Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

South Sudan bishops condemn atrocities, appeal for help to prevent famine
A mother feeds her child with a peanut-based paste for treatment of severe acute malnutrition at a hospital Jan. 20 in Juba, South Sudan. South Sudan's Catholic bishops asked for the world's help to p...

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Grass-roots leaders join call for 'disrupting' oppression that hurts many
Representatives from small groups give the final message from the U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements Feb. 19 in Modesto, Calif. (CNS photo/Dennis Sadowski) MODESTO, Calif. (CNS) -- Affi...

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Be ashamed when tempted to use church for power struggles, pope says
Pope Francis greets a new priest during the ordination Mass of 11 priests in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican April 17, 2016. The pope warned against using the church in pursuit of personal ambitio...

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Pope's tip for becoming a saint: Pray for someone who doesn't like you
Pope Francis delivers his blessing to an overflow crowd gathered outside St. Mary Josefa Church after celebrating Mass at the parish in Rome Feb. 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) ROME (CNS) -- A practica...

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Employees of archdiocese volunteer to bring meals and good cheer to the homeless
Written by Shelley Wolf
Alicia Fleming, sales assistant for the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, laughs with a client while serving desserts at the South Park Inn in Hartford.(Photo by Shelley Wolf) ...

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Special Olympians show world that 'every person is a gift,' pope says
Pope receives a stuffed animal from a participant in the Special Olympics during a meeting Feb. 16 at the Vatican. The Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held in Austria March 14-25. (CNS pho...

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South Sudan bishops condemn atrocities, appeal for help to prevent famine
South Sudan bishops condemn atrocities, appeal for help to prevent famine
Grass-roots leaders join call for 'disrupting' oppression that hurts many
Grass-roots leaders join call for 'disrupting' oppression that hurts many
Be ashamed when tempted to use church for power struggles, pope says
Be ashamed when tempted to use church for power struggles, pope says
Pope's tip for becoming a saint: Pray for someone who doesn't like you
Pope's tip for becoming a saint: Pray for someone who doesn't like you
Employees of archdiocese volunteer to bring meals and good cheer to the homeless
Employees of archdiocese volunteer to bring meals and good cheer to the homeless
Special Olympians show world that 'every person is a gift,' pope says
Special Olympians show world that 'every person is a gift,' pope says

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MsgrLiptak_TNQ. So many questions occur to me concerning the new English Mass. Why is it that perfectly usual expressions, even in Latin, have all but disappeared? One example is the Latin phrase, Ite, Missa est, meaning, "Go, the Mass is ended." Why do I sometimes feel that familiar expressions are being taken away, more and more?

 

A. The familiar Latin phrase, from the close of Mass, Ite, missa est, is ironically, not easy to translate into English. Even though, almost from time immemorial, it has been rendered as, "Go, the Mass is ended," it is, in fact, all but untranslatable. Clearly it is an idiom, about which an enormous amount of commentary has developed. But the commentary itself allows for diverse theories. Its original meaning, evidently referring to the conclusion of the Eucharist, as well as a eucharistically empowering mission, is more readily understood, in my opinion, in the context of the theory that the Latin Missa (English, "Mass") was a code-word for the Eucharistic Sacrifice. However, some scholars of the liturgy are reluctant to affirm even this, arguing that Missa did not signify "Mass" until about the sixth century.

On the other hand, the new English translation does retain a few usual, and presumably "comfortable" expressions. One is the Latinized form of the Greek petition, Kyrie, Eleison, i.e., "Lord, have mercy." Interestingly, use of Greek here, as traditional as it may seem, is not that ancient, but really dates later than the year 500. (The year 500, according to one chronology, marks the end of antiquity; i.e., that which can be properly called "ancient"; after the year 500, time is described as "medieval." (The difference is obvious when traveling from Athens or Rome, where "ancient" scenes abound, to (for example) France, where "medieval" is the usual descriptive for artistic treasures of the past.

To return to the Greek Kyrie, Eleison of the Mass, it probably was added in early medieval times (e.g., sixth century) rather than in the beginning of the Roman Rite Mass, when, ironically, the Eucharist was celebrated in Greek, not in Latin.

Yet another "usual" reference in the new translation of the Missal is the return of the word "chalice," instead of "cup." To me, this represents more of an emphasis on noble language, rather than anything else. I have been somewhat surprised, however, by an expressed preference by some Catholics for "cup." Another option, based on Old English roots, would have been "grail"; e.g., "holy grail," about which so many works of art have focused (e.g., the legends about King Arthur; also, the opera, Parsifal). "Chalice," from the Latin calix, is a fortunate translation – a noble, meaningful rendering.

 

 

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