NCR Today

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 ..."

NCR Gathers At the Table


Subscribers to the newspaper will be familiar with NCR’s At the Table special section, which appears in the Nov. 25-Dec. 8 issue. This section focuses on food and drink, its production, consumption and role in celebration and community. The 2010 At the Table issue won an award from the Catholic Press Association for the best special supplement. In this year’s issue, we include recipes from the kitchens of NCR staff.

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Maggie Daley hailed as Chicago's 'Mother Superior'


Margaret Daley, always known as "Maggie," died Thanksgiving Day and was buried Monday after a packed funeral Mass at Old St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Chicago. She was very much a behind-the-scenes wife to former Mayor Richard M. Daley for almost 40 years. Yet her achievements were many in education, culture and the arts.

Her friendliness and cheerful smile also went a long way to soften the harder image of the mayor, who was invariably the subject of controversy as he held sway over City Hall and the direction of the city itself for 22 years. She taught by the way she lived, said Fr. Jack Wall, longtime friend of the family.

Read the full story here.

California parish prepares for new missal with weeks of explanation


On Sunday, I went to my sister's parish, a historic church in northern California that dates back 100 years and serves about 7,500 rural families. According to the parish website, 95 percent of the parish is white, 61 percent consists of married couples and 13 percent of the parish is 65 years old or older. The parish also shares a school with a neighboring parish five miles away.

I only attend Mass at this church when I visit once a year at Thanksgiving, so I don't know anyone personally except my sister who attends Mass at various churches -- when she goes.

The ushers greeting people at the doors of the church were warm and welcoming.

New missal challenge not wholly unaccepted at St. Louis basilica


At the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, no one in the congregation of 200-plus worshipers at noon Mass seemed to trip over "consubstantial with the Father" and other pieces of new language in the revised Roman Missal. But neither does the language "roll off the tongue," said Joe Brown, 50, an engineer at Anheuser-Busch.

"I don't know yet," he said of the newly translated text changed to more closely reflect the Latin. "It's different."

Van Moomjian, 67, a former English Benedictine brother from St. Louis Priory, said he believes the changes are long overdue, and that earlier translations gave churches too much latitude in adapting them for their use. He said he likes that the new Missal reverts more closely to the original Latin, but finds it "fragmented and jumpy."

"It will need some tweaking," he said.

The Rev. Monsignor Joseph Pins, who concelebrated the noon Mass on the first Sunday of Advent, congratulated the congregation for making a good effort, and asked for their patience, saying that the change was a challenge for older priests such as himself.

New missal not the end-all, be-all in Denver


I went to Mass on Nov. 28 at a parish in suburban Denver, which by local standards would be considered a fairly meat-and-potatoes place -- neither liberal nor conservative, basically nonaligned when it comes to most matters of church politics.

There, the introduction of the new missal on Sunday amounted to a non-event. People followed along and said their parts, without any ferment. There was some chuckling over stumbles at unfamiliar parts, but in general, there was neither overt resistance nor palpable enthusiasm -- simply people trying to adjust.

Chatting briefly with Mass-goers afterwards, I heard several versions of what I would label the "common sense" perspective on liturgical matters. In different ways, most people -- whatever they thought of the new language -- said that the things that really matter in shaping the quality of their liturgical experience boil down to three points: How good the preaching is, how good the music is and how welcoming the community seems.

Review of new missal mixed in St. Louis parishes


My best friend in kindergarten was named Grail and her older sister was named Chalice. My own mother, Genevieve, was quite clear that I had been named for the Blessed Virgin and her mother, Ann. It seems to me that the bishops are reaching back to that narrow period of piety in the 1940s and '50s in their effort to reinvigorate the faithful.

I interviewed Dominican and Loretto sisters who attend Mass at a retirement community. The sacristan there is worried that the older priests who celebrate Mass will have trouble carrying the new book, sent to all the churches and chapels from the chancery.

The review was mixed. One sister said, "I like very much the words at the consecration and at the end. It is very prayerful."

Another said, "I kind of like it. There are not that many changes. So far I don't mind."

And, "It worked of us. It's not a necessity."

A couple said, "I come out with the wrong words," "It's not that much of a change for me." "I still get lost." "It's too soon to have an opinion." "Sometimes I turn these things off." "The priest's diligence in using the right phrases made me more diligent."


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June 16-29, 2017