Welcome to this first August 2011 installment of New Translation Tuesday.
I read an interesting article today by Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, "Immigration and the 'Next America': Perspectives From Our History." This is well worth your time. Please read the comments as well to get yet another sense of just how polarized we Catholics are.
Every once in a while I take a look back at previous posts on Gotta Sing Gotta Pray. Just about a year ago, I wrote this:
Hello everyone, and a special welcome to those who are newcomers to Gotta Sing Gotta Pray.
I'd like to take the time today, on this "New Translation Thursday," to talk about what is happening in New Zealand.
I received an e-mail this morning from the national liturgy office in New Zealand. I knew that their bishops were meeting last week to discuss a partial roll-out for the implementation of the new English translation of the Missale Romanum. This morning's e-mail confirmed that the New Zealand bishops indeed have decided on such a plan. They will be introducing the peoples' parts of the Order of Mass on the First Sunday of Advent (Sunday, November 28, 2010), a mere 115 days from today!
At first, I thought that this was not a wise move. Then, the more I thought about it, the more I thought that there is wisdom here. What will essentially happen in New Zealand will look something like this. For a period of time, the people will be singing and praying the new translation of the Gloria, the Sanctus, and the Memorial Acclamations. I don't know what their plans are for the dialogues, the creed, nor the other changed peoples' spoken texts (Confiteor, "Lord, I am not worthy"). So, some of the peoples' parts will be prayed and sung in new translation, while the other texts remain in the current translation. Rather than a wholesale new translation being received all at once, New Zealand English-speaking Catholics will have a period of time to get used to the texts they pray most often. Then, in another year or two (perhaps), the other texts (Entrance and Communion Songs, Collects, Prayers over the Gifts, Prefaces, Eucharistic Prayers, Post-communion Prayers, blessings, and other presidential texts) will be introduced. In other words, the priest will use the current Missal for the interim period, with the people praying and singing their responses with the new texts. Then, when the new Missal is published, the priest will begin praying the new translation of all other texts.
This kind of approach (a partial roll-out) has been suggested here in the United States over the last few years. It doesn't look like this is what will happen here, as has been indicated by our own liturgical leaders.
So, what do you think of the "New Zealand Plan?"
Hmmm. What a difference a year can make. Now we have the "United States Plan" going into effect in some dioceses and archdioceses. There has been confusion all over the place about what it means when a diocesan bishop allows for the early implementation of the new Gloria, Sanctus, and Memorial Acclamations. People ask, "Does this mean that I have to jettison the plans I have been working on for over a year to help ease my parishioners into the new translation on the original November 27, 2001 target date?" The answer, unless your bishop actually mandates that you must begin singing the new translation on an earlier date, is no. Musicians, liturgists, catechetical leaders, and the clergy in a parish need to sit down (if you haven't already done so) and just figure out what the simplest, most pastoral approach is for your people. If your diocese allows early implementation, take the time you need to take advantage of about three months of space before Advent. It might be as simple as "just do it."
We've been talking about this around here for quite some time. People in the pews are going to love the new musical setting you have chosen for them. You've done your homework. If your diocese has chosen a particular setting that isn't one of your favorites, you'll need to convince people that the setting is wonderful (then, of course you can still get excited about the day when you will teach your people the setting that you really love!) Ease them into the music. Then, when Advent comes, perhaps they will move more easily into the new translation of new words they will speak or sing (dialogues, creed, etc.). All the while, take a deep breath, and enjoy a moment that doesn't happen that often in Church history. You are actually making Church history.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.