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Some changes to the
Order of Mass

 

ADVENT 2020

Dear Friends
 
I am writing to you at the beginning of this new Church Year to explain some slight changes to the words at Mass that you may notice as we come back into church for public worship once again.
 
The Church of England has celebrated the liturgy in English since the 1500s when the Latin Mass was translated and helped form The Book of Common Prayer, thus leading the way by celebrating the liturgies of the church in the ordinary language of the people.
 
Fast forward to the late 20th century, and we find the Church of England modernising the Tudor English of its liturgy at the same time as the Roman Catholic Church published its first translations of the Latin Mass into many languages, including English.
 
Unfortunately, these 1970s updates and translations were done in a bit of a rush and the result wasn’t all that faithful to the original texts. By the beginning of the 21st century, this was realised to be a mistake, and this time it was the Roman Catholic Church that led the way; new English translations were published that are more authentic and closer to the original liturgies of the early church.
 
At St Pancras Old Church we have been slowly introducing these more faithful translations into our order of Mass, thereby deepening the sense of the sacred and drawing us closer to the divine mystery of God.

This Advent we will be updating a few more of the words in Mass. Most changes are very subtle but each of them brings us closer to the ancient liturgy of the church and expresses our unity with Catholic Christians across world.

However, I thought it would be helpful to explain the most noticeable change. When the priest says, The Lord be with you, we will now respond, And with your spirit, instead of And also with you.
 
This reflects more accurately the Latin text of the Mass, et cum spiritu tuo, in exactly the same way as it was translated in The Book of Common Prayer back in the 16th century.
 
And with your Spirit also reflects the language of greeting in the Lord used by the early Christians and found in the New Testament.
 
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen. Galatians 6:18
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Philippians 4:23
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. 2 Timothy 4:22

And at its heart this dialogue has a theological meaning, as it is most often spoken in the Mass between the priest and the people.  By responding “And with your spirit,” the gathered people of God are praying that the Holy Spirit will work through the actions of the priest bringing Jesus to them:

By summoning them together in the Lord’s name at the beginning of Mass
By proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.
By making him present in the bread and wine of the altar.
And by calling down God’s blessing on them at the dismissal. 
 
I hope that this and the other small changes in the prayers of the Mass will help you enter more deeply into the mystery of God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Click below for details of the online daily Advent reflections and weekly broadcast.
 
Every blessing for a holy Advent
Fr James
Daily Advent Reflections
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