The Catholic Church will begin using the new English Missal in all Masses today, the First Sunday of Advent.
Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said there should be no reason for Catholics to worry about keeping up with the new responses and modified portions of the prayers during Mass.
“When there are changes in the liturgy, it takes a long while before one can memorize it. My first suggestion is that for those who want to memorize the changes, go to Mass,” Tagle told a press conference at Ninoy Aquino International Airport upon his arrival from Rome last week.
“If a person only hears Mass once a year, you really won’t memorize it. If you go to Mass every Sunday or every day, it would only take two weeks to get used to the changes,” the newest Filipino cardinal added.
Tagle said Catholics should also find time to study the bases for and meditate on the meaning of the changes in the Missal, through catechetical publications.
Most prominent of the changes in the missal is the response to the priest’s greeting, “The Lord be with you,” which would now be answered with “And with your spirit” instead of “And also with you.” The new response is the more precise translation of “Et cum spiritu tuo” in the Roman Missal, which is in Latin, the Church’s official language.
Writing on “Thinking Faith,” the online journal of the British Jesuits, Fr. Jack Mahoney SJ, author and professor at the University of London, said “with your spirit” is frequently used in the Bible. The clause, he added, is used to place a person “within a reflective religious context” and commend him to God.
The International Commission on English in the Liturgy, composed of representatives of bishops conferences in English-speaking countries like the Philippines, began work on a new English edition of the Missal following instructions from the Vatican in 2001.
The new translation was presented to and approved by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 and was started to be implemented the following year.
In the Philippines, dioceses adopted the changes in stages, with full implementation today, the beginning of the new liturgical year.
At the Manila archdiocese, the “and with your spirit” response was adopted beginning June this year. Changes in the Confietor (I Confess), Gloria and Apostle’s Creed were adopted in the following months.