This Sunday marks the First Sunday of Advent and the first step for members of the New Zealand Catholic Church towards adopting a new English translation of the Roman Mass.
On Sunday Catholics around the country will pray and sing the words of the revised English translation of the People’s Parts of the Mass. It is hoped that the full English text of the Roman Missal will be approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments for use in New Zealand Churches at Pentecost, 2011.
In a letter sent to parishes earlier this year, the New Zealand Catholic Bishops said, “It is fitting that this new and significant unfolding of the prayer life of our Church begins with the Season of Advent, in the company of Mary, the Mother of God. For God will surely make present among us a new birth in our liturgical life and grace us in the weeks and months ahead with a new way of Becoming One Body, One Spirit in Christ”.
The letter appeared in a booklet given to Catholics in July, called “New Words. Deeper Meaning. Same Mass”.
In this booklet the New Zealand Catholic bishops said that while it is rare for ritual language to change, they are convinced that by paying close attention to both the demands and the delights of the new texts, we will inevitably be drawn more fully into the beauty of liturgical prayer.
The new translations of the following parts of the Mass will be introduced this Sunday:
• the greetings and responses at the beginning of Mass.
• the texts of the Penitential Act.
• the Gloria.
• the Creed.
• the prayers and responses during the Liturgy of the Word.
• all the dialogues between the Priest and the Assembly during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
• the Holy, Holy.
• the Memorial Acclamations.
• the Doxology.
• all the prayers and responses of the Priest, Deacon and Assembly from the Communion Rite to the Concluding Rites.
• those gestures and postures required by the accompanying rubrics and/or the relevant sections of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
There will be two musical settings offered for the Mass: the setting of the Missal chants and a new composition by Douglas Mews.
The current Propers of the Mass, the Prefaces and the Eucharistic Prayers as provided for in the present Missal will still be in force until such time as the complete New Zealand edition of the Roman Missal can be published. In the meantime, the bishops recommend that priests use either the present Missal or the current CPC “Prayers of the Mass”.