Presiders and the “New Missal”

The new translation of the Roman Missal, which will go into effect on the First Sunday of Advent, presents presiders at liturgy with both a significant challenge and a unique opportunity.  These texts, a much more literal translation of the Latin “editio typica” than the one we have been using for nearly forty years, can be a tongue-twisting and even mid-bending challenge to proclaim in English with both meaning and grace.  On the other hand, the language is often beautifully vivid and expressive after the rather pedestrian theological generalities of the translation we’re used to.

Last week I gave a 6-part workshop to priests of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in which we explored some basic principals of liturgy and effective communication that can help us welcome these new texts.  I am convinced that we parish priests do not have to worry too much about how our people accept these “changes.”  They will take the lead form us: if we preside well, they will experience being engaged in and nourished by these texts.  It’s a challenge for us.

The complete set of six talks (about 45 minutes each) may be found on the Internet Archive website.  You can also download the handouts for Tuesday and Wednesday.

I hope you find them helpful.

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Author: tomwelbers

I have been a Catholic priest for nearly fifty years, most of that time serving in parish and college campus ministry. I also have professional degrees in theology and liturgy, as well as institutional management, and continue avidly to explore pastoral theology, Scripture, liturgy, ecumenical and interfaith relations, and spiritual direction. I have a passion for sharing insight into our Christian heritage through teaching, writing, and leading pilgrimages, especially to Early Christian World sites in Turkey. Now actively retired from parish ministry, I live at Nazareth House in Los Angeles.

2 thoughts on “Presiders and the “New Missal””

  1. If you are the gentleman who left the calm and considered response to Fr. Ryan’s screed concerning the indignant reactions from his fellow dinner party guests to the new translations of (or, as some of us consider them, the corrections to) the Liturgy, thank you. I am hopeful the fresh translations will help the faithful regain some sense of the sublime. Best wishes–

    1. Thanks, Anne. I’m afraid that “Fr. Ryan’s screed” does not ring a bell, so I guess I’m not the one. While no human effort, including the new translation, will ever be perfect (and, as a lifelong student and lover of the Church’s liturgy, I do have some serious criticisms of it), the time for analysis and resistance is now past, and we all must make the best of it. I do not believe most of the lay faithful will have a serious problem with the new texts. But it is up to us priests to explore, study and pray the new translations in a way that enables us to communicate them effectively and draw all who participate in the liturgy into one mind, heart and spirit with Jesus Christ. Anything less will not serve the Lord or His people.

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