Although I’ve only been alive a short period of time compared to how long the Church has existed, it is clear to me through studying history that the debate over what music is suitable for Liturgy has been going on for a long, long time. In recent years this musical debate has taken to a new highway, the Internet.
Although I wasn’t alive when The Second Vatican Council finished in 1965, I have heard from many people who were active Catholics in that time of change within the Catholic Mass. Many whom I have talked to were very confused when the changes in the liturgy began taking place. Some were barely told anything about what was changing or why it was changing and just all of a sudden experienced a different liturgy and really didn’t understand why. Some were happy about the changes and others were not so happy.
On November 27, 2011, we will begin using a new translation of the Roman Missal, which will change the words we use to pray the Mass. That date will be the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new Church year, so it was chosen as a good day to make these text changes. Let me stress a key point right up front: the words we use in the Mass are changing, the structure of the Mass is not.
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Change can be difficult, especially change to the celebration of Mass. Changes to the Mass we are accustomed to can be unsettling, but it is also an amazing opportunity to pray Mass with new eyes and ears. Instead of just automatically responding without thinking, these changes to the Roman Missal challenge us to really listen and think about the words we say in Mass. The question is, will we take this opportunity to dive into the beauty and mystery of the Holy Mass or just see the changes to the Roman Missal as an inconvenience, or worse, a detriment to prayer.