Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Called to Serve

St. Joan of Arc Knights Newsletter - December, 2011

Fellow Knights and your Ladies,

This Advent and Christmas will be different from the previous forty-one years since Mass in English began. We have a new Missal, which, by the time you read this, will have already been inaugurated at the First Sunday of Advent Mass. If you were asked why this change is happening, how would you respond? (And, you might be asked.)

The answer, is two-fold. There have been some changes to the Latin original (Mass of Paul VI) which came out of post-Vatican Council II in 1969: several Saints have been added and their are a few changes to the Ordinary part of the Mass, especially to the dismissal; you can read about these changes (it's now called the Third Roman Missal of the Mass of Paul VI) on the St. Joan of Arc website (

There is a more important reason, however. The initial translation of the Mass of Paul VI is not as close to the Latin as the new translation. In some cases, several words would be collapsed into fewer. Conversely, some words were added which change the meaning. For example, "Let us proclaim the mystery of Faith" is now, simply, "The mystery of Faith." The "mystery" is Christ present in all of His fullness, in all He is and has done, in the Eucharist. We then respond with one of three affirmations of faith; the old translation makes it sound as though the response is the mystery. Subtle difference, isn't it? Similar differences can be found all through the revised translation. By embracing the new translation, and allowing the words to deepen our experience of the liturgy, we can come closer to Christ and His Church, and, especially, to the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

There are two primary meanings to the season of Advent: preparing to celebrate the first coming of Christ Jesus and preparing to greet Him when He comes again, at the end of time. Our preparation is particularly successful as we seek to encounter Christ Jesus everyday, hidden in the Eucharist, in our service to the poor, the sick, and the dying, and in one another. When we greet each other with Merry Christmas, let it be the culmination of a fruitful Advent. Find time to seek out the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), pray much, and rejoice in the gift of the new Mass translation.

Have a holy season of Advent and a very Merry Christmas,

Deacon Rex Pilger