Preparing the Way for the Roman Missal 3rd Edition, Part 1: Introduction


When Pope Benedict XVI received a hardbound copy of the recently approved English translation of the Roman Missal from members of the Vox Clara Committee on April 28, 2010 he said, “Soon the fruits of your labors will be made available to English-speaking congregations everywhere. Through these sacred texts and the actions that accompany them, Christ will be made present and active in the midst of His people.”

In addition to striking a clearly optimistic tone, the Holy Father cautioned, “Many will find it hard to adjust to unfamiliar texts after nearly 40 years of continuous use of the previous translations.”

The target date for the newly translated Missal’s official use is the First Sunday of Advent 2011, and Pope Benedict exhorted clergy and laity alike to use the intervening months wisely as a time of preparation.

“The opportunity for catechesis that this time presents will need to be firmly grasped. I pray that in this way any risk of confusion or bewilderment will be averted, and the change will serve instead as a springboard for a renewal and a deepening of Eucharistic devotion all over the English-speaking world,” the Holy Father concluded.

Over the next nine weeks, you will find in this space Catholic News Agency’s contribution to this important effort; a series of weekly installments excerpted from my recently completed book, And with Your Spirit – Recovering a sense of the sacred in the English translation of the Roman Missal – 3rd Edition.

In addition to reviewing each of the forthcoming new prayers and responses in the people’s parts of Holy Mass and exploring their deeper meaning, we will also address such important questions as:

– What is the nature of the sacred liturgy as Holy Mother Church understands it?

– How is the new English translation of the Missal related to the teachings of Vatican II?

– What is “fully conscious and active participation” as the Council intended it?

– How does the new text foster a more authentic form of active participation?

– How will the new translation help restore a sense of the sacred at Holy Mass?

– And much more…

My hope is that this series will serve as an opportunity for readers to engage in the sort of liturgical catechesis that the Holy Father has encouraged as we prepare for the great gift that we are about to receive in the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

In hopeful anticipation, please join me now in consecrating our efforts in this series to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Mother of the Liturgy – that with the aid of her guidance, protection and prayerful intercession, we may emerge from these pages with a greater love and appreciation for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, for the greater glory of her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and His Bride, the Church. Amen.

Ad Iesum per Mariam!

* Excerpted from the book: And with Your Spirit – Recovering a sense of the sacred in the English translation of the Roman Missal – 3rd Edition. (© 2010 Salve Regina Publications – available at


About Author

Catholic News Agency columnist, author and speaker w/ particular focus on applying the hermeneutic of continuity to Vatican Council II.