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Published: Sunday, 11/27/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

Toledo's Catholics join in change to new Missal at Mass

Goal is to be more faithful to Latin used until 2nd Vatican Council of the 1960s

BY DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR
Monsignor Charles Singler at the Catholic Center. Monsignor Charles Singler at the Catholic Center.
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"The Lord be with you."

If those words prompted you to say, "And also with you," you'd better get with the program.

Starting Sunday, the first weekend of Advent, the new response to the priest's greeting in Mass will be, "And with your spirit."

The change is one of many being implemented in the new translation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition following years of collaboration among scholars, theologians, and poets from 11 English-speaking Catholic conferences.

Other revisions will include:

"I believe in one God" at the opening of the Nicene Creed, instead of "We believe in one God."

"God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father … " instead of "God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father … "

"It is right and just," instead of "It is right to give Him thanks and praise."

The goal of the revision, church leaders say, is to be more faithful to the Latin that had been used for centuries until the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, when the Mass began to be celebrated in the local language, or vernacular, worldwide.

"I think it's beautiful," Rosita Dennis, 41, of Toledo, said of the new Missal. "And the reason I think it's beautiful is because the new translation is more a mirror to the original text of the Bible, and I love Scripture."

She said the switch to "And with your spirit" helps her to "focus on the idea and the concept of spirit" and "sort of gets your mind centered and focused on the heart of the message of the Bible."

Another change that Ms. Dennis appreciates is to the Ecce Agnus Dei in which the phrase, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you," is replaced with, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof."

"That goes back to the Scriptures about the centurion," she said, referring to Matthew 8:8. "I think it's so beautiful because the Mass echoes so many beautiful things about Scripture."

Tom Wray, 55, who is preparing to become a deacon in the Toledo diocese, said he also is looking forward to the changes.

"I actually really like them," Mr. Wray said before a weekday Mass at St. Francis DeSales Chapel on Cherry Street. "I think the Latin-to-English translations done after Vatican II were not very good. The new ones hold closer to the original intent."

Mr. Wray, who is a member of St. Rose Parish in Perrysburg, said the new translation may be awkward for people at first, but eventually they will get used to it. Many parishes have been holding workshops and distributing quick-reference guides highlighting the new wordings.

Msgr. Charles Singler, director of the Toledo diocese's worship office and the director of vocations, said one lesson learned from Vatican II was that the church needed to make a better effort to inform and educate people about changes to the liturgy.

"We've been getting the word out for almost two years now," Monsignor Singler said. "In contrast to what happened 40-something years ago, we didn't have a lot of technical materials or resources available to use at the time."

This time around, the monsignor has recorded videos posted on the Toledo diocese's Web site, led workshops and conferences throughout the 19-county diocese, and referred people to materials available online.

The changes, which actually began Saturday because Saturday Masses are considered the same as Sunday's, won't affect just the people in the pews but also the priests and parish music and worship directors.

"The people who are going to be challenged the most by the new translation are the priests," Monsignor Singler said.

"There are prayers we say privately in the Mass that have been retranslated that the general populace does not hear. For a lot of priests who have been ordained a number of years, we've learned these prayers by rote, saying them day in and day out. Now there are nuances to those prayers that we will have to get used to."

He said he has encountered minimal resistance to the changes in his meetings with parishioners and priests.

"I think those people who were skeptical at one point were just hearing the surface information on it. Once they've heard about the purpose of the translation, that it is a little more accurate translation from Latin into English and that it is an attempt to unify the church universally, I think the people are a little more welcoming," Monsig- nor Singler said. "The most common question at the outset is, ‘Why is this happening?' After explaining to them the symbolism and the meaning of the translations, they say, ‘Oh, this isn't so bad.'?"

Predictably, not everyone welcomes the changes. A group based in Seattle started an online petition drive at whatifwejustsaidwait.org that has been signed by more than 22,000 people. The group wanted the revisions to be delayed, asserting that the changes are "seriously flawed," that they will have an "adverse effect" on people's prayers, and that they will "cause serious division in our communities."

Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pa., a former chairman of the U.S. bishops' liturgy committee, was one of the most prominent critics of the new wording, calling it a "slavishly literal" translation from Latin to English that "tends to be elitist and remote from everyday speech and frequently not understandable."

In contrast, many supporters have expressed admiration for the literary tone of the new Missal.

The Rev. Stephen Stanbery, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in New Bavaria and St. Mary's in Holgate, Ohio, said he supports the changes.

"I think it's more dramatic and poetic. I'm rather supportive," he said. "I agree with what my friend, Father John White [of Cincinnati] said: ‘We're moving from Winnie the Pooh to Shakespeare.'?"

More information on changes in the translation of the Mass are available online at toledodiocese.organd usccb.org.

Contact David Yonke at: dyonke@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.



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