Thursday, December 1, 2011

An app for the new translation of the Mass

Last Sunday, for the beginning of the new Church Year, Catholic churches all over the USA started using the new translation of the Latin Novus Ordo mass.    I am sure there are all sorts of bloggy comments all over the internet.  I liked MacBeth's take on the "under my roof" part.  I also liked Msr Charles Pope's Well, Actually, He's Not Talking to You.    Both of these answer the charge that the new language is too complicated for us poor dumb laypeople.  

Since my two youngest received their First Holy Communion just last spring, and my 15 year old is an altar server, I thought perhaps the entrance of the new translation might be a good time to go through the Mass bit by bit with them and talk about what the different parts mean.   Studying the Mass adds up to a doctrinal, devotional and scriptural catechesis in itself because every part of it has meaning.

 At the IPhone app store I found this app called iMassExplained.  It is by the Daughters of St Paul, who publish books, videos, music CDs and other media related to the Catholic faith, both for adults and children.

Unlike other apps I have mentioned on this blog, it is not free, but 99 cents didn't seem unreasonable to me.

What you get:   Basically what you might see in the front pages of the paper missal they hand out at church.   The changes are bolded and if you click them there is an explanation of what the change means.   Other rubrics and prayers are in color and if you click them, you get a box containing some sort of explanation or additional information on the prayer or activity.

So for example, in the introductory part of the mass, the explanation of "Stand" tells how you actually start praying before the Mass proper begins.   The holy water you bless yourself with as you enter is a reminder of your baptism which brought you originally into the Church.   You genuflect out of respect to the Real Presence of Our Lord in the tabernacle (ETA:  as Beate mentioned in the comments, the proper word is "adoration" or "in worship").

The language is simple, so it's not a rigorous explanation of doctrine, but it is substantial enough to make a good start for discussion with my group of boys ages 8 to 15.   Kieron is an altar server so most of this is already familiar to him but that is helpful in our group format as he can add his own perspective.

There are also some prayers in the app, many of them quotes from Pope John Paul II.  

I am planning to go through the whole Mass "in slow motion" this way and hopefully in the process also change my apparently set-in-stone habit of responding "And also with you" rather than the more correct "And with your spirit".

We live up in a "station church" area with no Latin masses available closer than an hour's drive, so from that perspective I am very glad that the new translation is more faithful to the Latin and more substantial than the older one. 

About the criticism that using more substantial, dignified language leaves dumb Americans in the dark about what the words MEAN, I find that very often, traditional language and more elevated concepts are often easier for children, especially, to grasp, because they are usually richer and more specific.   Who would not remember "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault" better than, umm, whatever we used to say (I've already sort of forgotten)?   And as MacBeth says, behind "Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof" is the beautiful story of the centurion of whom Jesus marvelled and said,

“Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.  I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven."
 He was talking of US with that "many will come from east and west"! and what a privilege it is to make that same amazing profession of faith along with that Gentile centurion!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I love that the Mass is now the Mass I knew in German! Also, the Centurian's prayer is a reflection we do with the CGS kids in preparation for Reconciliation and we've been telling the kids that one day the prayer we say at Mass will be much more like the bible passage for the past three years, so I'm glad it's finally happened ;-)
    My notes, I think from the GIRM, say that genuflection is an act of adoration while bowing is a sign of reference....
    We're going through the Mass here as well and taking time to really reflect on some of the phrases.


I would love to hear your thoughts on this!