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Basics of the Revised Roman Missal

By Fr. Tom Hagendorf

The Revised Roman Missal will dramatically change the way we offer Mass and celebrate other sacraments.

This is the first in a series of homilies I will be giving so that all of us are well informed and prepared when the implementation takes place next Advent.

On the table are our Liturgical Books. Many of you have probably never seen the insides of them. They will be on display here for a number of weeks for you to look through them

The first book is the Roman Missal, also called The Sacramentary or Pope Paul VI Missal. This book contains all the prayers, music settings, Eucharistic prayers, Sacraments, etc that we use when we celebrate the Mass and Sacraments. I use a smaller version with smaller print when I say Mass.

The second book is the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 4th edition, 27 March, 1975 or the 1975 GIRM. This is essentially the book of directions for celebrating the Mass and Sacraments. It is extremely detailed and specific. These instructions also appear in the text of the Mass and are printed in red ink and are known by the Latin word “rubric” which means red.

Also included in this text is:
* An appendix for the United States
* An appendix for Masses with Children
* Norms for the Liturgical Year
* General Roman Calendar
* Saints feasts days, etc.
* Proper of the Seasons
* Order of the Mass
* Eucharistic Prayers
* Blessings
* Proper of the Saints
* Ritual Masses
* Masses and Prayers for Various Occasions
* Masses for the Dead

The Missal of Paul VI has been in use since 1975.

In the Year 2000, Pope John Paul II issued the Third Edition of the Roman Missal that we will begin using the first Sunday of Advent. It was, of course, in Latin. And so various language groups began translating the Latin texts into the respective vernacular languages. In the translation of prayers from Latin to English the “principles of translation” affect the interpretation of the meaning.

For example, the Paul VI Missal the principle used was DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCE. This approach to translation attempts to convey the overall meaning of the original Latin text, rather than give a word by word translation.

In the new English edition of the Roman Missal a different principle of translation was used, FORMAL EQUIVALENCE. This approach uses a word by word translation, and is
meant to be a better translation of the original Latin source text.

For example:
DOMINUS VOBISCUM is translated as "The Lord be with You" using both the formal and dynamic method.

ET CUM SPIRITI TU TUO is translated as "And also with you" using the dynamic method. But the formal equivalence method translates the phrase as "And with your Spirit."

The result of this shift is that we will see a lot of changes in how we will pray. On the table is a 19 page document which shows the present text that we use and next to it the new text. There is also a copy of a proposed pew insert which will probably be necessary for the first year for both you and me to use when we celebrate Mass.

Finally, with the publication of the Roman Missal, third edition came a new General Instruction of the Roman Missal, also known as GIRM. Three years ago we began instituting the changes required by the “NEW” GIRM. At a recent meeting of priests with Bishop Ricken, the Bishop gave us 11 pages of items that he wanted implemented, from GIRM, before Advent of this year. I am happy to report that except for about 3 or 4 items, we are in conformity with all his requests.

Some of the items on his list are:
* Chalices and sacred vessels must be of precious materials
* All churches must have kneelers
* Kneel during Eucharistic prayer
* Blessed Sacrament be in the main body of the church
* Presider’s chair in the Sanctuary facing the people

This is the beginning of our preparation of these changes, and you'll learn more about these changes in the coming months through my homilies.

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