Yesterday, the Bishops of this country received word through our Conference President, Cardinal Francis George, that we have received the official text of the English translation of the Roman Missal, third edition.

For the first time since the transition from the Latin texts to English following the Second Vatican Council in the late 60s and early 70s, we have seen in recent years a new translation of the original Latin prayers used for our celebration of the Eucharist.  Even though we have grown quite accustomed to and comfortable with the prayers used in our celebration of the Eucharist, we will begin using these new prayers on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011.

It is my understanding that these new translations will provide for the first time, a single English translation of the Roman Missal for all English speaking countries.  This will no doubt be a change for all of us, priest presiders and lay people.  Change always carries with it a bit of struggle, but I believe there is a great opportunity before us as we begin to prepare ourselves for these new translations. 

Even though some of our prayers will now include new terms and phrases, which will be awkward for a time, these new ways of praying also provide a moment of grace to gain new insights, and perhaps a greater sense of appreciation for the great gift we share in the Eucharist. This is  a perfect time for us not only to prepare for the new translation, but to reinvigorate our celebration of the Eucharist.   As we prepare for the implementation of the new translation of the Roman Missal, perhaps it is a good time to also pray for the grace to receive this Missal with open hearts and open minds.

Anyone who has followed this issue in recent years knows that it has met with some opposition.  Some ask why?  Some say there are more important issues facing the Church than the language we use in prayer.  Regardless of the concerns and arguments, whether they have “traction” or not, we are now being asked to embrace this new reality.  The Eucharist is the source of unity in the Church.  Let’s prayerfully remember it is Christ Who speaks to us through the Church, as well as through Word and Sacrament.  Let us open our hearts and minds to Christ, and cast aside all fear, and trust in the good things God has in mind with this next chapter of our universal journey of faith.