Sunday, November 27, 2011


In his blog, Whispers In The Loggia, Rocco Palmo asks how things went in the “roll-out” of the new Missal. After exactly 1 Eucharistic celebration with the Tertio Editio Typica, here are my thoughts:

A couple of weeks ago, borrowing language from the theatre, I suggested that we’d all be “on book” for a while, until we were comfortable with the new “script.” And so we were. But knowing what to use when made things a bit easier, especially for the singing of the new setting of Mass parts (we are using Dan Schutte’s Mass of Christ the Savior).

Were there some glitches? Of course—some “And also with you” mixed in with “And with your spirit,” a few “It is right to give Him thanks and praise” added to “It is right and just,” and so on. That’s OK; we’re getting it.
There were glitches on my part, as well: lapsing into the “old” prayers for the Preparation of the Gifts (mercifully, done silently as the congregation was singing); getting a bit tongue-tied in singing the Preface (not only different words, but the chant patterns are different), and so on.
Am I (are we) now “slaves of the book”? Perhaps, but not for long, I think. Familiarity breeds—well, familiarity, finally!

Is it difficult/impossible to pray? One priest commenting to Rocco seemed to think so. I partially understand what he was saying. Surely after (for me) 20 years of being able to lapse into sets of words like a comfortable pair of bedroom slippers, now having really to think about the words, makes this flow less automatically and smoothly. But being “automatic” or “rote” doesn’t necessarily make for better prayer, only unself-conscious prayer (which may or may not be “prayerful” at all, depending).

The new Missal is indeed heavy (it weighs more than some of our altar servers!). So I have a chapel-size edition at the chair that they can manage; the large one is brought up only to be used at the altar. I discovered that I need a pillow to prop up the Missal since I have to be far more careful about words now; I can see them more easily when they are at an angle. But this is a small “adaptation.”

At the end of Mass, everyone seemed to be able to agree with me that “We did it!” It will become 2nd nature to us after a while, and I am convinced that by serious (and cheerful) preparation, always insisting “We can do it!” the transition is going to be that much more effective. I hope the Missal itself will help us all to be more effective—in our prayer, and therefore in our faith-walk as followers of Jesus Christ.

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