Q. We’ve heard that Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien is allowing us to implement the new sung parts of the revised Mass as early as September. We’re not sure what that includes or how a parish is to go about it. If we don’t sing, can we recite these prayers? Any recommendations?
A. The Office of Worship has prepared some questions and answer (below) that may be of assistance. Please note that this allowance is only for the new sung settings of the Gloria, the Sanctus and the Memorial Acclamation. This allowance does not include any other part of the English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal (dialogues, responses of the people, Eucharistic Prayers, etc.). However, since the Acclamation before the Gospel, the Agnus Dei/Lamb of God, and the Amen have not changed, new Mass settings of these may be used at any time.
Q. What should we consider when determining whether or not to take advantage of the early implementation of the Gloria, the Sanctus and the Memorial Acclamation of the English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal?
A. The main concern is that Catholics be able to sing the Gloria and other acclamations by Advent and Christmas. So, first of all, ask, “Will early implementation help the people of our parish learn the new sung settings?” If the answer is “Yes!” then take advantage of the allowance.
Q. Is it mandatory that our parish begin using the new settings of the Gloria, Sanctus and Memorial Acclamations in September?
A. Not at all. If your parish has already established a schedule of how you will introduce new Mass settings in preparation for Nov. 26-27, then stick with that plan. Many parishes have contacted the Office of Worship with concerns that early implementation will disrupt what, in many cases, has been a careful and detailed process of planning. The allowance for early implementation should not disrupt these plans.
Q. If we are not singing the Gloria, Sanctus or Memorial Acclamation, and they are recited (at daily Mass if a music minister is not available) what translation do we use?
A. Again, the allowance is only for singing these parts using the new translation. If the Gloria, the Sanctus and the Memorial Acclamation are recited, then the current translation must be used.
Q. Our parish uses the seasonal missalettes. This means that the new Mass settings will not be available to us, in that form, until Nov. 27. What are our options if we want to begin using these limited sung Mass parts in September?
A. This may be one of the more challenging aspects of taking advantage of the allowance for early implementation. If a parish needs to provide copies of the new musical settings, it is very important that attention is paid to the following:
Normally, photocopying without proper reprint permission is not allowed. That being said, each of the three main music publishers is handling this situation a bit differently. Contact the publisher of the Mass setting in question for further information:
The new Mass settings could be introduced incrementally, for instance, the Gloria in September, the Sanctus and Memorial Acclamations in October and November.
Q. If our parish begins using the sung Mass parts in September, what introduction to the Memorial Acclamation should we use – the current translation or the one from the English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal?
A. If a parish is taking advantage of early implementation, at the Memorial Acclamation, the priest is to use the current translation. That is, after the consecration of the Precious Blood, the priest genuflects, stands and says to the congregation, “Let us proclaim the Mystery of Faith.”
Q. Isn’t this going to cause confusion among the people if one parish decides to use the new sung settings and a neighboring parish does not?
A. At a time of transition, some uncertainty is unavoidably going to be part of the process. Parishes already use different settings of the Mass parts. So the Gloria, the Sanctus and the Memorial Acclamation sound different from parish to parish as it is. The fact that these three pieces of music may be used in some parishes should not present a major point of confusion for the faithful.
Q. When will the complete English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal be mandated for use?
A. The date of the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 26-27, is still the date on which the full English translation of the Roman Missal is to be used in all parishes of the United States. After that date, this translation will be the only one approved for use at Mass.
Questions for this column should be sent to Catherine Combier-Donovan, 320 Cathedral Street, Baltimore Md., 21201, or email email@example.com.