There have been some changes to the Mass. Here’s why…(with a lot of great resources below).
First, the essence of the Mass is not changing, there have just been some improvements to how we celebrate the Mass in English. The text of the Mass is contained in what’s called the “Roman Missal,” and this latest version is the “Third edition.” One of the key reasons for this third edition is that “after forty years of celebrating Mass in English, the Church has come to see certain areas where the English Text could be improved. Some have noted that, when the Latin text was paraphrased, a number of rich spiritual metaphors and images were lost. Important theological concepts were not always clear, and several biblical allusions did not shine out as noticeably as they could,” says Edward Sri.
If you’re into mobile apps, here’s an app for the new Mass (iPhone and Android) that’s actually really simple and helpful at guiding you through the changes. For each part of the Mass, it shows the old text, the new text and then a very short reason why they may be different. It’s a quick way to get a very brief download of why some of the changes were made.
If you’d like to learn even more, here are a few great books you should check out:
Praying the Mass, by Jeffrey Pinyan (A Guide to the New English Translation of the Mass)
This book is much more than just the reasons behind the latest updates to the English translation, but a full walk-through of how to pray the Mass. It goes through each part of the entire Mass and explains why and how we do it, while giving scripture references and also exploring the latest tweaks to the missal. It’s about 150 pages long and very accessible.
Mass Revision: How the Mass is changing and what it means for you, by Jimmy Akin
This is an amazing resource. Coming in at over 400 pages, it deals with far more than just the changes and meaning of the Mass. It digs deep into liturgical law as well, and identifies many of the forces and interests at play within the Church when it comes to liturgy. It’s an update to Akin’s 1998 book, Mass Confusion, and continues on the theme of identifying liturgical abuses and clarifying precisely how the Church indicates the Mass should be celebrated.
Here’s Jimmy Akin giving a little preview of his book:
A Guide to the New Translation of the Mass, by Edward Sri
This is a very short, 20 page pamphlet that answers your basic questions about the new translation. It answers questions like “Why do we need a new translation?” and “How significant will those changes be?” It also gives a page or two explanation for many of the changes. A quick read to get you caught up.
A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, by Edward Sri
This is another great walk-through of the Mass, with an emphasis on its biblical roots (which is natural for any study of the Mass anyway, of course!). It includes a deeper study of how the latest translation of the Mass exposes us to even more of the rich, profound connections between Scripture and the things we say at Mass.
Hope that helps! Oh, and here’s one more slightly longer video, similar to the one above, but that also goes into the process of how a new translation like this comes about. It’s an interesting process and amazing to know how much care and thought that goes into such important and significant changes to the Church’s highest prayer – the Mass.