Respondents were asked if they had heard “that parishes in the United States will soon be implementing changes in the words and prayers at Mass at the direction of the Vatican.” Seventy-seven percent answered “no.” This is equivalent to more than 44 million adult Catholics who don’t know about the changes that will occur throughout the English-speaking world beginning Nov. 27, the first Sunday of Advent.
Most respondents took the survey in English (82 percent), and among these Catholics, awareness was just slightly higher at 26 percent. ...
Not surprisingly, Catholics who attend Mass at least once a week and those who are very involved in parish activities were more clued in to the revisions than other Catholics with looser ties to their parishes. Which other groups of Catholics are better prepared than others for the changes? Find the answers from the survey.
The results of the survey may be discouraging to priests and parish ministers tasked with preparing parishioners for the revisions, but the good news is there's still time to take action. And the Aug. 28 issue of OSV Newsweekly has you covered there, as well, with guides to preparing for the new translation of the Roman Missal for laity and priests and catechists. Here are the first three steps OSV contributing editor Emily Stimpson suggests laypeople take in getting ready for the changes:
1. Take the initiative
Whether or not your parish has started talking yet (or talking much) about what’s coming down the pike this Advent, all Catholic men and women are well-advised to do a little research and reading on their own about the new translation.“Catholics need to avail themselves of the resources that are out there,” Father Hilgartner said. “There are many materials they can access on their own that don’t have to come through the parish.”That is something of an understatement. Resources tailor-made for helping lay Catholics understand the how, what and why of the new translation abound. There are videos, websites, books, folding diagrams and more, all available for the asking from the U.S. bishops, diocesan offices and most Catholic publishing companies, and you don’t have to be a liturgist or Latin scholar to make sense of most.“Just start reading,” Father Gretz advised. “The more you read the more you’ll want and need to read.”
2. Be a joiner
If your parish or diocese already does have informational programming about the new translation under way (or when it does), do take advantage of the opportunity. Go. Show up. And take family and friends along with you. “For people who are nervous or apprehensive about the changes, talking with other people who have the same feelings can be helpful,” Father Hilgartner said. So can hearing explanations from people who have studied the changes in depth and come to understand the wisdom behind them. “These meetings offer people an opportunity to see the facts,” Father Gretz said. “They also offer increased exposure and the opportunity to pray through some of the prayers right now with other people. Seeing and doing that relieves much of the apprehension.” Even, however, for those who are as giddy as schoolgirls about the changes and who have been busying themselves doing research on their own, the group sessions can still be helpful. “As people ask questions, one person will often ask a question that another person never thought of,” Father Hilgartner said. “It becomes an opportunity to learn about things that people didn’t even know were up for discussion.” Lastly, he pointed out, “The liturgy is a communal act, so it makes sense that our understanding of the liturgy can be enriched by learning about it in a communal environment.”
3. Start using the new translation now
OK, lay Catholics can’t exactly say the Mass on their own, let alone say the Mass using the new English translation of the Roman Missal. Nor can priests for that matter. That has to wait for Nov. 27, the first Sunday of Advent. But that doesn’t mean Catholics can’t start praying the Nicene Creed or the Gloria according to the new translation in their own private prayers. Nor does it mean they can’t, as a family, read passages from the Mass aloud and talk about them, essentially turning the prayers into a catechetical lesson for themselves and their children. “The better people know and understand the text, the more fully they can enter into the mystery,” Father Stice said. “And one of the best ways they can do that is by becoming familiar with the text in a meaningful way.”
Check out the rest of her preparedness tips.