After eight years of work, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has approved a new translation of Roman Missal that contains the new text of the Mass in English. Once the missal is published in English, it will be gradually incorporated into parishes across America at the discretion of the local bishops.
During the Jubilee Year 2000, Pope John Paul II called for the revision of the English translation of the Missale Romanum. Since then, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) has been drafting a translation out of the original Latin.
In November of last year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved the draft, which was then sent to Rome for the Vatican’s “recognitio.” While the Vatican is still making its final edits, the missal is expected to be forwarded to the USCCB for publication later this spring.
In addition to the new translation of the Roman Missal, a series of adaptations and proper texts were also approved by the Vatican.
The USCCB explained in a press release that each bishop will be in charge of gradually implementing the changes in his diocese.
“A great effort to produce the new Roman Missal for the United States of America is underway now among the publishers of liturgical books, along with the other necessary resources by publishers of liturgical music and catechetical resources,” said Msgr. Anthony Sherman, Director of the USCCB Secretariat for Divine Worship.
“Even as that work is underway a full–scale implementation of catechesis for the new Missal should be taking place in the parishes, so that when the time comes, everyone will be ready,” Msgr. Sherman added.
But even before the first Mass out of the new missal is celebrated, a numerous resources will be available to bishops, pastors, and liturgists. The USCCB has prepared a special section of their website with resources, while a DVD called “Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ” has been created to help understand the changes. The Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions is also offering a series of workshops for clergy and lay parish leaders.
The new edition of the missal, which is the third such translation, follows the release of the 1975 edition. In a Wednesday meeting with the Vox Clara committee of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Pope Benedict prayed that “the change will serve instead as a springboard for a renewal and a deepening of Eucharistic devotion all over the English-speaking world" and that it would cause neither confusion nor bewilderment.
Bishop Arthur Serratelli, Chair of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, received news of the approval with gratitude, saying, “I am happy that after years of study and review, the Congregation for Divine Worship has concluded its work and provided us with a text that will enable the ongoing renewal of the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy in our parishes.”