Good day to you all. It's time for another installment of "New Translation Thursday." Before I move into that, I want to tell you a little bit about my experience in the Diocese of Buffalo yesterday. Here's a photo of the good folks who were gathered there:
The diocese is working with a foundation that gives grants to parishes for faith formation initiatives. About 150 people—clergy and lay ecclesial ministers—gathered at the diocesan seminary for two days to listen to several speakers talk on a variety of topics. The initiative's aim is to address the needs of young adults in parishes. Those in attendance, working in parish teams, are beginning to formulate the kinds of programming that will address the spiritual needs of these young adults. Once the program or project is formulated, the parish team then begins the process for applying for the grant. It was very exciting to see such enthusiasm about ministry with young adults. I hope that my presentation—"Cultivating a Sacramental Spirituality"—was helpful for those in attendance. Kudos to the diocesan staff for their fine work.
As I was doing my presentation yesterday, I included a quote from the late John Paul II's apostolic letter that inaugurated the "Year of the Eucharist" late in his pontificate. This is the paragraph I quoted from Mane Nobiscum Domine:
“Can we not make this Year of the Eucharist an occasion for diocesan and parish communities to commit themselves in a particular way to responding with fraternal solicitude to one of the many forms of poverty present in our world? I think for example of the tragedy of hunger which plagues hundreds of millions of human beings, the diseases which afflict developing countries, the loneliness of the elderly, the hardships faced by the unemployed, the struggles of immigrants. These are evils which are present—albeit to a different degree—even in areas of immense wealth. We cannot delude ourselves: by our mutual love and, in particular, by our concern for those in need we will be recognized as true followers of Christ. This will be the criterion by which the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebrations is judged.” (28)
When thinking about the new translation, I find myself constantly returning to this paragraph. The criterion by which the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebrations will be judged are our mutual love and our concern for those in need. The hope, of course, is that the implementation of the new translation will—even with much contention—draw people closer to the eucharistic Lord. There is part of me that says things like this: "It matters little who pours the wine into the various cups; it matters little where extraordinary ministers of communion stand before they receive the eucharist; it matters little who does the purification and cleaning of the vessels after communion; it matters little who holds the key to the tabernacle." What really matters, what actually are the criterion for the authenticity of our eucharistic celebrations are our mutual love and our concern for those in need. Of course, some of you will think that this is a slippery slope I am describing here, a kind of "anything goes at Mass as long as we feed the poor" attitude. That is not what I am suggesting. As we await new words to pray, I just do not want us to lose sight of what makes our celebrations authentic. And I want people who have celebrated the Mass in latin before the Second Vatican Council, who prayed the words in English in the first translation, who prayed the current words for the last forty years, and who will pray new words in the coming years; I want them to know that no matter what set of words was or is prayed, what really matters was or is whether or not the Mass led to mutual love and care for those in need.
Thanks for listening.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.