Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: What a Difference a Year Makes!

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.


Anonymous said...

I,for one, am extremely frustrated with the USCCB's permission to begin using musical settings of the new translation earlier than the original implementation date. The whole point of having a set date was so that we all jumped in together, at one time, and did the best we could to diffuse separation and discord because some parishes were doing it or some weren't. We were all supposed to embark on the adventure together. Now, we are in the exact position they said we were supposed to try to avoid. Some parishes in my diocese are going to begin in September, and others are still sticking to the November date. Doesn't this create the division we were supposed to be working to avoid? At our parish, we are sticking to the November date.....everything is planned and set out with that in mind, and has been for a while now. So much for the unity of embarking onto the new translation......

Steve Raml said...

We're still waiting word on early implementation in our diocese, but most of my colleagues in parishes here welcome the opportunity to begin using at least the Gloria in the fall. That way, we have a better chance of having our assembly join the song of the angels with full voice at Christmas.

I did a quick email survey asking for comments and found only two people out of 23 respondents opposed to early implementation. One noted the unity concern, and the other said his choir was off for the summer and wouldn't start rehearsing again until Septemeber, so they wouldn't be ready.

Early and gradual implementation seems the more pastoral approach to me.

Anonymous said...

We are fortunate in the Madison, WI, diocese to have received a timeline several weeks ago for gradual introduction of the Gloria, Holy, & accl. from Sept. through Oct. I'm hopeful that the gradual learning process will make it easier for our congregation.
Kudos to Pat Gorman, diocesan director of liturgy & worship!

Anonymous said...

An unintended consequence of the September "permission" is the reinforcement of the academic year rather than the liturgical year as normative. This is not helpful, especially to RCIA ministers who work hard to promote the liturgical year as our primary calendar. It diminishes the impact of "starting anew" congruent with the Lectionary cycle. This may not be the biggest issue at hand; however, it makes me think that the September decision was not well thought through.

Paul said...

That's a very good point. However, it could be said that this WHOLE process was not well thought out. If the Catholic church was a business, it would have been bankrupt and liquidated many years ago because of bad decisions. The only think that keeps it goin' is the Holy Spirit - and the faithful.