Sunday, November 27, 2011

music demands attention: Changes in Catholic Mass begin this weekend

photo ofmusic - Changes in Catholic Mass begin this weekend

Changes in Catholic Mass begin this weekend

During a noontime Mass recently at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church in downtown Rochester, the Rev. Robert J. Kennedy gave congregants the traditional Sign of Peace.

"The peace of the Lord be with you always," he said. As they have in the Catholic Church for four decades, congregants responded with, "And also with you."

But starting with evening Masses today, the congregants' response instead will be, "And with your spirit."

The change, which coincides with the first Sunday of Advent, is just one part of a long-awaited overhaul of the English-speaking version of the Roman Missal the text of prayers and instructions for celebration of the Mass.

The changes in the missal, the first since 1973, will affect the prayers offered by priests, the response by congregants and the lyrics of music for English-speaking Catholics throughout the world.

For example, the present recitation of the Nicene Creed the profession of faith includes the words that Jesus Christ is "one in being with the Father."

The new phrasing proclaims that Christ is "consubstantial with the Father," which means that Christ and God the Father are of the same essence.

Kennedy, who is chair of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, conceded that the new wording of the Nicene Creed sounds awkward.

"That will be the greatest challenge for everybody," he said.

But he said the changes, which don't affect church dogma or teachings, are a more faithful translation of the official Latin text, much of which is based on Scripture.

Masses were celebrated in that language until 1968, when the language shifted to the vernacular and other changes were made.

"There's been an effort since the Mass came into English, back in the late '60s, to find a worthy translation from the Latin text," Kennedy said.

"The original translation that took place was done in a matter of months, rather quickly. There were concerns on a variety of fronts about the accuracy of the translation and whether it caught the beauty and the theology of the Latin translation.

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