My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This month, the Catholic Courier is devoting considerable space to educate, inform and inspire readers about the new English translation of the Roman Missal, which English-speaking Catholics throughout the world will begin using in November.
As I have communicated to you in this newspaper previously, the goal of the new translation, years in the making, is to make the liturgy conform as closely as possible to the original Latin texts, and thus bring to the surface the richness of our tradition contained in the texts. Our priests will use these newly translated texts when they celebrate the Mass. The prayers and some responses of the congregation also will change. In addition, sacred chants and music used in worship are being modified to be harmonious with the language of the new missal.
This really is a momentous occasion, for the Roman Missal is at the very core of our worship life as Catholics. I heartily agree with Msgr. Anthony Sherman, executive director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship, who wrote: “The Roman Missal is our common treasure. It is the book that provides us with prayer texts. It serves as a point of unity that keeps us all together, presenting the prayers that are used around the world, in many languages, during universal feasts or holy days.”
Much work has been done in our own diocese to prepare our priests and other ministers, as well as parishioners, for the changes to come. I am grateful for all this preparation and have found it to be thought-provoking and enriching.
The implementation process will continue to enable us to think in deeper ways about not just the words we say every week at Mass, but the whole of the central act of our faith, the Sunday Eucharist. We will be able to explore in rich ways the Order of Mass, and about the liturgical year.
Indeed, it is a time of great growth and grace for us as a diocese, work that will bear much fruit as we begin using this “common treasure” on Nov. 27. I hope you will carve out some time to read these helpful and illuminating articles.
With every good wish, I remain,
Your Brother in Christ,
Matthew H. Clark
Bishop of Rochester