TORONTO - There’s a lot to sing about in the revised Roman Missal, and hundreds of Catholic musicians plan to do just that at Toronto’s Annuciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish on Pentecost Sunday.

By late April, the Office of Lay Formation had already signed up more than 200 musicians for a May 27 Mass with Cardinal Thomas Collins. The Mass will celebrate the last year spent preparing for and then implementing new Mass texts musically. Registration for the event will be open right up until the baton drops for the entrance hymn, said Lay Formation executive director Bill Target.

Published in Arts News

The introduction of the new Roman Missal has been a hot topic of conversation since its implementation on the first Sunday of Advent, and it’s no different for Catholic youth.

For young Catholics, the new, more literal translation is the first change to the Mass they have experienced in their lifetime. While the changes in posture and the slight variations on traditional responses in the Mass are significantly less than the changes that previous generations faced in the 1960s (where the Mass was translated from Latin to the vernacular), the changes may still take some getting used to for some — and not so much for others.

Published in Youth Speak News

I am eagerly looking forward to Dec. 18, the fourth Sunday of Advent this year. Since I have been ordained a priest, I have offered the following Opening Prayer:

Fill our hearts with your love,
and as you revealed to us by an angel
the coming of your Son as man,
so lead us through His suffering and death
to the glory of His resurrection,
for He lives and reigns…

Published in Fr. Raymond de Souza

Less than two weeks after we began using the new translation of the Roman Missal, parishes and priests are getting used to the new prayers. Before the novelty wears off though, we ought to note that the very fact that the new translation exists at all is a promising sign for the Church’s witness in the 21st century.

Consider simply this: Whether at a parish in Bombay or Belfast, whether the Mass is being offered in Brisbane or Brandon, Catholics are praying the same prayers. For a universal Church whose liturgy is in Latin, that should not be surprising. Yet over the past decades centrifugal forces have been strong in the Church, with a certain liturgical mentality taking hold that emphasized the differences in various localities rather than the unity. When differing educational jurisdictions within a single country have a difficult time harmonizing their curriculum and examinations, it is no small achievement to have a single English translation used both in South Africa and South Dakota.

Published in Fr. Raymond de Souza

TORONTO - Toronto’s first run at the new Sacramentary hit a few rough spots but didn’t upset many parishioners.

“I didn’t notice a lot of difference. It was more what the priest says, I think,” noted Our Lady of Lourdes parishioner Peter Maigher at the end of the 11:30 a.m. Sunday Mass. Maigher’s reaction was typical of what churchgoers told The Catholic Register at Nov. 26-27 Masses.

Published in Vatican

TORONTO - Not every region in the English-speaking dioceses across the world currently uses the exact same texts during Mass, said Gregory Beath of the archdiocese of Toronto’s Office of Formation for Discipleship.

But with the introduction of the new Roman Missal, that will change.

“This is the first time that we will have across the world a standard English translation of the Roman Missal,” he said.

Speaking to an audience of about 30 people Nov. 9, Beath gave a presentation on the new Roman Missal at the Chancery Office of the archdiocese of Toronto. The third edition of the Missal is effective the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27.

Since it’s become a popular choice for those in other countries to learn English, the Vatican was concerned about standard English, said Beath.

While communities that have strong roots in the Latin language, like Italian and Spanish, will probably have a lot of scholars in the Church that work with Latin regularly and help translate between Latin and those receiving languages, there are many languages that may not.

In these cases, since people are more likely to translate from the English translation, the Vatican wanted it to be as exact as possible, he said.

“The Vatican’s concern is that they don’t want anything to get lost in translation,” said Beath.

And English lacks specific words to mean the same thing which the Latin uses in the original text, said Beath, referencing information from a presentation by Fr. Bill Burke, director of the National Liturgy Office for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

One example can be found in the third preface for the Rite of Marriage, he said. Latin uses five different words as synonyms: pietas, which is the love a parent has for a child; consortia, which designates the companionship of two people sharing a life; amor, which is closely rendered “love” in English; caritas, which is a nobler form of love captured by the English cognate “charity”; and dilectio, which is related to the English word “delight.”

The new Missal will also be more singable, he told the audience.

“The liturgy lends itself to being sung so you’ll notice that some of the prayers will be more singable and we’ve encouraged priests to sing the preface and sing the doxology.”

For more information on the Missal, see

Published in Vatican

TORONTO - I’ve come to know, over the last few years of teaching at Regis College in Toronto, that if I want to understand something well, my best strategy is to teach it. And so, about a year ago, as we in the Canadian Church began to receive reports of the progress of the Canadian edition of the new Roman Missal while it went through the approval process, I proposed a six-week continuing education course to the college administration as a support to the efforts of the archdiocese of Toronto to prepare for the arrival of the new Missal.

Through the months of research and teaching — I’ve now taught the course in the six-week format, as an online course and in a one-day workshop form — I’ve realized that what excites my students is not so much the English translation we will receive on the first Sunday of Advent, but rather some key developments in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. I am convinced that these developments are the most important treasure of the new Missal.

Published in Vatican

MISSISSAUGA, ONT. - Teaching children about the new Roman Missal means not only educating them about changes to prayers and gestures, but also about a “liturgical renewal” in the Church, say authors of a new children’s book.

Bernadette Gasslein and Sharon McKeever co-authored The Mass: Step by Step. Starting Nov. 27, the first Sunday of Advent, Canadians will begin to use the new Missal which introduces changes to the prayers and gestures of priests and the congregation.

McKeever said the Missal invites Catholics to rediscover the “key mysteries” of the Mass, such as Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and belonging to the Body of Christ in the world.

Published in Youth Speak News

When Catholics begin using the new Roman Missal on the first Sunday of Advent, they will find an “awesomeness” to the new translation that maybe wasn’t as present in the previous incarnation, said Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast.

The Roman Missal’s new translation will mark the shift from using current principles of “dynamic equivalence” to “formal equivalence” on the first Sunday of Advent. Its aim is an improvement of the liturgy, said the Ottawa archbishop.

“It’s a historic moment in the life of the Church and the English-speaking world,” said Prendergast.

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The new, more literal translation of the original Latin text will give particular attention to maintaining biblical references and avoid simplifying the words and phrases into contemporary terms. The current translation, in effect for almost half a century, was primarily concerned with how the translated text would be understood by the community for which it was being translated and was often simplified to reflect contemporary English usage.

Published in Features

TORONTO - Since the translation of the Roman Missal has changed, the new texts of the people’s parts don’t fit the old music, said Bill Targett, director of the archdiocese of Toronto’s Office of Formation for Discipleship.

“So new music had to be written for those parts of the Mass that are normally sung,” he said.

Upon the recommendation of the National Council for Liturgical Music, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned composers Fr. Geoffrey Angeles, John Dawson and M. Michel Guimont to prepare new musical settings for the “ordinary” parts of the Mass.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - The new English translation of the Roman Missal was unveiled to Canada's Catholic bishops as they met for their annual plenary in Cornwall, Ont., Oct. 17-21.

On Oct. 17, Bishop Pierre Morissette, outgoing president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), presented Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, apostolic nuncio to Canada, with the second copy of the new missal. The missal’s first copy will be delivered to the Holy Father when Archbishop Richard Smith, the CCCB's new president, and members of the executive visit Rome in November.

Smith said the launch of the new missal provides a “great opportunity” for liturgical catechesis on the mystery of the Eucharist, the mystery of Real Presence that goes beyond the changes in the words and gestures that will begin on the first Sunday of Advent.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - The publication of a new English translation of the Roman Missal, a month ahead of schedule, caps a year of much being accomplished by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (CCCB) secretariat.

“It has been an incredible year,” said CCCB General Secretary Msgr. Pat Powers as almost 90 bishops prepare to meet in Cornwall, Ont., Oct. 17-21 for their annual plenary meeting.

The first copies of the missal were slated to arrive Oct. 15, well ahead of the scheduled Nov. 10 shipping date. This huge publication task also involved CCCB staff in catechesis about the new translation in workshops around the country and online, as well as the publication of new musical settings.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - Fr. Bill Burke notices a similar pattern in the workshops he has held over the past year on the new English translation of the Roman missal.

At first those attending greet the changes with anger, trepidation and fear the new translation will take back the reforms of Vatican II, he said. They’ve heard rumours from the blogosphere or elsewhere that the “translations is terrible.”

But as Burke exposes priests, music directors and diocesan staff to the new texts, they warm up to the richness of the new translation. He’s travelled to 27 dioceses so far, and plans to visit four more before the new missal is to be used everywhere in English-language parishes in Canada beginning the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27.

During his workshops, Burke gives attendees copies of the collects for Advent and Christmas according to the new translation and asks them to follow the new turns of phrase while he reads aloud the current translation.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - A new web site for the Canadian edition of the Roman Missal will help Catholics across Canada to understand the contents of the new book.

The web site can be found at

Available this fall, the web site includes resources for preparing parish bulletins and workshops. It also has links to Roman Missal-related materials from the National Liturgy Office and the Publications Service of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, who will be producing the missal.

Also, parishioners can access the web sites of Catholic dioceses across Canada concerning the Roman Missal as well as links from the Vatican and English-speaking conferences of bishops around the world.

Published in Canada

A few weeks back I wrote in these pages that the new Roman Missal, which will come into effect this Advent, should be beautiful, worthy of being on the altar during Mass. The missal is the book used by the priest which contains all the Mass prayers. A new English translation of the missal has been done, and so new missals are required in every Catholic parish.

The current missal produced by the publications service of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is most unworthy, lacking even the creative design of a low-end recipe book. Canadian priests were hoping that the new missal published this fall would be a true work of art, not a mere functional instruction manual. We saw that publishers in England, Australia and the United States had sample pages posted online, drawing upon the long tradition of Catholic art adorning the altar missal. I wrote that if the CCCB version was as unimaginatively plain as their existing work, Canadian parishes should consider buying a British or American missal. All the prayers are exactly the same and the minor adaptations for Canada — local saints and variations in the rubrics for Mass — are easily enough obtained elsewhere.

Published in Fr. Raymond de Souza
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