Introducing the Revised Roman Missal to students

HADDON TOWNSHIP — As the Roman Catholic Church in the United States prepares to implement the new translation of the Roman Missal this weekend, the first Sunday of Advent, Camden Diocese parishes for the past few weeks have educated worshippers through sermons, and even cards in the pews, about the changes.

Likewise, Paul VI High School here is teaching students the new translation to better help them understand the third edition of the Roman Missal.

Father Michael Romano, school chaplain, met with school staff in September and October to discuss how the changes could be taught to students.

To this end, during the past month, theology classes have been showing a Powerpoint slideshow on the history of the Missal, the reasons for the changes, and the new words for such parts as the Penitential Act, the Gloria, and the Creed. Theology teachers are presenting it to their freshmen, sophomore and junior classes, while Father Romano himself has taught the senior classes.

Containing all the prayers and description of the actions making up the celebration of the Mass, the Roman Missal (Missale Romanum) was first published universally, in its original Latin text, in 1570. The missal was unchanged for 400 years until 1963, when the Second Vatican Council in 1963 announced a revision, and after a new Latin translation in 1970, the first English translation of the Missal was published in 1974. In 1985, a second edition of the English translation came out with minor changes.

In 2000, Pope John Paul II announced the upcoming publication of the third edition of the Roman Missal, and in 2002, the new Latin translation was published. In 2010, the Vatican approved the new English translation.

The teaching of the new Missal “gives students an opportunity to understand where it’s coming from, the reasons for the changes, and even teach their own parents about it, and help them get prepared,” said Father Romano.

In addition, Modern Language teachers have brought the Missal into their Spanish, Italian and French classes.

The classes “bring the faith across the curriculum,” said Mariassunta Barrucci, who teaches Spanish and Italian.

In her classes, she has students look at the original Latin text of the Roman Missal, and then she (or her students) will translate the Latin in Spanish or Italian, and then to the old and new English translation, and see how close the translations are to each other.

The goal is “to show them, through a language perspective, how the Catholic Church is doing this, why we’re making this change.”

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