At Chicago parish, some annoyed, others OK with new missal

At St. Gertrude Parish in Chicago, parishioners stumbled along earnestly, guided by handy "cheat sheet" cards in the pews. At the 10 a.m. "family Mass," the congregation read the creed perfectly, but reverted to "And also with you" during the Eucharistic prayer.

Although the parish had held an informational workshop about the changes last month, most at Mass were unaware of the controversies around the proposed changes. A few wondered why they hadn't fixed "for us men ..." in the creed while they were at it.

Fr. Dominic Grassi, St. Gertrude's pastor, mentioned the changes at the beginning of Mass and again during the announcements, saying he hoped they wouldn't be a hindrance and would help the parish pray together. Later, in an interview, he admitted it took some getting used to.

"I grew up in an Italian family," he said, explaining that there was plenty of fighting among the children. "But when we got to the dinner table, we knew to stop. It wasn't the place. It's the same with this."

But some at the North Side parish known for inclusion were annoyed with the changes.

We say: Charlottesville reveals the weeping wound of racism. What do we, the American Catholic faith community, do next? Read the editorial.

Ginger Carney didn't like "chalice' instead of "cup" in the Eucharistic Prayer or "consubstantiation" in the creed. "Shouldn't we be professing our faith in relatable words, instead of in a theological discourse?" she asked. "Aren't we trying to speak from our heart? God doesn't need to hear a theological treatise."

"We could probably have done better than this," said St. Gertrude parishioner Ann P. White, who has an interest in language and a master's degree in applied linguistics.

She discounts the argument that the translation should adhere more closely to the Latin.

"Latin has its beauty in its own boundaries, and I will be the first to sing to that. But any linguist knows that to make one language clone another simply never gets to its ultimate destination: the symphony of cognitive idea, poetic interpretation and mystical interpretation," she said.

"I think the English-speaking world could have benefited from the depths of its own linguistic history of verbiage and phrasing," White added. "We have an expanded poetic repertoire of English, from Welsh to Australian English to U.S. East Coast and Appalachian, Midwestern and across-the-plains to the West Coast."

Others took a more laid-back approach to the changes. Jane Elwood, a 40-year parishioner of St. Gertrude, was more interested in getting an ornament from the parish "giving tree." She remembers the change to the vernacular back in her native Scotland.

"It'll just take a while for everyone to get used to it," she said.

Stories on the new Roman missal translation

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg

Show comments

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.