With the new translation of the Roman Missal now in use throughout the Archdiocese of Toronto, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief that yes, that day has come and the sun did come up the next morning. In fact, initial reaction from many anecdotal conversations is that things went much smoother than anticipated.
In this way, we tip our hat to the clergy and lay staff of the Archdiocese in welcoming the new translation and preparing accordingly for its arrival. Bear in mind, for many of our priests this past weekend would have been like their first Mass all over again as the 2nd edition was the only one they ever celebrated. So if you felt a little awkward responding, "and with your spirit", just imagine what it was like for a priest to have to navigate through a huge number of changes.
Add to all of this, extremely tight deadlines on the delivery of the new Roman Missal, with some parishes receiving their orders from Ottawa just on Friday with a handful of others making other heroic efforts to make it happen.
Most importantly, we're going to start focusing on what we say and actually reflect on the words recited during the Eucharistic celebration. Whether you love the new translation or find some of the terminology awkward, we're talking about it. That's good news.
At the Cathedral Sunday, the Archbishop had the opportunity to brief the congregation at the start of Mass on the historic day in church history and talk a little about the changes, why they're being implemented and the prayer that this will bring us to a greater appreciation of the celebration of the Eucharist. All in all, it went very well, with parishioners equipped with pew cards and most people catching on to the new translation. Yes, there were a few "and also with you's" lurking in the distance but that's to be expected.
We had good media coverage as well - not a surprise that many of the stories found those who "liked" the new translation and those who didn't. Point counterpoint is the basis for most media stories but they were all done respectfully and I was actually surprised with the amount of secular interest on the story that would be most confusing for a non-Catholic reporter to tackle (that was the case with those I met on Sunday), including one camera operator who first went to the United Church Cathedral and would have certainly found a very different translation in use there.
I've heard of a few parishes where there were some mea culpas from clergy who reverted back to a 2nd edition reference - it shows we're all human. And another church where father, having heard the congregants use one of the "old" responses, smile and ask the congregation, "why don't we try that one again?'
Isn't this what a family does? We walk together and help each other when we stumble, we come together in unity, in prayer and mutual support.
If you feel so inclined, feel free to share your "first weekend" impressions in the comments section. Whether you're clergy or congregant, would be great to get your thoughts. You don't need to name your parish or region - remember though, in all things charity.
Thanks to all who have worked so hard to welcome the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal. As in all things in life we can't forget: prayer, patience and a sense of humour. We made it through week one:) And now the real heavy lifting begins...