This is an important weekend. Yes, we are celebrating the feast of the Epiphany (on the earliest date possible in the liturgical calendar). It is also the first weekend of the New Year, 2011. This means that in Australia, we can begin to take the first steps towards implementing the new English translation of the Roman Missal.
The bishops in each country are responsible for determining when and how a new liturgical book such as the missal is to be implemented. In the United States, for example, they hope to implement the missal – all of it – from the First Sunday of Advent this year.
Given the amount of work and preparation involved in implementing a liturgical text as large as the missal, our bishops have opted for a different approach. Based on the recommendation of their National Liturgical Council, Australia will gradually implement the missal in stages. The first stage begins now.
From 1 January 2011, parishes are able to begin using Mass settings (collections of parts of the Mass set to music) that have been newly composed or revised to suit the texts of the incoming missal. From Pentecost Sunday, parishes are to gradually introduce the assembly’s spoken responses, with all spoken responses mandatory from November. The prayers the priest recites would then be introduced sometime from November onwards, depending on when the published missal is available to parishes.
In Wentworthville, we already have copies of the revised edition of Mass Shalom by the Late Br Colin Smith CFC on order. Australian composer Paul Mason has reworked this well-known Mass setting to the new texts. Once it arrives, we will start to gradually introduce it into the Mass. We will also display the words to help you learn the changes.
Hopefully we can all work together, not only to learn the new texts of the missal, but also to reflect on the meaning of our Church’s prayers, and come to a deeper understanding of the Eucharistic celebration.