November 20, 2011
My brother priests and deacons,
My brothers and sisters of the lay faithful,
Next Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent, is an historic occasion for Catholics throughout the United States. After forty-some years, we will celebrate Mass with a revised English translation. This is a translation of the 2002 third edition of the Roman Missal and the fruit of many years of intense work to provide a more faithful rendering of the Latin prayers into English. Here in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, we have prepared for more than two years to receive this new translation focusing not only on new words but on the Mystery the Liturgy celebrates, the Mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.
The use of this revised English translation gives us—clergy and the faithful—many new opportunities to reconsider the centrality of the Mass in our lives, to learn more about our Faith from the Mass prayers, to evaluate our preparation and our manner of celebration. These are on-going opportunities that each of us, over the months and years ahead, must take seriously so that our celebration of the Eucharist will be more fully directed to the glory of the Triune God and to our growth in holiness of life.
The next few weeks will require careful attention as we sing and say new responses and prayers, and there may be some awkwardness and confusion. However, in a short time there will be again an ease to our participation in the celebration of Mass with the new translation. I encourage the use of worship aids and even some instruction at Mass for a reasonable and smooth transition. Even though the new texts will be in use, providing catechesis and information on the translation must also continue.
I hope that this historic event, the use of a revised English translation of the Roman Missal, will also signal a renewed commitment to the Sunday Eucharist, to celebrate it with greater beauty and dignity and to live from it more profoundly and intently.
May God give you peace and every blessing.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia