The most sweeping changes to the Catholic Mass in 40 years will be rolled out in 2011, the U.S. bishops announced Aug. 20 after receiving formal approval from the Vatican.
The new English-language translation of the Roman Missal, the official text of prayers and responses used in the Mass, will be implemented on Nov. 27, 2011, the first Sunday of Advent and the beginning of a new liturgical year.
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Vatican approval was granted on June 23, with additional changes approved on July 24.
Over the next year, priests and parishioners will work through the changes to the text, such as the prayer “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,” which will change to “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof.”
Other familiar passages, such as “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again” will no longer be used. Changes to the wording of the Nicene and Apostles' creeds have also been made.
The bishops said “no other edition of the Roman Missal may be used” in U.S. dioceses. Monsignor Anthony Sherman of the bishop's liturgy office said dioceses should start planning now “so that when the time comes, everyone will be ready.”
Pope John Paul II ordered the new translations to encourage greater fidelity to the original Latin. Translations into local languages after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s were too hastily and sloppily produced, according to the late pope.
Some U.S. bishops have objected to the changes as difficult to understand and pronounce, but the Vatican showed no willingness to keep the current Mass that's familiar to millions of Catholics.
Also included in the new translation are prayers for holidays specific to the United States, such as Thanksgiving and Independence Day, as well as prayers to U.S. saints, including St. Damien of Hawaii, St. Katharine Drexel and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
The new translation also includes a special Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life, to be celebrated each year on Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.