New Mass Translation: What does the Mass mean for us?


This is our last post on CTS’s two guides to the new translation of the Mass. Here are the introductions of the two booklets, reminding us why the translation has happened, and why the Mass is so vital.

Dom Cuthbert Johnson, OSB explains in Understanding the Roman Missal – the New Translation:

The Church in Britain and the whole English-speaking world has a new translation of the Latin Roman Missal as published in 2002 by Blessed Pope John Paul II. This edition of the Missal contains the additional texts approved by the Holy See during the previous thirty-five years. There are no changes in the Order of the celebration of Mass.

Following the guidelines given by the Holy See in the Instruction entitled Liturgiam authenticam the translators have produced a text which has dignity, beauty and doctrinal precision in a style suitable for Divine Worship. The translation has been approved by the Bishops of the English-speaking countries of the world.

This brief introduction to the prayers of the Missal is designed to be more prayerful than technical. Excellent works of catechesis have been prepared by the various Bishops Conferences of the English-speaking world which will help make the introduction of the Missal be an occasion for “a renewal and a deepening of Eucharistic devotion all over the English-speaking world”. (Pope Benedict XVI).

Mgr Bruce Harbert describes how the Mass is the fulfilment of Christ’s promises. In Companion to the Order of Mass he writes:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.

These are the last words that Our Lord spoke on earth to his disciples, as reported by the Gospel of Matthew. We come to Mass to obey one of his commands, that is, to take bread and wine in his memory, as he commanded at the Last Supper, ‘Do this in remembrance of me’. And when we come, he fulfils in a particular way his final promise to be with us always, as bread and wine are transformed into his Body and Blood for us to eat and drink. Because of this link of continuity between Our Lord’s farewell and our own eucharistic celebration, it is appropriate that the priest’s opening words are taken from the last words of Jesus. We can imagine a film in which Jesus and his disciples are on the mountain of the Ascension, and as he speaks he fades from view, to be replaced on the screen by a priest in Mass vestments saying In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Both are available from the CTS website from June priced £1.95.

Of related interest:

Introductory Missal – An extract of the full Altar Missal, for daily use during the introductory period from September to the first Sunday of Advent 2011.
Understanding the Roman Missal – the New Translation – The Church, not only in Britain but throughout the whole English-speaking world, now has a new edition of the Roman Missal. This presentation and explanation of the new translation is accompanied by a series of liturgical and spiritual reflections.
New translation of the Roman Missal – Understanding the changes –This easy-to-read leaflet considers the biblical and liturgical character of the new translation and the benefits it brings.

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