Gotta Implement

I commend Jerry Galipeau’s blog, especially his ongoing series “New Translation Tuesday/Thursday,” which draws a number of comments, especially from this blogger and sometimes from me. A typically naive comment on a period of time between recognitio/promulgation and an implementation date:

Unfortunately, a “grace period” … would, for a likely large number of parishes, just be an additional six months to put off using the new texts. After six months, the question would be “well…these texts had to be used six months ago, and we aren’t using them yet, and nobody has said anything, so we’ll just keep using the old texts” just like any other document not enforced.

Well … okay.

When the world revolves around one’s own subjective experiences and worldview, I can see how this might be a consideration. Given only 20,000-some American parishes, I’m sure that several thousand orders for new Sacramentaries will be fielded the day or two after recognitio, and the Catholic Book Publishing Corporation will faithfully rush-ship everything to hit parish mailboxes by the weekend. Anybody who has a shipment lost in the mail or where the pastor was on vacation can just be labeled lazy, disobedient heretics and be done with.

In reality, the seasonal publishers might need anywhere from a few months to (more likely) a year to get the final approved texts in print. I would tend to doubt there would be much of a market for a year of both sets of words. Nor do I think many parishes would purchase a replacement set of disposable missals mid-year. That’s assuming the publishers get the final text in advance of its promulgation. Which is possible, but not likely.

If the promulgation hits before June, I believe most publishers would be ready for the following Advent.

There are three points of implementation for the average parish. First, the clergy. They have all new prayers to lead and pray so once the new Sacramentaries are shipped, they will be free to start anytime before the implementation date. Or on it.

No doubt, some priests, somewhere, will be asking the secretary, “Why the $#%& do we have to buy a new Sacramentary*?” Blissfully, the whole liturgy tussle will have bypassed them.

Second point will be the spoken parts of the Order of Mass. Assuming ICEL grants generous usage permission, I suppose there’s no problem with a parish printing up its own order of service and using it as a teaching and/or liturgical tool right away. My parish’s hymnal will still have the old words, but we’re not going to replace hymnals at this time. Nor is it likely we will take the time to paste corrections in five-hundred-plus books. Our people don’t usually read Mass parts from the book anyway.

Third point of implementation will be the sung parts of the Mass. The music publishers have their own reasons to be coy about which Mass settings are changing, and which are being retired. Their call, I guess. Once I know, my music directors and our planning committee will assess our options. Currently we use Creation, Remembrance, and Angels & Saints from GIA, Celtic, Glory, and Joyful Heart from OCP. It’s likely we will be retiring one of those on our own, maybe two. It’s also possible the publisher/composer could lay an egg with a revised setting and we might reject it on artistic grounds. I might be surprised to find a good new Mass after promulgation. My preference would be to uncover a nice plainsong setting, but some parishioners might find that difficult to swallow right away. Once we know what’s available from the publishers, we’ll assess our Mass music and learn anew/relearn from there.

I haven’t begun to think about formation for the community on the new Missal. We’re still dealing with the aftermath of kneeling for the Eucharistic Prayer.

* I’ve seen the commentary that there will no longer be a separate edition for the Sacramentary and Lectionary. Count me a doubter on this one. Every liturgist knows the two make up the Roman Missal. We read them both, see? I can’t see the average parish juggling one huge book between ambo, altar, and chair for lectors and clergy. And if the book is split into volumes, it makes sense to split according to function at the Mass itself.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Gotta Implement

  1. Liam says:

    For years I have recommended a grace period (3 years, perhaps) for sung vernacular settings of the major parts of the Ordinary of the Mass that that used the approved texts thereof at the time of their composition; this would allow a period of gradual embrace of the new texts in sung form as new settings are rolled out. I believe many musicians suspect the best way for the people to learn the new texts will be in sung form (all the more reason to encourage presidential chant and congregational responses, likewise). But instead, it seems people low and high have preferred to fight or play passive.

  2. Jono says:

    The musical implementation could be facilitated by using the Gregorian chants upon which they are based now. It is not difficult to teach the Kyrie XVI, Sanctus, XVIII, and Agnus Dei XVIII. “Sing to the Lord” says that all Catholics in the United States should know these chants anyway. Once the new translations are implemented, people will then already essentially know the melodies for the English chant from the Latin or Greek (with slight variation for English cadence).

  3. Todd says:

    Jono, my parishioners already sing Kyrie XVI and Agnus Dei XVIII. I suspect many know the Sanctus. I wouldn’t double dip on one melody for two languages. My preference would be to use the Latin plainsong originals for Latin texts, and look for music composed in English to do the bulk of the work for vernacular texts.

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