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Baldwin-Whitehall's Catholic Leaders React to New Missal

'The Lord be with you.' 'And with your spirit.'

As the old saying goes: The only constant is change.

Used to reciting the same words everytime that you celebrate the Catholic Mass? Better pick up that missal, or missalette. You know what that is. It's that book next to your coat at the end of the pew—yes, the one with all of the songs in it.

Starting this past Sunday, the Catholic missal, which contains the words used during Mass, has changed to include more Latin-based, and often archaic, language.

For example, the response to "The Lord be with you" is no longer "And also with you." It is now "And with your spirit." Other changes include "One in being with the Father" to "Consubstantial with the Father" and "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you" to "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof."

There are four traditional places in Baldwin-Whitehall where the Catholic Mass is celebrated: , , and the .

The Rev. James Orr, pastor at Saint Albert's, is a fan of the new text.

"Getting used to the flow of a language is one thing," Orr said, acknowledging with a laugh that, at times, he was making more mistakes than his own congregation on Sunday. "But the translation itself I like. I like what it says. I like how it does it. I like the ways that it phrases things. I still have to get used to it, but I like it.

"When I was in the seminary in the late '70s, one of the things that we were discussing at that time was why the language of the sacred (Scripture) was absent from the text of the Mass. And what this new translation does is restores the language of the sacred to the text. And I like that very much.

"There is a point to trying to make language basically understandable to absolutely everyone (the old text), but I think there's also a point to try challenging people to stretch their understanding of language and to stretch, therefore, their understanding of the faith. And I think that's what this text does. It asks people to stretch themselves a little bit, and with that comes a deeper understanding. And that's a good thing. That's a very good thing.

"One of my people said, 'I've had to think about the Mass for the first time in a long time, and I'm finding that I'm discovering new things.'

"That's perfect. If this does nothing more than that, it's done something great."

, pastor at St. Gabriel's, also likes the new missal despite any temporary hiccups with reciting the words.

"The translation has got a lot more depth to it," Haney said. "Like anything new, we have to read everything almost. Before, I had it memorized. It'll take time. That's all.

"I think the intensity of the prayers, the depth of the prayers, is really uplifting.

"For the people, it'll take time. They'll get used to it, though."

Haney said that his staff provided a heads-up prior to this past Sunday but that some churchgoers still recited the wrong words.

He was asked if he expected more confused parishioners for Christmas Mass.

"They will be surprised, because some only come (to church) once or twice a year."

Leaders from Saint Elizabeth's and the Sisters of St. Francis declined to be interviewed.

How do you feel about the changes? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Robert Edward Healy, III December 02, 2011 at 02:30 PM
ML, how do you feel about them? For many young Catholics, it's quite an adjustment.

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