After years of development and months of catechesis and rehearsal, the new English translation of the Roman Missal — officially known as the Roman Missal, Third Edition — is ready to take the stage, so to speak. 

Beginning Nov. 27, the first Sunday of Advent, English-speaking Catholics in North America will pray and sing the words of the revised Mass.  

We at OSV hope our readers have taken the opportunities to attend workshops or classes on the new translation and have read our series on the translation, and are ready to embark on this liturgical journey with a deeper appreciation of the Mass, which St. John Vianney reminds us “is the sacrifice of God for man.” 

What follows is a final look at many of the changes, especially to the people’s parts, with commentary adapted from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Roman Missal site (www.usccb.org/romanmissal), along with a timeline of events and resources.

Timeline

W.P. Wittman Ltd.

It’s been 11 years since Pope John Paul II promulgated a third edition of the Roman Missal and 10 years since Liturgiam Authenticam, which provided instructions for the translation of liturgical texts into the vernacular. Here’s a look at some key dates in charting how we got from there to here: 

March 28, 2001: Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments releases Liturgiam Authenticam (“The Authentic Liturgy”). 

April 2002: Vox Clara (“clear voice”) committee gathers for first time to assist in the review and approval of the new English translation of the Roman Missal. 

November 2002: USCCB approves English translation of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Vatican confirms it in March 2003. 

Sept. 15, 2003: International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) re-established as a “mixed commission” by the Holy See. 

February 2004: ICEL presents its first draft of the first section of the Roman Missal, the Order of Mass, for review and comments. Each section of the Missal would go through two drafts, one for review and the other for presentation to bishops’ conferences. 

June 2006: USCCB approves English translation of the Order of Mass. 

June 2008: Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments grants recognitio of English translation of the Order of Mass. 

November 2009: U.S. bishops approve final segments of the Roman Missal. 

March 2010: Vatican gives recognitio of the new English translation of the Roman Missal. 

Aug. 20, 2010: Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, then USCCB president, announces that Catholics will begin using new translation on the first Sunday of Advent in 2011, and training and education of pastors, parish ministers and parishioners gets under way. 

September 2011: With the approval of the USCCB, parishes across the country begin implementing musical settings of the people’s parts of the Mass. 

Sources: usccb.org/romanmissal, CNS

Your Guide to the Changes

GREETING

Priest: The Lord be with you. 
People: And with your spirit.* 
 
*“And with your spirit,” a direct translation of the Latin Et cum spiritu tuo, affirms the Catholic belief that through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, Christ has forever configured the priest’s soul to himself in a special way, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
 

CONFITEOR

I confess to almighty God 
and to you, my brothers and sisters, 
that I have greatly sinned 
in my thoughts and in my words, 
in what I have done 
and in what I have failed to do, 
through my fault,  
through my fault
through my most grievous fault*
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, 
all the Angels and Saints, 
and you, my brothers and sisters, 
to pray for me to the Lord our God. 
 
*The phrase “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” is a direct translation of mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa in the Latin liturgy. While uttering this phrase, the faithful should strike their breasts three times as a symbol of remorse.
 

GLORIA

Glory to God in the highest, 
and on earth peace to people of good will
We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory*
Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. 
Lord Jesus Christ, 
Only Begotten Son, 
Lord God, Lamb of God, 
Son of the Father
you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; 
you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer
you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us
For you alone are the Holy One, 
you alone are the Lord, 
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, 
in the glory of God the Father. Amen. 
 
*The five ways listed in which we should pay homage to God — praise, bless, adore, glorify and give thanks — express the extent to which it is our Christian duty to give “glory to God.” 
 

NICENE CREED

I believe* in one God, 
the Father almighty, 
maker of heaven and earth, 
of all things visible and invisible.
 
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Only Begotten Son of God, 
born of the Father before all ages.
 
God from God, Light from Light, 
true God from true God, 
begotten, not made, 
consubstantial** with the Father; 
through him all things were made. 
For us men and for our salvation 
he came down from heaven, 
and by the Holy Spirit 
was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. 
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, 
he suffered death and was buried, 
and rose again on the third day 
in accordance with the Scriptures. 
He ascended into heaven  
and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 
He will come again in glory 
to judge the living and the dead 
and his kingdom will have no end.
 
I believe in the Holy Spirit,  
the Lord, the giver of life,  
who proceeds from the Father and the Son, 
who with the Father and the Son 
is adored and glorified, 
who has spoken through the prophets.
 
I believe in one, holy,  
catholic and apostolic Church. 
I confess one baptism 
for the forgiveness of sins 
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead 
and the life of the world to come. Amen. 
 
* “I believe” is a direct translation of the Latin Credo and offers each Catholic an opportunity to affirm his personal faith. 
 
** The word “consubstantial” signifies that the Son is of the “same substance” with the Father, meaning he equally shares the Father’s divinity as a Person of the Holy Trinity.
 

INSTITUTION NARRATIVE

Take this, all of you, and drink from it: for this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many* for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.
 
*The change from “for all” to “for many” is not only a more accurate translation of the Latin pro multis, but it reminds us that salvation is not automatic and that each of us must accept the grace Christ provided to us to attain eternal life.
 

INVITATION TO COMMUNION

Priest: Behold the Lamb of God,
behold him who takes away
the sins of the world,
Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.
 
All: Lord, I am not worthy
that you should enter under my roof*,
but only say the word
and my soul shall be healed.
Go forth, the Mass is ended. 
 
*The new phrasing mirrors the words of the Roman centurion in Matthew 8:8: "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed."
 
DISMISSAL  
 
Go forth, the Mass is ended
Or: Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord. 
Or: Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life. 
Or: Go in peace. 

Quotes

“The new translation of the Roman Missal, which is the fruit of a remarkable cooperation of the Holy See, the bishops and experts from all over the world, is intended to enrich and deepen the sacrifice of praise offered to God by his people.” 

Pope Benedict XVI, speaking to Australian bishops during their ‘ad limina’ visit Oct. 20. 

“The re-sacralization of the English used in the liturgy affords all of us an opportunity to ponder just what it is we are doing at Holy Mass: We are participating, here and now, in the liturgy of angels and saints that goes on constantly around the Throne of Grace where the Holy Trinity lives in a communion of radical self-gift and receptivity.” 

George Weigel, in a Nov. 2 column on the new translation 

“The real impact of the new translation will be felt among those who use this time to reflect on and renew our faith in what happens at Mass.” 

Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, in an Oct. 30 interview with OSV.