NCR Today

Despite new missal, we are still people of the cup


Before Mass, the priest apologized for the fans in the church on Thanksgiving morning. The roof was leaking, water had damaged the organ and the space needed to be dried. In this parish in southern Illinois, parishioners were stretching their wallets to pay for a new roof and the Boy Scouts were collecting food for those who would go without a meal in this depressed economy.

For the Vatican, though, these circumstances seem of little concern and retranslating the former Latin Mass is a top priority. New prayer books must be ordered, poor economy or not, because a few bishops want to believe that Jesus used a "chalice" rather than a simple cup, as the new translation says. These bishops believe that a better Latin translation will bring people closer to God.

When life is hard, when the rain pours, it is tempting to seek shelter in elevated stories of Lords, castles and chalices. It is tempting to believe that ours is a God of spirit and not also a God who came to earth with only a loaf of bread and a simple cup for his drink.

Ohio parishioner on new missal: 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'


My group, Simply Catholic, a Columbus, Ohio, house church of 25 members that meets twice a month, will definitely not be using the new translation. Until now, we have relied on the USCCB readings as well as "Breath of the Spirit" commentaries from Dignity USA. Since the USCCB will now be supplying Catholics with the Roman Missal revisions, we will instead be accessing our own Bibles and retaining "Breath of the Spirit."

Marie Sweeney, SC's founder, is a former pastoral staff member at St. Thomas More Newman Center operated by the Paulists at Ohio State University. She launched Simply Catholic six years ago to provide women and married priests with opportunities to serve as presiders.

Since Sweeney frequently refers to the Holy One as Ama Imma (Mother God) and the Holy Spirit as Sophia, "Consubstantial with the Father," is not one of those terms we will be using.

Here are her comments concerning the Roman Missal, which she shared in a letter to the Columbus Dispatch this past October:

No health insurance for Florida diocese under federal law


Bishop Robert Lynch said the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Fla., will no longer provide health insurance to its employees unless changes are made to the federal health care law, according to

This would mean that the diocese's 2,300 employees would be given a cash allowance to buy their own insurance.

The bishop made the statement Wednesday at an annual mass for the legal community in Tampa, according to the St. Petersburg Times, which quoted him as saying that the church must take a stand for "religious liberty and individual moral conscience."

'Game of Your Life' focuses on more than just video games


This is the second in a trilogy of blog posts by Sr. Rose Pacatte looking at some of this year's new holiday television movies. The first post, focusing on "Have a Little Faith," can be found here.

Game of Your Life
Friday, Dec. 2
NBC, 8 p.m./7 p.m. CST

NBC's latest Family Movie Night film, "Game of Your Life," is about a serious high school video gamer, Zach (Titus Makin Jr.), who receives a scholarship to an institute of digital design. There, teens form groups of writers, designers and producers and must promise to follow certain rules that involve choices, just like the games they are creating.

At its core, the movie is about character: doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

I think this film may be of interest to grown-ups who would like to know more about this digital universe and its ethical demands and challenges, as well as story-telling techniques.

Let the trees of the forest exult


"Let the trees of the forest exult before the Lord, for he comes." (Ps 96:12)

I love this Advent antiphon. It expresses the joy of creation and the confidence that God is with us. I can hear God's footsteps coming through the brush.

A mimosa tree behind my office has gone to seed. All summer, its prodigious pink flowers drew hummingbirds. Now its seed pods rattle in the wind like a heavy rain. We've picked up at least a dozen buckets of the pods from the ground -- better than conducting mimosa deforestation in the spring. It must be more than 10,000 seed pods, each containing a half-dozen seeds. I marvel at the profusion of nature, the generosity of God, even as I pluck the pods from garden beds.

Chairman Mao Zedong said, "To plant a tree is to believe in the future." I've planted a lot of trees, mostly fruit trees -- apples, plums, cherries and my favorite, apricot. Fruit trees count the freezing nights and don't begin to run their sap until their own number is up, from 40 to 100 nights. For the really cold-weather fruits like cherries and plums, global warming is a problem. Some varieties will have to move further north, not an easy feat for a tree.

Morning Briefing


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.

Maryland churchgoers say they'll 'get used to' new translation


I just left the 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass at St. Mark's Church in Hyattsville, Md. This is a wonderfully diverse congregation that reflects my neighborhood: African-American, white, Latino, Indian and south Asian. In fact, this parish offers two Masses in Spanish each weekend. There were about 200 in attendance at this Mass.

Before I entered, one parishioner, Geneva, told me that the Mass changes had been announced the previous Sunday, but no one "practiced" them. "They are not large changes," she said. "They won't make much difference."

At the beginning of Mass, a lay leader announced the changes again and referred everyone to a "prayer card" in the seats. She knew that the changes would be confusing for many. "We may be speaking in tongues for a couple of weeks," she said, "and that's OK."

"Speak in tongues" they did. Old and new responses were often blended. Just before Communion, the prayer was totally garbled.

In his homily, the deacon announced that he was "excited" about the changes. The reason? They would force people away from ingrained habits and make them think about what they are saying.

Los Angeles parish quietly accepts new missal translation


The new Mass entered our parish in Los Angeles with a whisper instead of a bang. That's because no one was sure of the words.

At those key parts of the changed liturgy, our usually outspoken congregation turned into a small-decibel muddle. A few old phrases ("And also with you") competed with the new, as people lowered their voices, stared at their missals and focused on once-familiar phrases now punctuated with a few alien words (eg. consubstantial).

But it wasn't that big of a deal. After Mass, few people remarked on it at all, and those who did approached the topic with a shrug: The changes are what the changes are, they said, but seemed unnecessary overall.

Some things read better, many others were clunkier, still others were more accurate but less poetic. ("Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again" is now the not-as-flowing-though-theologically-stricter "We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.")

New missal inspires cacophony at University of Maryland church


All the chairs at Mass this Sunday at the University of Maryland's Catholic Center had the pamphlets with the new translation of the missal, published by Liturgical Training Publications. Before the service began, people thumbed through the leaflets, reading the parts of the Mass.

Is this a good thing? After all, sometimes when something becomes rote, it loses its sense of participation. On the other hand, I called to mind a conversation with a young Greek Orthodox girl. She was asked when she first took communion and she replied, "I have always had communion." That, too, spoke of a sense of participation.

The chapel only had about a third of its normal contingent because of the Thanksgiving holiday, and there was no choir. The priest began by asking if everyone had their "cheat sheets" and said he had started the Mass a little late so that everyone would have time to read through the pamphlet. Then he began, "In the name of the Father ..."


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June 16-29, 2017