This Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent, Catholic Churches in English-speaking countries will begin to use the New Roman Missal. This impending change in the translation of the prayers at Mass has received much attention and the efforts to prepare the faithful have been fairly comprehensive. Websites, articles, books and trainings have been numerous and easily available to priests, lay leaders, and the laity.
Last spring I attended one such training session outside of my diocese. It was, overall, fairly informative and hope-filled…. until one speaker offered some concern about the new words that would be recited by the faithful. The presenter opined that phrases like “through my fault, through my fault, through my own grievous fault” and the words “incarnation” and “consubstantial” were, and I quote, “fraught with danger.”
I am certain that this individual was well-intentioned and concerned that all those who are responsible for teaching the faith consider the importance of catechizing our children properly about the changes, but I still found the choice of words to be inconsistent with what should be seen as a blessed opportunity to teach or re-teach about the Mass and the Eucharist. In fact this is a hope-filled opportunity to move into a new era of teaching about the beauty of the Mass and the Eucharist — “the source and summit of the Christian life.”
In many ways our children and youth will be models of embracing these changes and appreciating the beauty of the words that will be heard, recited and sung. At a recent retreat my office facilitated, the nearly 300 youth and young adults who were gathered gave a standing ovation after two of our diocesan priests chanted the “Gloria.” Rather than feeling worried about the “danger” that is supposedly lurking behind the “new” words, we should focus on simply getting our children and young people to Mass so that they can experience the richness of our faith and be nourished by the Word of God and Jesus’ Body and Blood.
It is my hope that parishes (and parents) will embrace this opportunity with passion and conviction. It is my hope that they offer ample opportunities in the months and years ahead, for all age groups, to help them grow in their knowledge and experience of the Mass. It is my hope that through these efforts a new generation of saints will fall in love with the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Because in the end not teaching about the Mass and Eucharist is what is truly “fraught with danger.”