Catholics in Woodside, Queens are preparing for a Mass overhaul, as beginning next Sunday, English services in the United States will follow a different translation of the original Latin text. NY1’s Shazia Khan filed the following report.
When Monsignor Michael Hardiman is not leading Mass at St. Sebastian in Woodside, he's rehearsing for another one.
“About 95 percent of the words used at Mass are going to be changed. That's a lot,” said Hardiman.
Starting next Sunday, English language Mass in the United States will follow a more literal translation of the Roman Missal, the book containing the Catholic prayers and chants spoken during services.
The Second Vatican Council first introduced the Missal in 1965. It was translated from Latin into English several years later.
“It was thought that perhaps the first translation perhaps missed some of the scriptural references and unique images and theological nuance that is contained in the original Latin versions of those prayers,” said Reverend Matthew Ernest of the New York Archdiocese Roman Missal Resource Committee.
In 2000, Pope John Paul II called for another edition of the missal and a translation more in line with the Latin text. More than a decade later, the new translation is ready for the masses. It will largely affect the priest as well as the deacon's spoken words during the Mass.
Among the dozen or so changes: When the priest says "the Lord be with you,” worshippers will now say “and with your spirit” as opposed to “and also with you.”
“It's not everyday language, it’s special language, and when you start to pray in special language, it really does raise your mind in a different ways to God,” said Hardiman.
“I was born after Vatican II, so I think the church is going back to its roots, so it's a good thing,” said parishioner Joe Mcgowan.
But not all Catholics agree. Rita Ferrone has written several books on liturgy, including “Liturgy: Sacrosanctum Concilium (Rediscovering Vatican II),” and she said the new translation is not what the church needs.
“I find some of the sentences hard to understand, and I’ve been studying the liturgy for 30 years. What is the average person in the pew going to make of a sentence that is 15 lines long?” said Ferrone. “I think a lot of people will find that this is going to get in the way of their prayer, and that is a tragedy.”
Catholics will have a better sense of it when the new translation takes effect next Sunday.