Now that I’ve celebrated a weekend’s worth of Masses with the new English edition of the Roman Missal, here are my initial reflections. I’m curious to know: did my experiences line up with your own, or were they different?
Some commentators were predicting doom and gloom with the new translation, with people leaving the church and so forth. Well… the sun came up today. We prayed as best we can. And it all went fairly well over here.
The Grey Cup is this evening. I think the BC Lions will win, although I’d love to see Doug Brown and Paul LaPolice win. It’s Brown’s last game before he retires as a player, and I want to erase the mental image I have of LaPolice banging his hat on the desk after the 2009 edition… which we will never, ever speak of again.
I found it got easier to get into the rhythm and prayerful nature of the Mass the more times I celebrated it with the new words.
The quiet prayers that the priest prays were the most tricky things for me to do. I memorized them way back in the seminary and changing them won’t come easily.
The new chants for the presider are beautiful but will take some time to learn.
The new prayers are beautiful. But I need to caution myself here: They aren’t new prayers! They’ve been in the Latin text (and the texts of other languages) all along. But that groovy 1970s English… lost so much of the poetic nature of what was already in the original text. I mean, the image of “running forth to meet your Christ” from the Collect for today, or the image of “the rising of the sun to its setting” in Eucharistic Prayer III are all meaningful, poetic images that have sadly been missing for decades from our English translation.
The new translation is a bit more of a mouthful for the priest than before. But I’m finding this to actually be a good thing: It forces me to look over, reflect upon, and practice the prayers beforehand. That’s never a bad thing.
The congregation seemed to do reasonably well. The new setting composed by Fr. Geoffrey Angeles is beautiful and easy enough to sing. The response where the people seemed to trip up the most was, not surprisingly, “And with your spirit.” That was most true just before the Gospel. “And also with you” is so ingrained in us after having said it so often since the mid-1970s.
All in all, I’m quite pleased with the changes and how they went over this weekend!