By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor
KANSAS CITY — Fear not the new English translation of the Mass, Father Ken Riley told more than 50 of his St. Charles Borromeo parishioners who showed up on a cold and rainy night Nov. 2 to go over the changes.
“I’m not really worried about our community of faith and the new translation,” Father Riley said. “You’ll mess up, but I’ll mess up more than you will. I have a lot more changes.”
They went through all the changes that the worshipping community will say beginning with weekend Masses for the First Sunday of Advent — Nov. 26 and 27.
• “And with your spirit” as spoken in Mass in virtually all other languages as the response to “The Lord be with you,” instead of “And also with you.”
• “ . . . consubstantial with the Father,” instead of “one in being with the Father” in the Nicene Creed.
• “We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we give you thanks for your great glory” in the Gloria instead of “We worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.”
Father Riley also passed out new Mass cards, provided by the Diocesan Office of Sacred Worship, with all the changes in it, and told the participants at the workshop that what might seem strange and unusual now will quickly become normal.
“You are going to know this because you’re here,” he joked. “So be kind to your neighbor who messes up.”
Father Riley also explained that not only is the new English translation a more literal, direct translation from the Latin norms of the new Roman Missal, Third Edition, it is also a more direct reference to the scores of Biblical verses from which the Mass has always drawn.
In fact, he said, if anyone ever hears that the Roman Catholic faith isn’t Bible-based, they can refer to Father Riley’s handwritten notes on the edges of copies of the translation that he distributed.
“Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” — from Sirach, Chapter 20.
“. . . was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man” — taken from Galatians 4:4, Matthew 1:18-20, and Luke 24:39.
“I look forward to the resurrection of the dead” — 2 Maccabees 12:43 and Romans 6:5.
But Father Riley did admit that “consubstantial” isn’t in the Bible. In fact, it was a Latin word “consubstantio” coined by Council of Nicea, who wrote the Creed, to express the dogma of Christ’s divinity and humanity against double-barrelled heresies that denied Christ was truly God on one hand, and denied he was truly man on the other.
“The early councils of the church fought over this,” he said. “Then the church formed its own vocabulary to express this truth, and this is part of that vocabulary.”
Father Riley said the new translation underscores language that is meant to be a dialogue not just between priest and the faithful, but also between the Old and New Testament, and between the community and universal church, tying them together at the pinnacle of Catholic worship, the sacrifice of the Mass.
That is why the robust participation of the congregation is essential, Father Riley said, even if at first it is not perfect.
And if ever there was a time to be robust during the Mass, Father Riley said it is at the Preface Acclimation: “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”
“Even if you are a non-singer and sing nothing else, the ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ should be what you are singing,” Father Riley said.
“It is a universal hymn to God. It affirms to us the connection between the Old Testament and the New Testament,” he said. “It is the chorus of salvation.”
And another change that will not go unnoticed.
“Lord I am not worthy to receive you” just before Communion will be “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof.”
Father Riley said those words are taken straight from Matthew 8:8, when a Roman centurion asks Jesus to heal his daughter, not by his direct touch, but “only say the word.”
Father Riley also told the participants that this new translation will be the norm throughout the English-speaking Catholic world, not just in the United States, and can’t be changed in any parish or diocese.
“People have a right to celebrate the church’s liturgy as the church gives it,” he said. “Not even Bishop (Robert W.) Finn can’t go against the book and say, ‘These six parishes in my diocese don’t have to do this.’ This is a world-wide change.”
But the local pastor does have some discretion about how much of the Mass can be spoken, and how much will be sung.
St. Charles Borromeo Parish need not worry about that either, he said.
“You have a reputation of being a singing community,” Father Riley said. “So we will sing more than other parishes.”