Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Thursday, February 22, 2018

BLOOMFIELD – Liturgical consultant Msgr. James P. Moroney doesn’t expect to hear from any naysayers here in June when he finishes presenting his workshop about the new English translation of the Roman Missal that Catholics will start using at Mass in Advent.

"Personally, I’ve now spoken in 102 dioceses to over 20,000 priests and deacons, and I have never finished a day with priests in which there were more than one or two people at the most who … had anything but enthusiasm for the implementation," he said.

The missal is the ritual text containing prayers and instructions for the celebration of the Mass. The new missal is known as the third edition of the Roman Missal.

Experts in many fields have spent years translating the original Latin text. Msgr. Moroney, a priest of the Diocese of Worcester, Mass., has worked on the new translation extensively over the past few years.

He is the executive secretary of Vox Clara, a committee that the Holy See created in 2002 to advise the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, which is entrusted with the review and approval of all texts for liturgical celebrations in every language.

Msgr. Moroney said the new missal "is at the printer’s" and will be available at the beginning of October.

What people will see then, he said, is "a product which is far deeper and richer and gives you much closer contact to the meaning of the original Latin text."

Msgr. Moroney said thousands of people were involved in the translation.

He said that most of the sections of the prayers of the people "have been through at least 17 different drafts, because involved in the translation at every stage have been musicians, scholars of the English language, and pastors and Latinists and theologians and Biblicists."

Overall, Msgr. Moroney said, the prayers of the people in the pews are not dramatically different. "I suspect that a couple of weeks after this goes into effect, most people will have forgotten the old translation."

The priests’ parts, however, have been "significantly enriched in this translation effort," he added.

In the revised missal, the order and structure of the Mass have not changed. But, almost every prayer – spoken by the priest or by the people – has been retranslated from the Latin to English.

For example, when the priest says, "The Lord be with you," the current congregational response is "And also with you." When the revised missal is implemented, the congregation will say, "And with your spirit."

The new missal also contains such modifications as new prefaces and vigil Masses, Masses for saints canonized in the last 25 years, and new placement of some prayers for the convenience of the priest.

Msgr. Moroney didn’t expect complete acceptance of the change, but said that it has gone "much better than we deserve" so far.

"Certainly, in the implementation process, as with any significant change in the life of the Church, there will be some resistance and some enthusiasm. Then most people will do what the Church wants to do. They want to go to Mass and pray as best they can," he said.

Msgr. Moroney said that although the mechanics of the change are important, he centers his workshops on spirituality.

"You start with the question of what’s really going on at Mass. We go to Mass not for the [activities] on the outside – the singing and the praying and the ritual and so forth; that’s all helpful. But what’s really important is whether we’re joined to Christ and his Cross from the heart, from the inside out," he said.

The workshops first examine the theological insights contained in the new translation, he said. "And people can really become excited about them because everybody to whom I talk loves Jesus and the Church. So, if you start from our love of Jesus and the Church, and then build on that to the point of examining how can we fully participate in the Mass, which is the source and summit of our whole lives, [we find that] one of the ways we can participate more fully is by understanding it more."

To that end, bishops throughout the country are preparing priests, deacons and laypeople for the change.

Msgr. Moroney’s workshops in the Archdiocese of Hartford will be presented at the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary, located at 467 Bloomfield Ave., on June 3 for priests and on June 4 for deacons and the laity. The cost for deacons and laypeople is $35.

Registration materials are available by clicking here.

Father David Baranowski, chair of the archdiocesan education committee for the reception of the third edition of the Roman Missal, said Msgr. Moroney will bring the perspective of someone familiar with the final product as well as with the process of the translation.

"I think, coming from that level, he will have some valuable insight into what we hope to do with this spiritually," said Father Baranowski, who also directs the archdiocesan Office for Divine Worship and is Pastor of St. James Parish in Rocky Hill.

Father Baranowski said his office and the committee are working to help parishioners understand the changes in the Mass by offering resources and information that will assist them.

Additional information and resources related to the revised missal are available on the archdiocesan Web site and in The Catholic Transcript Online at www.catholictranscript.org.