A new edition of the Roman Missal is being introduced this year. But what is the Roman Missal?
The term “Missal” refers to the book that contains all the prayers and instructions for the celebration of the Mass. The scripture readings used at Mass are also part of the Missal but are published separately in the “Lectionary.” The Missal is first written in Latin and this Latin text is then translated into the particular language of the people. In this way, while the Mass may be celebrated in many languages across the Roman Catholic world, it is the same core Latin text that is being prayed by the Church. In Ireland we have been using our current Missal since St. Patrick’s Day 1975. A new edition, the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, is coming into use in Ireland and in other English speaking countries in Autumn 2011. -prepared by the National Centre for Liturgy
Why are we getting a new edition of the Roman Missal?
The new edition of the Missal will come into full use over a period of time between September and the First Sunday of Advent 2011. The new edition is necessary for a number of reasons. Firstly, in the years since 1975 when our current Missal was published, a number of additional texts have been made available for use in the Mass. These include additional Eucharistic Prayers, some new Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Masses for over 20 new Feasts of Saints (for example St Pius of Pietrelcina – Padre Pio, Edith Stein, Maximillian Kolbe). These and other new material now need to go into the Missal so that they can be used in our celebrations.
Secondly, in recent years Rome gave new directions for the translation of the Latin texts. Translators were asked to make the English text follow more closely the original Latin in its wording and structure. They were also asked to strengthen the Biblical language and images in the texts and to re-introduce some theological vocabulary that may have been lost over years.Across the English speaking world the new edition of the Roman Missal will, therefore, contain both new material and a new style of translation. -prepared by the National Centre for Liturgy
Is the Mass changing?
The structure of the Mass is not changing. Its order and the actions of the Mass remain unchanged. The readings at Mass are not changed. However, with the introduction of the new edition of Roman Missal we will notice a change in how the Mass sounds. The translations of a significant number of our prayer texts from the original Latin have changed – sometimes by just a change in a particular word or in the word order. Prayers that we have become used to reciting by memory will need to be relearned. Prayers that we are used to hearing the priest say will sound different to us. The style of language we will hear and pray may seem more formal to us and perhaps, in parts, more complex. But over time, with the praying of these texts, the sound of the Mass will again become familiar to us. -prepared by the National Centre for Liturgy