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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

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Trying on a New Catholic Liturgy After 40 Years

by Susan Leem, associate producer

Congregant's view of Catholic MassA parishioner’s view of a Catholic Mass from the rear pew. (photo: Catholic Church (England and Wales)/Flickr, cc by-nc-sa 2.0)

For many Roman Catholics, the liturgy of each Sunday’s Mass is immutable. Last week, on the first Sunday of Advent, that idea was put to the test when the highly scripted and well-memorized ritual underwent some significant changes. The last modification to the Roman missal was made nearly four decades ago during the Second Vatican Council, one being that Mass was translated into the vernacular English from the Latin.

The greeting “The Lord be with you” is now acknowledged with “And with your spirit” rather than “And also with you.” The Vatican argues that it more accurately reflects the Latin text of the Mass (“et cum spiritu tuo”) and better acknowledges one’s humanity. Some new non-colloquial vocabulary that students may soon see on the SAT makes its way into the Nicene Creed: "consubstantial with the Father" replaces “one Being with the Father.” Another change is uttered before the sacrament of communion. It comes directly from the Gospel of Matthew, and places God in one’s home. “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof” replaces “Lord I am not worthy to receive you.”

For many, the most recent transition attempts a closer and more faithful English translation of the Latin. Some tongues were tied, but most received the changes without much fanfare. Church officials say it will help Catholics come to a deeper appreciation of the Eucharist and the role of Mass for their faith. For all you Roman Catholics who are celebrating Mass on this second Sunday of Advent, we’d like to hear about your experience.

How did your family or parish prepare for the change in Mass before Sunday? In what ways do the updates to the liturgy enhance or detract from your experience of the ritual of Mass? Is this new translation more authentic or meaningful to you? Or do you long for the familiar?