Cardinal George on New Mass Translation: Let's Get Ready

Calls for Systematic Preparation Before November 2011

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CHICAGO, AUG. 31, 2010 ( Information about the new translation of the Roman Missal needs to be given in a systematic way before U.S. parishes implement it next year, says the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, made this affirmation in his column Sunday for the archdiocesan paper, Catholic New World.

Noting the Vatican’s July approval of the translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal, he explained that parishes around the nation will begin using it on the First Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27, 2011.

A 10-year translation project “to bring from Latin into English the third edition of the official missal for public worship in the Church is now complete,” he said.

Cardinal George added that “information about the new translation will have to be given in a systematic way, because much of the information found so far in various articles and news stories has been incomplete and sometimes erroneous.”

Richer, more humble

The prelate explained that the third edition has new Eucharistic prayers, prefaces and feast days.

“The text will sound somewhat different than what we have become used to in praying with the second edition, now in use,” he observed. “Some sentences will be longer, but no longer than the sentences used in Polish and Spanish for the past 40 years. The English vocabulary will be richer, and the tone will be more expressive of our humility before a God who is so merciful that he gives us the power to address him in prayer.”

Cardinal George further noted that translations have been made with singing in mind, and he said there should be more music in the Eucharistic celebration. Postures and gestures, the cardinal clarified, will remain the same, since the General Introduction to the Roman Missal is already in use to regulate our movements at Mass.

“But,” he continued, “we can renew our appreciation of these instructions, with special attention to the symbols used at Mass and the unity of the rites. They were simplified in the liturgical renewal after the Second Vatican Council so that their meaning would be more evident to all.”

A new look at the Mass

Cardinal George proposed this time of preparation as a “long moment to look again at what the Mass is, at what we are doing to participate fully and actively in its celebration, and how the liturgy connects us to the life of the entire Church for the sake of the conversion of the world.”

He said that if the faithful take the time to “deepen our understanding of ourselves as a priestly people, a eucharistic assembly,” then this time "can be a blessed time for us, bearing good fruit in our life of prayer and service.”

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