Catholics prepare for change

Published 1:45 am Friday, November 25, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Sister Kathleen Higgins, left, and Sister Bernadette McNamara participate in the Roman Missal during Saturday Mass at Holy Family Catholic Church.


NATCHEZ — The new changes to the Roman Missal, the ritual text of prayers and instructions for celebrating Mass, have grown on the Rev. David O’Connor of St. Mary Basilica.

“My thinking evolved on them as I began to familiarize myself with the new versions,” O’Connor said. “It has a better quality prose, and it has more literal meaning.”

The changes came about after international committees of specialists worked under a Vatican directive to arrive at a more literal and exact translation to the original Latin.

After years of revisions negotiated by bishops’ conferences and the Holy See, dioceses are preparing anxious clergy and parishioners for the rollout, which some say is the biggest change in Catholic worship in generations.

“We have prepared our people by having a special educational insert in the Sunday church bulletin explaining the changes and the rational behind the changes,” O’Connor said. “The people will have worship aids in the pews they can follow along with, which have the wording that I’m using.”

O’Connor said the changes to the portions required of church members are minimal.

One of the most significant changes comes when the priest offers the blessing with “Lord be with you.”

Instead of answering, “And also with you,” the correct response will be, “And with your spirit.”

O’Connor said the biggest change for him is choosing between four new options of the Eucharistic prayer, which is the central prayer of the celebration during which the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ.

The Rev. George Pookkattu of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Vidalia also welcomed the changes to the text and said church members shouldn’t have any trouble adjusting.

“We’ve been explaining the changes for the past four Sundays,” Pookkattu said. “All the changes will be on the pew cards so it should be very easy for them.”

The introduction of the new text comes on the first Sunday of Advent, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus.