New Words…Same Mass…Deeper Meaning

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Later this year, on the First Sunday of Advent 2011, Christ the King and every Catholic Church in the English-speaking world will be celebrating Mass using a new translation. This means that some of the words we use during Mass will change. The first, most logical question is….Why do the words need changing?

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The words of the Mass, some of which were found in ancient roman manuscripts dating from about 390 AD, have been prayed in Latin for centuries in all churches worldwide. As a result of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) these texts were translated into the common languages of the given countries of the Universal Church. Our current translation comes to us from 1973 and there were even other prior English translations as the reforms of Vatican II were implemented. Work on the upcoming revised translation began more than 15 years ago.

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It is important to understand that this revision is not a correction of our current liturgical practices, nor is it any sort of commentary on changes that have been made in the past. It is more of an evolution in the way we have come to understand the original Latin sources. The new texts correspond more closely to the words and meaning of the Latin while, at the same time, restore some of the rich imagery inherent in the original texts. It should be noted that these changes only apply to the prayer texts of the Mass and not to the scriptural readings that are proclaimed each week.

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This new translation will certainly have an impact on all of us because it affects the words we say and sing during our Eucharistic celebrations. But, as we prepare for the revised translation, we can be confident in the knowledge that the Eucharist we will celebrate stands in continuity with the Eucharist that we have celebrated for centuries – and that these new words and songs will enhance our worship of God, deepen our connection to the sacred mysteries, and bring us to a closer communion with Catholics throughout the world.

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Over the next several months there will be various resources in the form of online and print publications and bulletin announcements that will be made available to the Christ the King parish family. In addition, pamphlets are available in the brochure racks leading to the Gathering Space. These opportunities will certainly help deepen our understanding of the upcoming changes, but can also enhance our involvement and connection to our weekly Eucharistic celebrations.

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