Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review of the Roman Missal Workshop

Last Thursday and Friday, Cincinnati hosted the first of 22 planned workshops on the implementation of the translations of the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal. Staffed by the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship and Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Committees, there is always some hesitancy in attending these workshops: what is the slant of the presenters? is there anything new? and of course, the main question: WHEN?????

(If you look at my Twitter Feed you will find some of the links, posted below. This one was my favorite.)

I have to admit that I was plesantly surprised and enjoyed the workshop, as Msgr. Schirman (I think is how he spells his name, exec director of BCDW) lead most of the sessions.

By Session:

#1: A History Lesson. When working with teens, if you do something three times, 'We've ALWAYS done it this way!!!' Well, when it comes to the Mass, we haven't. It is important to stress that the Mass that we pray is found, originally, in Latin, not English. In the development of vernacular texts, primarily in non-IndoEuropean families and smaller language family sets, there was difficulty in finding translators from Latin into whatever language. Instead, they used the English translation. Well, let's just say that didn't work out so well. Every translation is to obscure the text, and to take it two or three steps from the original..... Ever play the Telephone Game around a campfire? This was a good session giving the background and helped concretize the importance of a good translation.

#2: Overview of the Revised Roman Missal. Monsignor walked us through the process of how and why certain translations were chosen, given us a quick, down and dirty, lesson in Latin along the way. Also noting that the guiding principals for translation were changed, now the Latin syntax takes a priority over the vernacular syntax, so we get sometimes awkward phrasing in English which will take some time to truly understand. Another guiding point: everything (as much as possible) that is in the Latin should be present in the vernacular. Admittedly, (especially if you read Fr. Z's blog) the current English prayers are weak (not universally), and the updates should be good.

#3: Music in the New Missal: simply, chant tones will be throughout, including settings for the readings and Gospel, all the dialogues, etc. Two basic tones will be included: Simple and Solemn. I know this will come back to bite me, but the Solemn Tone seems simpler than the Simple Tone, huh? (It's based on the Latin settings.) Again, the Latin priority comes across, as the tones in English will have a similar feel and tone to the Latin tones, think, for example, of the Latin Agnus Dei chant and how easy it is to switch that over to the English setting. This is something that I, in particular, am looking forward to. To have an English and Latin setting of all the Mass parts that people should readily know will be very advantageous, I think.

#4: Leading change. This was admittedly the weakest session of the workshop, and we had quite a game of Buzz Word Bingo going on. Ok, yes, be positive, ok, yes, it is a 'transition', ok, yes, how we lead our people through this will have a great impact, I get it. 45 minutes on this: too much.

#5: Roman Missal Implementation: this was perhaps the most useful of sessions, for the resources given out were of particular importance to help guide this whole process. 'They' have asked for a year after the recognitio from Rome, and there is a suggested schedule starting this whole shebang at least a year out, so again, Advent 2011 looks like the most likely date of implementation, but don't quote me on that, just yet.

Ok, resources:

Roman Missal page from the USCCB

Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ out of Leeds, UK

FDLC has a 'Parish Kit' for sale

Monsignor read extensively from LTP's 'Understanding the Revised Mass Texts'

I just received in the mail a copy of Jeff Pinyan's 'Praying the Mass; The Prayers of the People' which looks like it explains some of the reasons behind the changes (and with your spirit) I'm gonna delve into this the next few days.

I think that's all, and remember: If you think it is going to be hard on the laity, it's going to be worse on the preists!


John F. Kennedy said...

Sounds like a helpful workshop. I'm looking forward to the changes, especially the music.

BTW, was the workshop just for priests? How was the attendance?


Father Schnippel said...


It was a workshop for priests and diocesan employees, and not just for Cincinnati, but regionally. One priest at my table was from Austin, Texas.

Hard to tell on overall size, maybe 350-400?

Fr. Erik Richtsteig said...

Thanks for the review. I hope the one out here will be as good. (BTW, love the term "Buzz Word Bingo".)

Theresa said...

Thank you for the review, Father.

Does the fact that chant tones will be provided indicate that we will be kind of "there"? I was interested to find that the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei are already in our GIA Gather hymnal, in Latin, with the same traditional ICEL settings you linked to in an earlier post. I think that teaching people the Latin for "the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass that pertain to them" (per Sacrosanctum Concilium, #54)even prior to the roll out of the new English translation, might help with learning the new English texts. And seeing the consistency between the Latin and the English will provide the missing link between our tradition in Latin and the desire for people to pray the Mass in English. I couldn't agree more that having Latin and English settings for the Mass parts would be great!
I am personally very excited about the changes. We have printed out the changes to the people's responses (http://www.usccb.org/romanmissal/samples-people.shtml) and we are learning them with our family. There really is not much to it for our part, we should be ready by 2011 (How long, O Lord, must we wait?!). We'll be praying for the priests; your part looks a bit more challenging!

Theresa said...

Oops, I meant to ask:
Does the fact that the chant tones will be provided indicate that we will be expected to use them, or will they just kind of be "there"?

Rev. Michael G said...

BTW, Fr. Schnippel, thanks for this synopsis of the workshop you attended. Down here in houston we're looking at various materials & ways to implement the Revised English-language Roman Missal - including attending one of these regional workshops.

This helps in seeing the 'take homes' that this workshop was able to provide.

Father Schnippel said...

Fr. Michael G,

It really was a worthwhile experience, especially the section which discussed the 'hows and whys' of the translation process. Simply, yes it could have been a smoother english translation, yet the Letin is the normative text and that is important.

I really would suggest attending the workshop.

Plus, admittedly, the 'session 4 on change', if you are a process person, you will enjoy it immensely. I'm not, so it was torture for me.