The new English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal will come into full use in November. CNS photo

Dear Brother and Sisters,

At the recent meeting of the Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, the bishops decided upon the implementation of the new revised translation of the Roman Missal.

So, towards the end of this year, a new revised English translation of the Roman Missal will come into use throughout the English-speaking world and in all the parishes of our Archdiocese.

The Roman Missal is the book which contains the prayers and texts of the Mass. The new Revised Roman Missal with its new English translation will come fully into use on 27th November, the First Sunday of Advent, and from that date onwards, the third edition of the Roman Missal (England and Wales) will be the only English-language version of the Mass which is authorised for use in Singapore.

My dear Brothers and Sisters, as your Archbishop, I want to underscore the fundamental importance of this matter, because these texts will be used for our Sunday and daily Masses for years to come. This is the form of the Mass we will need to be familiar with, and which our young people and children will also begin to learn and use very soon.

This new revised Roman Missal is essentially a new translation of the original Latin.

As Catholics in Singapore, we are part of the Latin-Rite Catholic Church. Even though we do not necessarily speak or read or understand Latin any more, nor do we use it very much in liturgy and worship, Latin is our tradition and patrimony.

It is in “Church” Latin that the Mass and much of our sacramental worship is first written down.

This is one of the reasons why the new translation is deliberately closer to the original Latin, so that it captures more fully the theological and spiritual meaning of the original text, thereby allowing it to slowly seep into our minds and hearts, affecting how we assimilate the true faith through our worship in the liturgy.

The great Latin motto and axiom regarding the liturgy is lex orandi, lex credendi , lex vivendi, (the rule of worship, is the rule of belief, is the rule of life). How we worship not only reveals and guards what we believe but guides us in how we live our Christian faith and fulfil our Christian mission in the world by manifesting the continuing presence of the Risen Jesus Christ.

How the Church worships is a prophetic witness to the truth of what she professes. Good worship becomes a dynamic means of drawing the entire human community into the fullness of life and mission in Jesus Christ. It attracts – through beauty to Beauty.

Liturgical worship informs and transforms both the person and the worshipping community that participates in it. That is why getting the text right is getting the liturgy right, and it in turn makes right our lives and social mission in Jesus Christ.

In the Catholic Church, the Mass, no matter the language, is our form of worship, but the texts we use are there to help us worship the one true God in our own language and to express the true nature of the Mass as the sacrament of the Sacrifice of Christ, in which we are sanctified at the table of the Word and of the Eucharist.

The texts express and preserve the sanctity and sacredness of the Mass; with direct and indirect allusions to the Scriptures they nourish our imagination, intelligence and emotions to the great themes of the mystery of faith.

The texts are means by which we participate fully in the Mass and by which the Mass becomes accessible and close to us in our own language.

In this new translation, the Mass as you know it will remain fundamentally the same, however, you will see changes both to the people’s parts and the priest’s parts, to the proper prayers of the Mass which change from week to week and day to day.

There will be slight changes in the I Confess, the Glory to God, the Creed, the Eucharistic Prayers and certain responses. For instance, the simplest and bestknown response of all, “The Lord be with you – And also with you” will be changed to “The Lord be with you – And with your Spirit”. All of us, priests and laity, will need to get used to the new texts.

These prayers are our inheritance from all who came before us, and the legacy that we hand on to those who will follow us. Thus, we continue to be the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church”. In obedience to the teaching authority of our Church, let us avoid straying from these words that were chosen carefully.

For this reason, to help us get used to some of the new texts, what we call “The Order of Mass”, that is the parts of the Mass that do not change from day to day or week to week, these will start to be used during the month of September of this year.

This will give us two months to familiarise and prepare ourselves for the entry into use of the full implementation of the new Roman Missal on the First Sunday of Advent.

From now we should seize this time as a catechetical opportunity to explore why there is a new translation, what the differences mean, to renew our understanding of the Mass, and even to start learning the new simple sung musical settings of the parts of the Mass contained in the new Roman Missal.

Therefore, I encourage everyone in our Archdiocese to study the new texts and prayerfully reflect upon their meaning. And May God bless you all!

Devotedly yours in Christ,
Archbishop Nicholas Chia, DD STL

IN SUMMARY:
  • The new Revised Roman Missal will come into full use on Nov 27, the First Sunday of Advent.
  • This is the form of the Mass which Catholics in Singapore will need to be familiar with, and which young people and children will begin to learn and use.
  • The new texts express and preserve the sanctity and sacredness of the Mass.
  • The Mass will remain fundamentally the same except for some changes, such as to the parts prayed by the people and priest.
  • The new “Order of Mass” will be used starting this September.
  • The Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission has been tasked to implement the new Roman Missal.

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