Assembly: The people of God, all who are gathered together by Christ, form a holy people, a royal priesthood. This includes the priest, liturgical ministers, and all the people. Through their participation in the liturgy, they become one body. They do this to offer thanks and praise to God, and to “offer the spotless Victim not only through the hands of the priest but also together with him, so that they may learn to offer themselves” (GIRM, 95; quoting CSL, 48).
Comme le prévoit: This 1969 document outlines the first principles used for translation from Latin to the vernacular. Originally released in French, it focuses on the translation principle of dynamic equivalence. The document states that the task of translation must take into account the meaning of each word and phrase and translate that meaning into the new language. The translation is to consider those for whom the new text is intended, while remaining faithful to the Latin.
Concluding Rites: Simple and direct, the Concluding Rites send the people forth to do the work of Christ in the world.
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDWDS): This Congregation in Rome is responsible for the implementation of the liturgy and its reform throughout the world. Its primary work is safeguarding the treasury of the liturgy in the Church. The CDWDS reviews the texts approved by the bishops’ conferences, makes whatever changes deemed necessary, and submits the final version of the translation to the Holy Father for the recognitio on all liturgical texts.
Consilium: This group was established by Pope Paul VI early in 1964 as part of the Sacred Congregation of Rites to carry out the directives found in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, and for the interpretation and practical implementation of the same Constitution.
Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (CSL): Promulgated on December 3, 1963, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy is the foundational document from the Second Vatican Council on the renewal of the Sacred Liturgy. It is here that we find such principles as full, conscious, and active participation, the manifold presence of Christ in the Liturgy, and the introduction of the vernacular into the liturgy. This document continues to be the driving force for the ongoing renewal of worship in the Roman Catholic Church.
Formal Equivalence: This translation principle holds that words and phrases in Latin are translated literally and exactly into the vernacular. Significance is placed on the exact meaning of each word translated with an emphasis on faithful and literal adherence to the original Latin text. This principle has guided the translations of The Roman Missal and other liturgical texts since 2001.
General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM): The GIRM lays out the foundation for the celebration of the liturgy. It gives the standards, or rubrics, by which the celebration is to be carried out. This instruction is general in that it applies to the manner of the entire celebration of the liturgy, not just to a particular topic or issue.
Green Book: In the process of translation of liturgical texts, such as the work involved with the revision of the Missale Romanum, the “first draft” of texts released in the vernacular are given to the bishops for review. In the United States, these texts were released in a “Green Book,” thus the title has been given. The Green Book texts are open to revision and are most often released years before the final version.
Instruction: An instruction is an order or manual issued by the Holy See for how to proceed on a particular topic. Since the Second Vatican Council, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (and its precursor, the Sacred Congregation of Rites) has issued various instructions on topics for the implementation and renewal of the liturgy.
Instructions on the Right Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy: Five particular Instructions on the practical implementation of the liturgical renewal have been issued since the Second Vatican Council by the Congregation for Divine Worship and its precursor. These instructions are as follows:
- Inter Oecumenici, September 26, 1964: The first instruction on the implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (CSL), this document gave the first practical principles for the liturgical renewal. Included are concrete standards such as the basis for liturgical translations and the establishment of Liturgical Commissions for Assemblies of Bishops.
- Tres Abhinc Annos, May 4, 1967: Issued three years later, this second instruction contains further adaptations to the liturgy that were approved prior to the release of the renewed liturgy itself. Released by the Consilium, it recognized the growing “intense participation of the faithful” and the need to increase that participation, so that the liturgical rites could be “clearer and better understood” (Introduction).
- Liturgicae Instaurationes, September 5, 1970: Issued after the promulgation of the Missale Romanum first typical edition, and following approval and confirmation of the first Order of Mass in English for the United States, this document contains principles and suggestions to help bishops implement the new liturgical norms, especially those found in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. In other words, it contains “highlights” of the principles of the liturgical reform that should be kept in mind for the implementation of the (at that time) new edition of The Roman Missal.
- Varietates Legitimae, March 29, 1994: Issued almost 25 years after the third instruction, this fourth instruction acknowledges the important task of letting the liturgy take root in different cultures by setting forth the principles for cultural adaptation. In particular, it defines and outlines the correct procedure for the implementation of the Constitution’s articles 37 through 40.
- Liturgiam Authenticam, March 28, 2001: The fifth instruction contains the principles for translation of the books of the Roman Liturgy into the vernacular. “In preparing all translations of the liturgical books, the greatest care is to be taken to maintain the identity and unitary expression of the Roman Rite” (LA, 5) With the experience of the renewal of the liturgy over the previous years, this instruction asserts that it is time to “consider anew the true notion of liturgical translation in order that the translations of the Sacred Liturgy into the vernacular languages may stand secure as the authentic voice of the Church of God” (LA, 7).
International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL): This Commission is charged with the work of translating liturgical texts into English. ICEL is a mixed commission of bishop’s conferences in which English is the primary language, and its membership is made up of one bishop from these countries. The professional staff of the commission engages language and liturgical scholars in the work of translation. The idea of “language groups” from different countries pooling resources to produce vernacular texts was first discussed by bishops attending the Second Vatican Council.
Introductory Rites: The purpose of the Introductory Rites is to “ensure that the faithful who come together as one establish communion and dispose themselves to listen properly to God’s word and to celebrate the Eucharist worthily” (GIRM, 46). As we are gathered together by Christ, the Introductory Rites serve to unite and prepare the people for the celebration. There are several parts to the Introductory Rites:
- Greeting: In the Sign of the Cross and greeting of the people, the priest “signifies the presence of the Lord to the community gathered” (GIRM, 50).
- Penitential Act: All take part in this general confession of sin, using one of three formulas. The formulas are recitation of the Confiteor (“I confess to Almighty God…”) or one of two dialogues between the priest and the people. It concludes with the absolution, read by the priest. The Penitential Act “lacks the efficacy of the Sacrament of Penance” (GIRM, 51).
- Kyrie: This litany of praise follows the Penitential Act, unless it was included in the form of the Penitential Act itself.
- Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling Holy Water: During the Easter season, and on other feast days where it may be appropriate, the blessings and sprinkling of water may be used in place of the Penitential Act. It is a reminder of Baptism through the sprinkling of baptismal water and singing of a refrain.
- Gloria: This hymn of glory “entreats God the Father and the Lamb” (GIRM, 53) The Gloria is normally sung, and is not used in the seasons of Advent or Lent (except for solemnities and feasts of the Lord).
- Collect: A Collect is a prayer which brings together the prayers of all who are gathered in one voice. The first Collect at the celebration of the Eucharist is the Opening Prayer. It begins with an invitation to silent prayer (“Let us pray”); after a short silence, during which all bring to mind the presence of God and formulate their petitions, the priest prays the collect in the name of all. The Opening Prayer at Mass often reflects the character of the celebration or the season of the year.
Liturgical participation: Defined by the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy as “full, conscious, and active” (CSL, 14), liturgical participation is the action of all who are gathered together by Christ for the celebration of the liturgy. This is both a right and an obligation of all Catholics. This kind of participation takes many forms, including listening to the word of God, joining in the prayers and responses, singing in praise and worship, taking part in communal silence, and above all by joining in the sacrifice and taking part in the Table of the Lord at Holy Communion.
Liturgy of the Eucharist: The celebration of the Eucharist is both paschal sacrifice and banquet, offering and meal. In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the priest prays in the name of all present, following the command of Christ, “this is my Body…this is my Blood…do this in memory of me.”
- Preparation of the Gifts: The gifts of bread and wine and brought to the table during this time. It is also appropriate to bring forward the collection for the Church and gifts for the poor at this time.
- Prayer over the Gifts: This is the second Collect prayer proper to the Mass. The priest once again prays in the name of all present, and all respond by making the prayer their own through the Amen.
- Eucharistic Prayer: the Eucharistic Prayer is the “center and summit of the entire celebration” (GIRM, 78). Made up of several sections, the meaning of the prayer is “that the entire congregation of the faithful should join itself with Christ in confessing the great deeds of God and in the offering of the Sacrifice” (GIRM ,78).
- Sanctus/Holy, Holy, Holy: In this acclamation, all join with the heavenly hosts in praising God.
- Institution Narrative: Through the words and actions of Christ, the sacrifice is carried out. Not only do the faithful offer this Sacrifice of Christ, “but also learn to offer themselves” to God through Christ so that “God may be all in all” (GIRM, 79f).
- Mystery of Faith: Following the words of Institution, the Mystery of Faith acclaims our remembrance of the memorial of Christ, his Passion, death, and Resurrection, and our participation in it.
- The Fraction: The Breaking of the Bread takes place, following the example of Christ breaking bread at the Last Supper. The many are made one through the reception of this body and this blood. The Lamb of God accompanies this action.
- Invitation to Holy Communion: The faithful are invited to the banquet of Christ. The words of the revised edition of The Roman Missal at this time reference the Gospel story of the centurion who asked for healing from Jesus, but did not feel worthy to have Christ come “under his roof.” In Latin, this part of the Mass is referred to as the Ecce Agnus Dei.
- Prayer after Communion: The final Collect prayer of the Mass, this prayer brings the Communion Rite to a close.
Liturgy of the Word: This is where the faithful hear the word of God proclaimed and explained, where God speaks to the people “opening up to them the mystery of redemption and salvation, and offering them spiritual nourishment” (GIRM, 55).
- Silence: An often overlooked part of the Liturgy of the Word, silent meditation is an essential element so that “the word of God may be grasped by the heart and a response through prayer may be prepared” (GIRM, 56).
- Profession of Faith or Creed: The purpose of the Creed is to respond to the Word of God by calling to mind the great mysteries of the faith and confessing them in common.
- Prayer of the Faithful: Finally, the people respond to the word of God by praying for all those in need, for the salvation of all.
Orations: Oration is the Latin word for prayer. The term "orations" commonly refers to the three “collect” prayers of the priest, which are proper to a particular Mass—the Opening Prayer, the Prayer over the Gifts, and the Prayer after Communion.
Order of Mass: The word "order" itself has two definitions: to arrange and to regulate. Order as used in the “Order of Mass” is both, for it defines the manner in which we pray the Eucharist, the texts that we use at the liturgy, and the sequence that is followed. The Order of Mass, therefore, is not only the framework of the celebration of the Eucharist, but the text of the prayer itself. The Order of Mass contains the texts and responses of the priest and the people as well as the parts of the celebration. This part of the Mass does not change from celebration to celebration.
Priest celebrant: The priest celebrant is the one who, by virtue of his ordination, offers the sacrifice in the person of Christ. He presides at the celebration of the Eucharist, leading all in the prayers, and in particular praying the Eucharistic Prayer. The priest celebrant “associates the people with himself in the offering of sacrifice through Christ in the Holy Spirit to God the Father, gives his brothers and sisters the Bread of eternal life, and partakes of it with them” (GIRM, 93).
Promulgation: Promulgation is the formal announcement of when a new action is to take effect. In this case, the promulgation is the date when the use of the revised edition of The Roman Missal is to be effective in the dioceses of the United States. The new texts, including the Order of Mass, may not be used before this date. The promulgation date for the revised texts is November 27, 2011 (First Sunday of Advent).
Ratio Translationis: Using the principles of Liturgiam Authenticam as a base, a ratio translationis contains guidelines that are specific to a particular vernacular language. These guidelines are to be used by translators within a given language group. The Ratio Translationis for the English Language was issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 2007.
Recognitio: The Holy Father grants recognitio to liturgical texts. The recognitio is normally accompanied by a date for promulgation. The newly translated texts of the third edition of The Roman Missal may not be used in the liturgy until the date specified by the recognitio.
Rubric: A rubric is a standard by which one measures a particular action. In the case of the liturgy, the rubrics contain the instructions for the how the celebration of the liturgy is to be carried out. The word itself references the color red that was originally used to distinguish the instructions from the prayers in the printing of liturgical books.
Sacramentary: The Sacramentary contains the Order of Mass, prayers, and rubrics for the celebration of the liturgy. The traditional use of the term is for a book that holds the prayers and chants of the priest at the Mass. With the third edition of the Missale Romanum, we find the return to the more accurate use of the term “Roman Missal” for the book which guides the celebration of the Liturgy. The Roman Missal contains several sections in addition to the Order of Mass itself. These include:
Proper of Seasons: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Triduum, Easter, and Ordinary Time. This section contains the proper prayers for each of the days within the seasons of the liturgical year.
- Proper of Saints: The calendar of the solemnities, feasts, and memorials of the saints. Each celebration is given a liturgical rank—optional memorial, obligatory memorial, feast, solemnity—that helps guide the level of solemnity of the celebration. Celebrations found in the proper of higher liturgical rank have proper prayers that are found in this section.
- Commons: These are common prayers that may be used for celebrations of that do not have proper prayers. These include prayers for celebrations in honor of Mary, the saints, and the dedication of a church.
- Ritual Masses: Here one finds the proper prayers for various rituals of the Church, such as Holy Orders, Baptism, or Confirmation.
- Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions: In this section one finds suggestions for use at Masses for various needs and special occasions. This is an especially useful resource for celebrations related to civic or public needs.
- Votive Masses: These Masses are “the mysteries of the Lord or in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary or of the Angels or of any given Saint or of all the Saints” (GIRM, 375). Along with Masses for Various Needs and Occasions and Ritual Masses, use of these Masses is to follow the norms of the liturgical calendar and the rubrics laid out in Chapter VII of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
- Masses for the Dead: The Church offers various Masses for the dead—chief among them the Funeral Mass—“since all the members of the Christ’s body are in communion with each other, the petition for spiritual help on behalf of some may bring comforting hope to others” (GIRM, 379).
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship: Made up of representative Bishops from throughout the United States, the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship “has the responsibility for all matters relating to the Liturgy.” The committee assists the Bishops in carrying out their roles as the chief liturgists of their diocese. Materials relating to the revised edition of The Roman Missal have come into the work of this committee in preparation for presentation to the entire body of U.S. bishops.
Vox Clara: Meaning “clear voice,” this committee, under the authority of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, was formed in order to provide counsel on the work of translating sacred texts from Latin into English. Comprised of Bishops from several English-speaking countries, Vox Clara works with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments as well as the English-speaking bishop’s conferences to offer advice on the many levels of work involved in the translation of the revised edition of The Roman Missal.
White Book: Within the process of translation of a liturgical text, “final draft” versions are released to the bishops for review. In the United States, these texts have been released in a “White Book”, thus the title has been given. The White Book texts take into account the suggestions and revisions that resulted from the review of the Green Book. It is from the White Book that bishop’s conferences vote for final approval of texts, before they are sent to Rome for recognitio.
It should be noted that in the current process of translation of the revised Missale Romanum, the White Book versions of texts in the Missal were voted on in groups (November 2008, June 2009, and November 2009) by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The approved texts were sent as a whole to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for recognitio. Recognitio was granted on March 25, 2010, and was formally announced on April 30, 2010.