Glossary of Roman Missal terminology - Catholic Courier

Glossary of Roman Missal terminology

Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

The department of the Holy See responsible for regulating and promoting the church’s sacred liturgy and sacraments; the CDWDS also reviews, revises and approves liturgical texts and translations.

Dynamic equivalency

A translation principle that aims to translate basic thoughts rather than words. The original words and form are important only as a vehicle for the meaning; therefore, it is the meaning alone that is truly important in the translation. This method was used during the preparation of the first and second editions of the Roman Missal, but was replaced in 2001 in favor of formal equivalency.

Formal equivalency

A translation principle approved by the CDWDS in its 2001 document Liturgiam Authenticam for use in the third edition of the Roman Missal and all future liturgical books. This method aims to translate texts “integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content, and without paraphrases or glosses.” The original Latin text is thus rendered into English more literally.

International Commission on English in the Liturgy

Committee chartered to prepare English translations of liturgical texts on behalf of the conferences of bishops of English-speaking countries. Currently, 11 conferences of bishops are full members of the commission: the United States, Australia, Canada, England and Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Scotland and South Africa.

Editio typica (Typical edition)

Latin text of the Roman Missal from which vernacular translations are written. The editio typica tertia is Latin for “third typical edition,” the version of the Roman Missal being implemented in late 2011.

Liturgiam Authenticam

Document produced by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Vatican) that discusses the use of vernacular languages in the publication of the books of the Roman liturgy, providing the guiding principles for translation.

Roman Missal/Missale Romanum

The ritual text for the celebration of the Mass, which contains the words and actions completed by the assembly and the celebrant during Mass. Missale Romanum is the Latin name of Roman Missal.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal

The introductory material in the Roman Missal, containing the general outline and ordering of the celebration of the Mass, including detailed instructions about what the priest, the deacon, the other ministers and the congregation do during the various parts of the Mass.


Based upon Roman Missal formational materials provided by the Secretariat for the Liturgy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2010.

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