I am hoping you will agree with me when I say that one of my favorite, and perhaps the most central, piece of the mission of Old St. Pat’s happens when we all come together around the Lord’s Table on Sunday. I really enjoy and receive a lot of life when the church of Old St. Pat’s comes together on Sundays for our Liturgies. My hunch (which is more than a hunch), from the shear presence of many people who come from near-and pretty darn-far around the Chicago area is that the Sunday experience of Masses here is important and significant for you too. On a weekly basis, I am pleased and honored to hear the very positive feedback people have of coming to church and worshipping at Old St. Patrick’s. As the pastor of this church, my top priority is keeping our Liturgies strong, vibrant, prayerful, welcoming, and grace-filled for everyone who desires to worship with us. Building upon the great sense of community and the life-giving Liturgies we have created and continue creating is a non-negotiable for me. I just would like us to keep filling this house of prayer with those seeking a great experience of church.
As many of you know by now, November 27 (the First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of our new Liturgical year) will bring some changes to the Liturgy in the English speaking parts of the Roman Catholic world. On Sunday, November 27, some of what you hear and some of what you say at the Mass will sound a little different. The Church is introducing a new English speaking text of the Roman Missal, which is the book used at Liturgies that contain the formulaic prayers. There has been a lot of concern expressed by many people regarding these Liturgical changes: where did this come from? why is this happening? what will this do to our sense of Liturgy at Old St. Pat’s? I am grateful to Fr. Ed Foley who offered an outstanding three-part series on the new Roman Missal over the course of this past year. I am also thankful to our former intern and now a new member of our staff, Krista Kutz, for her continued writing and catechetical formation she has offered through this weekly publication. For those who may have missed what Ed and Krista presented, I would just like to offer a few simple thoughts on this topic from my perspective.
First of all, where and why is this happening? Quite simply, when the Church changed the Mass from the Latin to the language of individual cultures and nations, some would say the translation to the English language was not as accurate as it should have been. Even though it has been almost 50 years since the Second Vatican Council, the issue of translations and consistency among the Catholic world did not seem to go away.
The most important question, from my perspective, has to do with the perception of what this might do to our Liturgy at Old St. Pat’s. I would like you to re-read the first paragraph. I am committed, as you are, to maintaining and most importantly building upon the great experience of Liturgical tradition at Old St. Pat’s. NO translation is going to alter OUR commitment to celebrating well the Paschal Mystery of Christ. Ritual words will not affect what we have embraced as our priorities here: great music, insightful preaching, and outrageous hospitality. Instead of looking at this moment in history as change or something to fear (like we are turning back the clocks), I would like us to see this as a time of renewal and commitment to the church we are called to create with our lives. Vatican II’s Constitution on the Liturgy said the Liturgy is the source and summit of our life; all of what we create and our energy should flow from what we do at the Lord’s Table. Though perhaps our wording might soon sound a little strange, that statement from the Constitution is still the vision we embrace.
Some cards with the new language are being provided for us today to take home and consider as we approach Sunday, November 27. May the Spirit of Life continue to breathe new and hopeful life into us on our journey in building the Kingdom.
Have a great week!