Well, you guessed it … I grew up in the era of big hair and glam rock bands. One of my favorites was the band “Europe.” In high school, I would constantly rock out on the drums to their hit song “The Final Countdown” until my Mom busted open the door to my room and screamed, “That’s enough!” If you have no idea what I’m talking about than my suspicion is true that yes, I really am getting old.
Well there is a countdown going on today and it has nothing to do with 80’s rock bands, but everything to do with the third edition of the Roman Missal. We are only 19 days away from this new translation of the current Sacramentary we use at Mass. So here’s the question … are you ready?! I hope the answer is: “Yes!” If you are worried that you may have forgotten something, let’s start with the obvious.
Has your parish bought a Missal? I have this vision of people running to the nearest Catholic Bookstore on Friday, November 25th only to find out they are all gone. I hope that’s not a vision that comes true and everyone either has the Missal already in their possession or has ordered it to be shipped in time. Almost every major Catholic Publisher is offering a version of the Missal, so if you haven’t ordered one yet, now is definitely the time.
Have you begun singing the new Mass settings yet? Have you implemented all the settings that are going to be changing? (ie…the Gloria, Holy and Memorial Acclamation) If not, you may want to start introducing one new setting a week for the next few weeks if you have approval from the Bishop in your Diocese to do so.
Do you have something for your congregation to follow along with? It could be a pew card or maybe you are printing all of the assembly responses on your worship aide or using a power point. If you are using power point, have the prayers been typed in already and are people lined up to run the projection? Have those people practiced yet to make sure their timing is accurate? This will be a delicate time for people to respond correctly, so having the responses up in a timely manner will really count.
Now here are a few things you may not have thought of:
Do you have permanent hymnals in your church that have the old responses in them? If so, will you be announcing to people to not use them for the responses or will you be removing them from the Church? I’ve noticed many people at my parish picking up the hymnals during Mass (even though we rarely use them) to follow along with the new Glory to God and especially the Creed. They will need to know that these prayers will now be incorrect in those hymnals.
Will your priest(s) be singing any new response that the musicians will need to rehearse with them? Since the priests have been encouraged to sing more of the Liturgy, they may want to sing the introduction to the Memorial Acclamation or the Doxology to The Great Amen for instance. Take the time to meet with your presiders ahead of time to help them to sing the responses. It is also a good idea to give them a recording and/or sheet music to what they will be singing and give them some time to practice and get comfortable with the melodies and the new text. This new translation will be a big change for our priests and we need to support them as much as we can.
Finally, have you thought about how you will educate the people who will show up at Mass for Christmas? A recent study shows that a very small percentage of people who consider themselves Catholic, and don’t normally attend weekly Liturgy, have little or no idea about any changes that will occur on the First Sunday of Advent, 2011. We need to do our best to educate them as they arrive for Masses about the changes and why they have changed. Perhaps consider showing one of the videos in the “Word for Word” resource from Life Teen that will do a good job explaining the changes to people who will join us this Christmas.
May God continue to bless our Church in this time of transition and may we all be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our own lives and in the lives of those in our parish, most especially our young people. Veni Sancte Spiritus.