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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Friday, October 07, 2011
28th Sunday of the Year – 9th October 2011
Two Nations, Divided by a Common Language
This is often said of the UK and the USA because of the different use of English – hood for bonnet, trash for rubbish and so on. Of course the British always think they’re right but in one part of the Mass we were wrong. At the end of the first and second readings the Church in America has always said, “The word of the Lord.” Whilst we said, “This is the word of the Lord.” The Latin is Verbum Domini. So in the new translation we have been Americanised in order to be more faithful to the Latin. It is also be closer to the parallel acclamation which accompanies our reception of Holy Communion – “The Body/Blood of Christ.”

You will also have noticed that before a deacon proclaims the Gospel he receives a blessing from the priest. In the absence of a deacon, the priest bows before the altar and says a short prayer quietly. These also have slight changes to them. The former now adds the prayer that the deacon may not just proclaim the Gospel “worthily” but “worthily and well,” and both now refer to the “holy Gospel” not just the “Gospel.” While you will probably never hear these prayers (unless you’re an altar server) there are several times during the Mass when I say prayers in a low voice. These are to help the priest focus his mind and heart on the meaning of the actions that are taking place.

The dialogue at the beginning of the Gospel has also changed. You already know that the different response to, The Lord be with you,” is “And with your spirit.” Your response to the announcement of the Gospel also has a tiny change – it has become, “Glory to you, O Lord.” Throughout the new translation, "O” precedes words like “Lord” and “God” in prayers. While in practical terms it lengthens the form of address to God, just as in the Gloria it also conveys a deeper sense of awe and respect for the Almighty. And, as you have heard, the deacon or priest says at the end, “The Gospel of the Lord,” dropping “This is” for exactly the same reasons as with the other scripture readings. The response you make remains the same so you can breathe a sigh of relief!

The new translation will not alter the scripture readings for the foreseeable future. And for those of you who have missals this will be a little complicated since while they can be used to follow the readings they will have the old responses and priestly prayers in them. Currently we have the Mass sheets that you should use. At the sung Masses we will soon be introducing the new musical settings to the new translation. Incidentally, the perceived wisdom is that singing the texts is a quicker way of learning them and when you consider how we learn at school that makes perfect sense. Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 1:20 pm