Posted by: liturgicalyear | November 8, 2011

Getting yourself and your CCD students ready for the new translation of the Mass

Most of us are probably aware of the fact that a new translation of the Mass has been completed and will roll out for use in the US at the beginning of the new liturgical year on the first Sunday of Advent, which is a mere 3 Sundays away, November 27.

I was in England in September, where the new translation has been in use for a short time.  It was actually kind of cool.  Many of the prayers that I know by heart were slightly different, so I had to pay attention in a different way.  I must say, it challenged me not to trip over the words.

I thought it timely to put forth some ideas about lesson plans for CCD students, being that the implementation is just around the corner.  I begin by pointing you to resources to help you bring yourself up to speed on the changes.

In this post, we’ll look at some websites you can use to educate yourself.  In my next post, I’ll show you a lapbook that I put together to help your students delve into the changes.

In addition to teaching about the changes we await, this is a great opportunity to teach both children and adults about the Mass itself.  The liturgical celbration of the Mass is a defining characteristic of Catholics.  It is our highest form of prayer and praise. It is worship.  Before digging into questions about the whys and whats of the new changes, however, some ground work needs to be laid.

First and foremost, it is extremely important to distinguish for your students, the difference between Sacred Tradition, with a capital “T”, and tradition, with a small “t”.  Many Catholics are fuzzy on this concept of why some things change and some things never will.  Sacred Tradition, or dogma, will not change.  Other traditions, like fasting from meat throughout Lent or praying the Saint Michael prayer at the end of Mass can.

Sacred Tradition is the Truth of the faith handed down to us from the apostles, indeed the very revelation of God.  Tradition with a small “t” refers to other aspects of the expression of the Faith – use of candles, the altar rail, practice of certain devotions, recognition of certain feast days within the Roman calendar.  We know from experience, that small “t” traditions have changed over time.  The big “T’ stuff doesn’t change – Jesus is the son of God; He is present body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist; He died and rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.  Simply reciting the Creed articulates the 12 tenets of our faith.  (For an excellent article on the difference between Tradition and tradition, read this article by Mark Shea.)

After laying the the ground work, delve into the specifics.  For students, the specifics often come in the form of questions.  One of the most obvious questions asked will be, “Why is the Church doing this?”  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have provided terrific information and resources on their website:

Why was there a need for a new translation?

The Missale Romanum (Roman Missal), the ritual text for the celebration of the Mass, was promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as the  definitive text of the reformed liturgy of the Second Vatican Council. That Latin text, the editio typica (typical edition), was translated into  various languages for use around the world; the English edition was publishedin the United States in 1973. The Holy See issued a revised text, the editio typica altera, in 1975. Pope John Paul II promulgated the third edition (editio typica tertia) of the Missale Romanum during the Jubilee Year in 2000. Among other things, the third edition contains prayers for the celebration of recently canonized saints, additional prefaces  for the Eucharistic Prayers, additional Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Intentions, and some updated and revised rubrics (instructions) for the celebration of the Mass. To aid the process of translation of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued Liturgiam Authenticam, in 2001, an Instruction on the vernacular translation of the Roman Liturgy which outlines the principles and rules for translation. In 2007, the Congregation for Divine Worship issued  the Ratio Translationis for the English Language, which outlined the specific rules for translation in English.

The website provides several excellent examples of notable changes, including this one:


Perhaps the most common dialogue in the Liturgy of the Roman Rite consists of the greeting :

    • Dominus vobiscum
    • et cum spiritu tuo

Since 1970, this has been translated as:

    • The Lord be with you.
    • And also with you.

As a part of the revised translation of the Roman
Missal, now taking place, the translation of this dialogue has been revised, to

    • The Lord be with you.
    • And with your spirit.

“And with your spirit” simply translates most directly from the original Latin.  It is really the earlier translation which lacked.

Many more questions follow.  Again, from the USCCB website, here are links to the FAQ:

I encourage you to poke around the website.  Lots of good explanations and resources are at your fingertips for your learning and those of your students.  There are liturgy guides for lectors and Eucharistic ministers and suggestions for further reading. The USCCB has done a great job to inform us.  All we have to do is give it some time and prayerful attention.  They’ve also provided a range of materials to help teach us about the changes including videos, multimedia presentations audio recordings for music, and even a powerpoint presentation.

Even if you don’t teach CCD in your parish or teach your children at home, educating yourself about what’s coming up in this new liturgical year will make your worship experience fuller and richer.  You’ll also be equipped to answer questions that others may have which will be a simple way to build His kingdom here on earth.

Holy Souls in Purgatory, pray for us!  Anne


  1. […] my last post, we looked at some of the aspects of the new translation of the Roman Missal, better known as the […]

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