take effect during Advent, 2011 – when the Gloria is not used – people likely will find themselves stumbling over the words come Christmas.
“I think what’s going to happen at St. Veronica as long as Fr. Mark and (director of music) Kate (Sponholz) continue to be posted here is that the regular church-goers will fold into this quite well,” said Hazinski. “The Christmas-and-Easter Catholics will be shocked and somewhat confused.”