Catholic Mass prepares for changes

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Catholic religion is adopting a new translation of the Roman Missal this month. On the first Sunday of Advent, November 27th, the mass will sound different for the first time in almost forty years to the congregation.

"For the past 45 years to the response, ‘the Lord be with you,’ the people have said, ‘and also with you.’ Now we'll change and go back to ‘and with your spirit’ which is very close to the Latin,” said Notre Dame Professor of Theology Michael Driscoll.
The congregation isn’t alone in striving to learn the new changes. Driscoll said a large responsibility falls on the priests’ shoulders.
"They have to practice, yeah, in fact what I recommend is that they would take one Eucharistic prayer to start with between now and November 27th and every day say it several times, so that on November 27th they'll have a certain facility with it and it won’t look like they're praying to the book,” said Driscoll.
The order of the mass will stay the same, but along with the language, the music is also changing.
"All the music has been rewritten in such a way that I think the music will also help cue people to give the proper responses,” said Driscoll.
Steve Warner, with Notre Dame’s Campus Ministries, said the new language can add a spark to the words that are decades old.
“We've been singing our musical settings for about 40 years now, almost to the point where we don't even think about them anymore,” said Warner.
Warner, who is also a composer, said on the campus of Notre Dame they’ve already been introducing some of the new music to current masses, in hopes of easing the transition.
"We’ve begun teaching new musical themes through other portions of the mass, so that by the time we get to the big changes on the first Sunday of Advent, we're going to have tunes in our assemblies’ heads,” said Warner.
Warner said advancement in technology, over the last forty years, will also make this transition easier than the last translation that was adopted in the seventies.
"The last time we did this there was no Internet. There was no digital music. This did not exist then,” said Warner.
But not all Catholics are excited about the changes this time around.
"Some people are wildly enthusiastic, other people are negative, and you have everything in between,” he said.
Driscoll said there is no rush in adopting this new structure."November 27th is just a beginning,” said Driscoll.
“For some Catholics they tend to think this as the Catholic version of Y2K, but it’s not really Y2K. It’s only the beginning. We have years, months, decades, to implement this and it will take awhile for things to become more familiar,” he said.
Notre Dame has its hands full in making the transition for its 30 chapels on campus, but Warner said it’s going to be all about rolling with the punches when dealing with the new language.
"We're going to have to have a good sense of humor to realize that we're going to be stumbling over these moments,” said Warner.
The new book is about double the thickness of the former copy. Driscoll said this is in part because of the addition of new saints and the new Eucharistic prayer.

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