"Will we be ready?" Cardinal Justin Rigali, the Archbishop of
Philadelphia, asked me, as the director of the archdiocesan
Office for Worship, early last fall. The Cardinal’s inquiry was
prompted by the summer announcement that the first use of the
revised English translation of the third edition of the Missale
Romanum would be Advent 2011. With the first use date, then
more than a year away, I quickly assured the Archbishop, "Yes,
we will be ready!" My confident reply arose from my conviction
that our readiness was not only about preparing for the future
use of new texts but more from anticipating a new edition of The Roman Missal that would occasion a period of liturgical renewal.
In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, preparing for The Roman Missal began in September of 2009 with a year of remote preparation.
September of 2010 began a year of more immediate preparation.
This article tells our story with the hope that it will
assist others "to be ready."
The foundation of our archdiocesan efforts to prepare for
the third typical edition of The Roman Missal last year and this
year is the mystery the liturgy celebrates—the priestly act of
Jesus on the cross (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium [SC], 7). This
divine event, which cannot be swallowed up in time but rather
abides for all eternity—the Paschal Mystery that the liturgy celebrates
(cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 1085)—is the
focus of every major presentation, regional assembly, and small
group workshop for priests and people. Preparation for The Roman Missal must look beyond the ritual book with its revised
words to foster a deeper grasp and engagement of the mystery of
salvation and redemption. This time of pastoral preparation and
catechesis in the archdiocese has been, and hopefully will continue
to be, a time not only to be ready for a change of words but
of hearts and understanding, and a time for enriching faith.
Additionally, this time of preparation must allow for the revised
edition of The Roman Missal to be received by the Church. This
ritual book arranges the celebration for the priest celebrant who
says, The Lord be with you, as well as the faithful who respond,
And with your spirit. All must be ready!
Cardinal Rigali, in his role as the chief priest and teacher of this
local Church, has made preparation for the revised edition of The Roman Missal a singular priority. First among his concerns about
our readiness for Advent 2011 is providing priests with opportunities
"to become thoroughly imbued with the spirit and power of
the liturgy" (SC, 14)—to be prepared for new texts, to enter with
greater intensity into the mystery of the liturgy, and to savor anew
the gift of the ministerial priesthood. From the outset of our year
of remote preparation and now into this year of more immediate
preparation, the Cardinal has shown a keen interest in the plan
and content of programs for the reception of The Roman Missal.
In addition to his careful oversight, Cardinal Rigali intends,
with the assistance of our Office for Communications, to make
several audio presentations on the Sacred Liturgy and the revised
English translation for cable and radio stations in the Philadelphia
area. The leadership and example of the Archbishop as to the
pastoral significance of the introduction of new texts for the
Mass serve as an essential guide for the liturgical formation of
the local Church (cf. SC, 26).
In a most general way, it has been important to get the word out
throughout the archdiocese that we are looking forward to new
words for the celebration of the Mass. The slogan, New Words
Same Mass, only begins to help people understand that the
prayers and responses so familiar for almost 40 years will be
replaced now in several months. So, all throughout the year of
remote preparation, frankness with the priests and the faithful
required that we clearly state the success of our current translation.
Very few priests and people pray the Mass thinking that
they are using a translation. Rather, the current texts form the
language of our worship. The English texts give voice to the
Church’s praise of almighty God in the sacramental sacrifice of
his Son. So, as a backdrop to the catechesis last year, and continuing
into this year, several key facts need to be repeated.
Translated liturgical texts bring about in a most diligent way the
renewal of the Sacred Liturgy (cf. Liturgiam Authenticam [LA],
1–2). The publication of a new edition of The Roman Missal, the
third since the Second Vatican Council, must be translated into
the vernacular, and now this translation is governed by a new set
of rules as provided by the 2001 document, LA. These rules constitute
a shift from previous rules. The new rules do not permit
creative innovation, but rather insist on rendering the original
texts faithfully and accurately into the vernacular language (cf.
LA, 20). Finally, the current translation was intended to be provisional
with a need for a future translation "worthy of the mysteries
being celebrated" (Vicesimus Quitus annus [VQA], 20).
These same points were in greater relief at the beginning of
this year’s program for immediate preparation. In October of 2010,
several hundred people assembled for the Liturgical Institute’s
Mystical Body, Mystical Voice program at the University of
St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois, with speakers Father
Douglas Martis and Christopher Carstens offering the liturgical
foundations for the revised texts as the Church takes on the
voice of Christ in the liturgical word. More than a thousand
people gathered in November for what is called the Catholic Life
Congress with the theme "Sacred Mysteries: Ever Ancient-Ever
New." Father Paul Turner, in the keynote address, outlined both
positive features and some limits of the new translation. Both of
these archdiocesan-wide events echoed the points in the paragraph
above, building on a year of remote preparation and laying
the groundwork for this year of more comprehensive
preparation for the revised edition of The Roman Missal.
The parish priests, already burdened beyond reasonable expectations
in many instances, deserve the opportunity to learn about
the new texts and how they came about before they become the
official texts. This is not only because they are the liturgical leaders
of the Sunday assemblies. It is also—and more significantly—because of who the priest is in relationship to the mystery celebrated
with the Sunday assembly.
In the fall of 2009, at the beginning of our year of remote
preparation, the Archbishop first assembled the priests of the
archdiocese over four afternoon sessions. These sessions, conducted
by Monsignors James Moroney and Michael Magee, as
well as myself, provided the priests with a brief history of the
third edition of The Roman Missal and how it was translated,
including the roles of the International Commission on English
in the Liturgy, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,
Vox Clara, and the Holy See. A survey of some of the texts, especially
those belonging to the priest celebrant, gave the priests a
window into the anticipated texts. Throughout the spring of 2011,
the priests of the archdiocese will participate in one of four threeday
workshops, with Moroney as the principal speaker, focusing
on The Roman Missal, with a dual emphasis on its reception and
the artful and careful manner of celebrating the Eucharist.
The deacons in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as in most local
churches throughout the country, are entrusted with a great deal
of pastoral activity and are expected to be heroic in their
response to the needs of the faithful. Very often, the liturgical
formation of the deacon has taken second place to the important
dimensions of his ministry to be a Christian servant of charity
and instructor in the Gospel.
During the year of remote preparation, deacons were given
an opportunity to come together for an evening a week over a
month’s time to probe the revised texts with an explanation of
their theological and liturgical meaning. Magee, through careful
explanation, displayed the deeper meaning of the new texts in
their revised form. In addition to the encouragement given to
the deacons to participate in archdiocesan and regional assemblies
on the revised texts, an additional day in September of
2011, to be conducted by the director of the Office for Worship,
is set aside for deacons. This day will review the texts proper to
the deacon, and additionally, will continue to form the deacons
in an artful manner of carrying out their liturgical roles, especially
in the celebration of the Mass.
The 2007 publication of the U.S. Bishops’ Sing to the Lord: Music
in Divine Worship, prompted the Office for Worship and our
local Association of Church Musicians of Philadelphia to plan
for a winter workshop on the document itself in February of
2009. This workshop, with the keynote by the director of the
Office for Worship, signaled a renewed interest among liturgical
music ministers throughout the archdiocese with nearly 300
musicians coming together to hear why we sing and what we
sing in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. This successful
winter workshop paved the way for a similar experience in
February 2010, during the year of remote preparation, for liturgical
music ministers to hear Moroney describe how the new
texts came about and the need for those who lead song to be
among the first to embrace the translation that will be part of
the sung Roman liturgy in English. This workshop also saw all
gathered sing the ordinary setting prepared by ICEL, with the
hope that it would one day be a part of the repertoire of each
parish in the archdiocese. The winter workshop for this year of
immediate preparation, in February 2011, with Father Andrew
Ciferni, OPraem, as the keynote, provided liturgical music ministers
with the opportunity to see themselves as animators of
renewal and reform, offering guidance and assistance to the pastor
and the faithful in the plans and choices to be made with
regard to liturgical music and the revised texts.
In addition to the priests of the archdiocese, the faithful as a
whole deserve every opportunity for catechesis on the revised
texts. The year of remote preparation provided the faithful with
regional assemblies in different locations within the archdiocese
conducted by the director of the Office for Worship. Many of the
people who attended these assemblies had already been aware
through a variety of media that a revised English translation of The Roman Missal was on the horizon. The interest was enthusiastic
and positive. These assemblies aimed at helping the faithful
understand the change in rules for the translation of liturgical
texts—from a more dynamic mode with the 1969 Comme le
prévoit to the more formal mode with the 2001 Liturgiam
Authenticam. Most were unaware of the rules and found this
information to be most helpful. Next, the faithful at these assemblies
were introduced to the new parent book that was to be
translated according to these new rules, the third edition of The Roman Missal, as well as the story of the long translation process
beginning in 2002. Finally, some of the revised texts were presented
as a sample of the large body of retranslated texts that
would fill the expected English edition of The Roman Missal.
This year of more immediate preparation includes again a
series of regional assemblies throughout the archdiocese, again
conducted by the director of the Office for Worship, as well as a
parish-based catechetical program. The regional assemblies,
unlike the survey of topics that filled the previous year, have
been designed to see the texts of the Mass as sacramental, that is,
to see the texts as containing meaning for the faith beyond a new
translation. For example, this will include why we will say, "And
with your Spirit," instead of responding, "And also with you,"
with an explanation of the meaning of the word "spirit." All of
the dialogues will be exposed for their deeper meaning, including
"Pray brethren . . ." and the Invitation to Communion. The
Confiteor, the Gloria, and the Profession of Faith, with their new
language, are being examined as a way to display a fuller expression
of the faith of the Church in the mysteries celebrated by the
Church. The goal of these regional assemblies is to help the
faithful to pass from the texts as signs of the faith into the mysteries
celebrated with these texts so as to live from them. This is
certainly a commendable practice for long after we are familiar
with the revised texts.
The parish-based catechetical program "Know the Words,
Know the Meaning, Know the Mystery" offered electronically
through the Office for Worship of the archdiocese, contains 32
topics for reflection by the parish as a whole and in small groups,
depending on how a pastor and parish want to make use of
them. These topics cover a wide range of issues that examine the
Sacred Liturgy itself and the new translation.
A special effort has been extended to those in the consecrated
life, especially the cloistered communities and the infirm priests
and religious, to prepare them for the revised edition of The Roman Missal. Programs have been designed to meet the needs
of each of these groups for whom the celebration of the Sacred
Liturgy holds a cherished place in their Christian lives.
Last year a diocesan-wide invitation was extended to the
active religious to assemble to learn about the revised texts.
These same religious are often participants in the variety of programs
taking place this year throughout the archdiocese and
available to the faithful at large.
There are several aspects of participation that need to be recovered
as we prepare to receive the third typical edition of The Roman Missal. The emphasis in the Constitution on the Sacred
Liturgy on full, active, and conscious participation endures;
however, the purpose of liturgical participation as "the primary
and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive
the true Christian spirit" must be underscored (cf. SC, 14). Pope
Benedict XVI, in his papal exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (Sac. Car.), further emphasizes the notion of participation in the
Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy with the important reminder
that "the active participation called for by the Council must be
understood in more substantial terms, on the basis of a greater
awareness of the mystery being celebrated and its relationship to
daily life" (Sac. Car., 52).
All the efforts to catechize and instruct the priests and
people on the revised edition of The Roman Missal, then, are
more than an academic exercise, that is, learning about new
texts. These efforts, moreover, will hopefully lead to more complete
participation in the Sacred Liturgy—carrying out roles
with all that this means externally, as people ordained and baptized
uniting ourselves to the priestly offering of Jesus, and shaping
our Christian lives on the eucharistic mystery.
The dignified and reverent celebration of the sacred mysteries is
an additional goal of our archdiocesan preparations for the
revised edition of The Roman Missal. Perhaps in the past, an artful
way of presiding and participating in the celebration of the
Eucharist was considered secondary to the core meaning of the
Mass. Pope Benedict XVI, again in his Sacramentum Caritatis,
helps to situate this discussion.
||The primary way to foster the participation of the People of
God in the sacred rite is the proper celebration of the rite
itself. The ars celebrandi is the best way to ensure their
actuosa participatio. The ars celebrandi is the fruit of faithful
adherence to the liturgical norms in all their richness.
(Sac. Car., 38)
Singing the Roman liturgy as described by the Church
constitutes a significant dimension of the ars celebrandi. Sing to
the Lord: Music in Divine Worship clearly highlights singing the
Sunday Eucharist when it identifies the duties of the Bishop and
priest in singing the Mass texts, as well as underlining singing as
one of the primary ways the assembly participates in the liturgy
(STL, 26). Several regional singing workshops for liturgical
music ministers are in place for this year of immediate preparation
for The Roman Missal. The aim is to sing the texts. The
sound of the text as a sound provided by The Roman Missal ,
along with the revised text, is part of a faithful translation of the
Latin Missale Romanum into our new English edition.
Priests and deacons, in a separate set of workshops over
the next several months, will be instructed in singing their parts
of the Order of Mass, with a special emphasis on the dialogues,
according to The Roman Missal tones prepared by ICEL. These
sessions, in addition to giving a new emphasis to singing the
presidential prayers of the Mass, also allow for an alternative
way to introduce the clergy to the revised texts.
The Office for Liturgical Music of the Archdiocese, under
the leadership of John Romeri, has established a Common
Repertoire Committee to promote sung ordinaries for the Mass
that will likewise promote the singing of the Eucharist with the
revised texts. The objective of the committee is to recommend
several ordinaries that will be sung throughout the archdiocese
as well as at archdiocesan celebrations, including the Latin and
English chants provided in The Roman Missal.
The story of our preparing for The Roman Missal is a full one in
many ways, but it can be deceivingly impressive. While our
plans and programs attempt to engage every aspect of the local
Church, many people will be caught unprepared and uninformed
come Advent 2011. We will hear some say, "What happened?
We were not ready for this!" What we are learning from
these two years of preparation to receive the revised texts of the
English edition of The Roman Missal is that this preparation will
not end in Advent 2011. It continues with ongoing theological,
liturgical, and practical ways to welcome and continue to use the
new texts for their ultimate purpose, the worship of almighty
God and our sharing in the holiness of God.
Will we be ready? Yes, but there will always be more to do!