Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why Are Prayers at Mass Going to Change?

***Note: I wrote another entry on this topic on October 16, 2011: The Mass Explained (And More About the Changes)

English speaking people from eleven different countries will be experiencing changes in the Mass beginning the First Sunday of Advent, this year. (November 27, 2011) Yesterday, during our community meeting, Sr. Pamela explained why what we say at mass is changing.

Note: Scripture readings, prayers of the faithful and favorite hymns will not be changed.

Here are some questions and answers based on her talk:

Why is there a new translation?
The translation we have been using has served us well. It was based on a method of translation called "Dynamic" Equivalence. This means that translators are free to paraphrase in order to get across the intended meaning of the original Latin text.

This method, while making the prayers more understandable to the general population, has also left out specific scriptural sentences. For example:
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed," will be changed to "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and I shall be healed" (See Matthew 8:8).

The new method of translation that is used for the Roman Missal (formerly called the Sacramentary) is called "Direct" or "Formal" Equivalence. This means that the translators made the wording as close as possible to a literal translation of the Latin prayers.

The purpose of the new translation is to enrich what we say by examining the original texts in Latin. The goal is to make the translation better.

Will the Church go back to using Latin at Mass?
No. English (or whatever language you speak) is here to stay.

What if I have trouble getting used to it?
We have to be patient with each other and especially with our priests as we get used to it--it will take awhile to get used to the new translation.

Our priests have using the same words ever since Mass was said in English for the first time. Many of them celebrate Mass several times throughout the weekend and at least once a day. To all of a sudden change what one says will be a challenge.

At the same time, it will be challenging for the rest of us. We need to give it time, and everyone learns new things at a different pace.

Why are there more words in the Gloria?
We cannot say enough to praise God. We are so in awe of Him! In fact, the new translation of the Roman Missal is a more humble translation, acknowledging that we are in the presence of an awesome God! God is both imminent and transcendent. The new translation includes both of these realities on a deeper level.

Why are we going from saying "We Believe" to "I Believe" in the Nicene Creed?
Each of us takes responsibility to profess our faith. When we recite the Pledge of Allegiance in a group of people, we say, "I pledge allegiance to the flag...."

What does "consubstantial with the Father" mean?
Jesus and the Father are one and the same. They have the same substance.

If you would like more information....Sr. Pamela recommended the following booklets, which I now recommend to you:

Please, if you have any questions, write them in the comment box! I love questions, and if I don't know the answer, I will look for it.


  1. I enjoy your blog. Thank you very much for taking the time to write to us! :)

  2. Thanks, Bill, for reading the blog and for your compliment. I am glad you are enjoying it!

  3. Actually the mass prayers have not been the same since mass has been celebrated in English. For a couple of years we used a translation much like the new one we are getting--saying for example "Lord I am not worthy to have you come under my roof..." or "Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace to men of good will. We praise you..."

  4. thanks for posting, i've been wondering some of these things but hadn't heard answers till now.

  5. MotherAtHeart, I am so glad that this posting was of help to you!!! Thanks for your comment!