28/2/10 – Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ

Over the past two weeks, I have spoken a little about the recent National Liturgical Conference; the focus of which was the impending release of a new English translation of the Roman Missal.

One of the most exciting parts of the conference was to get an insight (and a bit of a sneak preview!) into a brand new, multimedia resource that will provide formation for parish communities as we approach the release of the new missal translation.

Again, like the translation, this resource has been developed under the direction of the International Committee on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), who identified two needs.  Firstly, people needed to come to learn about the changes the new English translation of the missal would bring about.  Secondly, people want and need to learn more about the celebration of Mass itself, and realise the profound meaning of what we do.

A team was drawn together with the specific task of overseeing the development of the necessary formation material.  This team has collaborated with the Australian organisation Fraynework (an initiative of the Sisters of Mercy) to produce Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ.

Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ is an interactive DVD which will allow individuals or groups to learn more about how we as a Church celebrate the Eucharist.  It brings together written information, video interviews, music recordings, clickable timelines and graphics in ways we have not seen before in a Church resource.

This resource will not only provide us with a wealth of information, but opportunities to nourish and enrich our faith.  It is a highly professional and excellently crafted resource which the Australian Church should be proud of having played such a large role in producing.  I look forward to seeing the finished product and sharing it with parishioners once its released later this year.

21/2/10 – Why A New Missal Translation?

Last week, I gave a little overview of the recent National Liturgical Conference; the focus of which was the impending release of a new English translation of the Roman Missal.

Some people have probably wondered since just how different this new missal translation will be to what we use now.

Firstly, it is important to note that this is essentially a new translation of the missal into English.  There is very little change to anything besides the translations of the texts into English.  This means that Mass will be celebrated as it is now – the same parts, in the same order.  There will not be as much change as the Church experienced in the years after Vatican II because the focus is on how the prayers have been translated from Latin into English.

So why is there a need to change the translation of the text?

Firstly, the Church now has now released the third edition of the missal of Pope Paul VI in Latin, and it then becomes the responsibility of bishops’ conferences (national groups of bishops) to have the missal translated into their native language (the “vernacular”).  In English-speaking countries, this work is the responsibility of the International Committee on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), who work on behalf of the bishops of English-speaking countries.

Secondly, new guidelines were introduced by the Vatican on how the Latin missal texts are to translated into other languages.  Central to this was an insistence on a more direct translation of the Latin texts.  This greater similarity means that our prayer texts better reflect the universal nature of our Church.  The challenge, however, lies in preparing a direct translation which respects the unique characteristics of the English language so may we pray fully, consciously and actively.

14/2/10 – National Liturgical Conference

Last weekend, liturgy representatives from virtually every diocese in Australia met in Perth for their biennial conference. Both Judy Kendall (Liturgy Committee member) and I were fortunate to be able to attend as members of our Diocesan Liturgical Commission.

The focus of this conference, and the topic preoccupying the mind of most delegates, was the implementation of a new English translation of the Roman Missal (the Church’s liturgical “prayer book” – we know it as the large, red book the priest uses at the altar). Bishops throughout the English-speaking world have now approved the various sections of this revision. All that remains is the final recognitio (recognition, or approval) from Rome so that books can be published and new texts implemented in parishes.

The 100-plus gathering had the opportunity to listen to two people who have been deeply involved in the translation project, namely Canberra-Goulburn Archbishop Mark Coleridge, and Monsignor Bruce Harbert. Archbishop Coleridge is Chairman of the Australian Bishops’ Committee for Liturgy, as well as the editorial committee for the missal revision. Msgr Harbert is from England and has recently retired as Executive Secretary of the International Committee for English in the Liturgy (ICEL).

We also had the chance to preview a new multimedia resource to help people not only learn about the new translations, but to come to a deeper understanding of the Mass as a whole. An Australian company is developing Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ for a worldwide audience. There was also a chance to see how the revised texts of the Mass have been set to music by a number of Australian composers.

I hope to share more details of the conference with you over the coming weeks.