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Catholic Voice
CURRENT ISSUE:  November 21, 2011
VOL. 49, NO. 20   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
Advent, a time of
waiting for the light

Crèche Festival set
for December 9-11

Guadalupe pilgrimage,
Mass Dec. 3
Reviewing changes in
the new Roman Missal
(Also see the bishop’s column Where do we go from here?)

During the October Convocation of priests of the Oakland diocese, I had the opportunity to get a view from the pew. The changes in the Roman Missal may not be easy. There will be times our minds will wander and we will forget.

Forty years of habit will be hard to break. But the new words draw me back into reflecting on what we are saying and called me to pay greater attention to the mystery that surrounds us when we are involved in the Liturgy.

This issue of The Voice and the next, we’ll look at the reasons “why” behind the changes.

“And with your spirit.”

Five times during the Mass, the priest (or deacon) will address the people with some form of, “The Lord be with you.” This is a substantially more significant greeting than the colloquial, “Hi, how are you?”

The “Lord be with you” is a prayer. It is weighted with faith in the presence of the Risen Lord Jesus and it is laden with desire that all gathered be in Christ, in one spirit and one faith and one body.

Many times in the coming weeks we may automatically reply with the old form, “And also with you.” This time of transition calls us to pay greater attention to the mystery that surrounds us when we are involved in the Liturgy.

The expression “And with your spirit” is only addressed to an ordained minister. That “spirit” refers to the gift of the spirit he received at ordination.

In the response, the people pray that the priest receives the same divine assistance of God’s spirit and, more specifically, help for the priest to use the gifts given to him in ordination. “And with your spirit” is not an everyday greeting. It is a prayer, a prayer that the priest may fulfill his call to serve in the person of Christ in the midst of the Liturgy.

“Through my most grievous fault.”

The sins we commit wound not only ourselves and God’s honor, but also the spiritual well-being of the Church. “To the eyes of faith no evil is graver than sin and nothing has worse consequences for sinners themselves, for the Church and for the whole world.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1488).

We may not consider ourselves great sinners, but we are sinners, and possibly we might be reminded of the great damage that sin causes. “Mea Culpa” has entered into the consciousness of the human race, and although we have not used it for many years, still the world remembers. The triple “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” will return to the liturgy along with the acknowledgment that we have “greatly” sinned.

This is not designed to make us feel bad about ourselves or increase our low self-esteem. It is there to call us to rejoice that we have gained such a great redeemer.

“We adore you.”

About one-third of the new Gloria will be new to us who have been praying it in English. We will now being praying a text that will be closer to those who pray this prayer in Spanish or Latin.

“We worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory,” will now be replaced by “We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory.” These new translations will give us a new appreciation for grace, for the depth of wisdom in our prayers and return us to a spirit of humble adoration.

“In the unity of the Holy Spirit”

You may notice that the priest’s prayers have also some changes. The ending of the prayers used to say, “…who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit.” Now we will pray, “who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit.” We pray to the Father, in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. In the liturgy we encounter the living God, and are immersed in the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. This is the unity that we wish to enter, as Jesus has prayed for us: “I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:23)

“I believe”

Credo in Latin means “I believe.” Creo in Spanish means “I believe.” Only in English did we say “We believe.” This change will make us closer in our language to the Latin and all the vernacular translations in other languages. Hopefully, too, the new translation will help us take personal ownership of the faith as well as give us an experience of being one body with the whole Church when we say together our common “I believe.”


This word is part of the ancient heritage of our faith and it is fitting that we use it to proclaim our faith in the Divinity of Christ. The Church feels that “consubstantialem” is better rendered as “consubstantial” rather than the recent “one in being.” It is more in keeping with the ancient faith and a more accurate translation. This is not a word we use in everyday language, but nothing else in our world is like this. Jesus is totally unique as the only begotten Son of God.

(Father Jeffrey Keyes CPPS is pastor at St. Edward Parish, Newark.)

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