Catholic Church in Ireland prepares for the introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal

09 Sep 2011


9 September 2011

Catholic Church in Ireland prepares for the introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal

This Sunday, 11 September 2011, marks a significant step in the journey towards the full use of the new edition of the Roman Missal, which is the liturgical book that contains the texts for the celebration of the Mass. Changes to some of the people’s responses and prayers at Mass are being introduced this weekend.  Parishes across the country have been preparing for these changes.  Missalettes with the changes included, and/or Congregational Cards with the new texts, will be available to Mass-goers.  Parishioners will have new translations for the following texts:

•    the people’s response to the greeting by the priest
•    ‘I Confess’
•    the Gloria
•    the Apostles’ Creed
•    the acclamations for the Eucharistic Prayer, and
•    the invitation to Communion.

Importantly, the structure and order of the Mass are not changing. With practice, congregations will become familiar with the new texts.

Welcoming the new edition of the Missal, Bishop John McAreavey, Bishop of Dromore and the Irish bishops’ representative on the International Commission for English in the Liturgy said: “The challenge faced by the translators of the new text was to produce a text that was faithful to the original Latin and, at the same time, was suitable for worship today.  I believe that the new texts capture the wealth of theological vocabulary of the original text and so helps us to enter more fully into the riches of the liturgy itself.”

“The publication of the new edition of the Roman Missal is an opportunity to deepen our understanding of all that we celebrate as we – the Christian community – gather to worship.  The use of a new edition of the Missal is not simply about words or translation.  The new Missal will enable us to come to a deeper understanding of the Eucharist, which is the source and summit of the life of the Church.  The new text is the result of the work of many people over the past ten years,” Bishop McAreavey said.

Please see below a glossary of the new words and phrases used in the congregational prayers and responses. The glossary  is taken from a current Intercom article by Father Patrick Jones, Director of the National Centre for Liturgy at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth:

And with your spirit:  the most obvious change, used by the congregation at the beginning and end of Mass, before the Gospel, at the beginning of the Preface and at the Sign of Peace.  It reminds us of the greetings of St Paul, for example, to Timothy: ‘The Lord be with your spirit’ (2 Tim 4:22), a recognition of the spirit that is among us as Christians, a spirit that we must live, and, in greeting one another, it proclaims the presence of Christ among us.

Through my most grievous fault: restored to the Confiteor are words translating mea cupla, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, as we have in Irish: ‘trí mo choir féin, trí mo choir féin, trí mo mhórchoir féin.’

The Word of the Lord:  the simple acknowledgement that in the Scripture readings at Mass are the Word of God.  Linked with similar expressions, The Gospel of the Lord, The Mystery of Faith, The Body of Christ, The Blood of Christ, the great moments and the movement of the liturgy are captured.

I believe: is the traditional beginning of the Creed when recited in the liturgy.  The singular form is not about individualism but associated with Baptism, it is a personal profession of faith.  The Missal speaks of the Apostles’ Creed as ‘the baptismal Symbol of the Roman Church.’

Only Begotten: occurs in the Gloria and the Nicene Creed, translating the Latin Unigenitum and replacing the current translation, ‘Only.’ Though it might be regarded as an archaic word, we have said the word ‘begotten’ twice in the Creed for over forty years.

Incarnation:  this term expresses the fundamental Christian belief that the eternal Son of God took flesh from Mary and that He is fully divine and fully human.  In the Creed we say:  ‘he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man.’

Consubstantial: at the Council of Nicea in 325AD, the Greek word homoousios was used to express the doctrine that Jesus, the Son of God, is of the same essential Being and substance as the Father.  In Latin the term is consubstantialis, as we sing in the Latin Credo, hence ‘consubstantial,’ a theological or technical word to express our faith in the nature of Christ.

For us men and for our salvation:  this line of the Creed is translated this way as it is coupled with the line ‘and became man.’ In Latin, homo and its plural homines may include females and males.  Jesus became man, homo factus est.  He was incarnate, propter nos homines, for our salvation.

He descended into hell:  hell here is not the place of eternal damnation but the underworld abode of the just who died before Christ.  ‘Hell’ was the Old English word for the place of the spirits of the dead.   In the icon, the harrowing of hell, the Risen Lord is depicted standing on the gates of the underworld, rescuing Adam and Eve, the prophets and kings of the Old Testament, proclaiming the victory of the resurrection and salvation to all who waited for the Redeemer.

My sacrifice and yours: as well as the addition of the word ‘holy’ in the congregational response to the invitation, ‘Pray, brothers and sisters, …’ before the Prayer over the Offerings, the Latin of the priest’s introduction is translated so that we have, ‘my sacrifice and yours.’  While we may indicate a difference between the priesthood of the ordained minister and the priesthood of the laity, a single sacrifice is understood.  The Latin verb fiat is singular.

It is right and just:  this is the people’s response to ‘Let us give thanks to the Lord our God’ in the Preface.  Immediately the priest takes up the people’s part and emphasises, ‘It is truly right and just, …’

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts:  The Hebrew word Sabaoth means the ‘heavenly host of angels,’  just as we sing at Christmas.  Some argue that it could have been left in Hebrew, like Alleluia, Hosanna, Amen.

Under my roof:  In the invitation to Holy Communion, the people’s response is the response of the centurion at Capernaum (Mt 8:9, cf Lk 7:6-7), substituting ‘my soul’ for ‘my servant.  ‘Under my roof’ is in the centurion’s response and is translated in the Irish version, ‘faoi mo dhíon.’

Notes to Editors

From the 27 November 2011, the first Sunday of Advent, congregations and priests will use the text of the new edition of the Roman Missal for the celebration of the Mass.  The following resources are available to help the faithful prepare for the introduction of the new translation and are available on
•    Introducing the new Missal – questions and answers to assist our preparation for changes in some of the words we   pray at Mass
•    The Order of Mass
•    Topics and Questions – these are short informational notices for parish bulletins and missalettes which may be used up to and including the first Sunday of Advent
•    Brief videos – ¬Bishop John McAreavey, Bishop of Dromore; Fr Patrick Jones, Director of the National Centre for Liturgy and Brenda Drumm of the Catholic Communications Office, in a series of brief video responses, answer some of the key questions about the introduction of the new Missal:
Video 1: What is the Roman Missal and the question ‘Is the Mass changing?’
Video 2: Why is the Church introducing the new translation of the Missal and what the changes can we expect at Mass during September and November 2011
Video 3: This explains some of the detail of the changes such as the new response ‘and with your Spirit’
•    Background statements and published articles on the introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal from individual bishops and the Irish Bishops’ Conference
•    See also information and resources for parishes on the National Centre for Liturgy website :
1.    The changes as they affect the Congregation
2.    Congregational Card
3.    Music
4.    The suggested schedule for the introduction of the people’s parts of the Mass

Further information:
Catholic Communications Office Maynooth 00 353 (1) 505 3017 and Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678