- What is the Roman Missal?
All of the prayers we use during our Liturgy come from the Roman Missal (known as the Missale Romanum). A missal is the book which contains not only the prayers we use, but the rubrics, or directions for the priest, readings and chants. It is 'Roman' because it comes from the Church in Rome and is used by what are called Roman Rite Catholics around the world. This book is issued by the Vatican in Latin and translated into the vernacular, or the language of the people.
- What is changing?
Right away, you will notice changes to the people's responses during the Liturgy. The most notable change will come in the beginning of Mass, and continue throughout, when the priest (or deacon) says, "The Lord be with you." Our response will now be, "And with your spirit." There will also be changes, some very slight, in the other prayers we say, such as the Gloria, the Creed, and our acclamations.
- Why are the prayers changing?
In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II promulgated a third edition of the Missale Romanum and, from this Latin text, the new English version has been issued. In the second edition, translations were done using the principles of 'dynamic equivalence.' This method emphasized the overall meaning of the original text rather than a word-for-word translation. The translation for the third edition of the Roman Missal was completed according to the principles of 'formal equivalence.' This method demanded an exact translation of every word in the original Latin text. Our Mass is the same. There are new words, but many will find that they provide a deeper meaning to our celebration.
- Can we start using the new prayers at Mass before November 27?
No. The US Bishops have chosen the First Sunday of Advent, 2011 (November 27) as the starting date for the new translation. You may practice them before Mass or at other gatherings at any time, but they may not be used during the Mass until we all pray them together on that first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year.
- What else is new?
There are additional votive Masses and Masses for the Blessed Virgin Mary, and additional Masses for various occasions. There will be Masses for the many new saints canonized during the time of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. There will be additional prefaces, new prayers and blessings, and emendations to the rubrics.