What Is The Roman Missal?

By Jill Maria Murdy

Over the past several years, you have heard much through newspapers, blog postings, and Twitter about the forthcoming revised English translation of The Roman Missal. You may be wondering, "What is The Roman Missal, and how does this translation affect us?"

Take notice of the red book the priest uses most often during Mass. This book is called The Sacramentary, which together with the Lectionary for Mass make up The Roman Missal. The Missal is the collection of prayers, chants, and instructions (rubrics) used to celebrate Mass. This includes prayers such as the Sign of the Cross and opening greeting; Opening Prayers; Gloria; Creed; Eucharistic Prayers; Holy, Holy, Holy; Memorial Acclamations; and the final blessing. The majority of the prayers we recite or sing at Mass are contained in this book and it is these prayers that are currently being retranslated from the original Latin into English.

In the early Christian Church, many of the Mass prayers were memorized and handed down orally. Scribes eventually collected the prayers and recorded them in liber sacramentum (book of sacraments or sacramentaries). Other books were used for the scripture readings: Lectionaries and a Book of the Gospels (Evangeliary) for the scripture readings, and additional books for the chants and antiphons. Slight changes and additions developed as manuscripts were handed on and hand scribed. Eventually the chants, scripture readings, prayer texts, and instructions were compiled into a single volume, the Missale Plenum (complete missal). When Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable printing press in 1470, this allowed the Mass texts to become standardized and published universally. In 1474, the first Missale Romanum (Roman Missal) was printed in Latin and the texts contained in this volume evolved over the five ensuing centuries.

Because the amount of scripture proclaimed at Mass increased following the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the Missale Romanum (Roman Missal) was divided into two separate books: The Lectionary for Mass (four volumes of Sacred Scripture) and The Sacramentary (prayers, chants, and instructions [rubrics] for the celebration of the Mass). The Lectionary texts for the dioceses of the United States were revised in 1998 and are currently used in the liturgy. The texts that are found in the current Sacramentary have been retranslated and will eventually be used in English-speaking countries. With this translation, the name of the book will change from The Sacramentary to The Roman Missal, an English translation of the Latin title, Missale Romanum.

All of the prayers we say in English have corresponding Latin texts. After the Second Vatican Council, the Latin texts were translated into the vernacular, or common language, of particular regions. The first English translation of The Roman Missal was completed quickly in 1969. It aimed for a "spirit" of the texts rather than an exact literal translation of the Latin words. A second revision of these texts occurred in 1975. In 2001, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the liturgical commission in Rome, issued a document outlining the methodology and process for translating liturgical texts into vernacular languages. This document, Liturgiam Authenticum, called for a more literal translation of the original Latin, and so a group of scholars, poets, and theologians convened and worked painstakingly on providing a third English translation. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments announced recognitio on April 30, 2010. These texts will be implemented on November 27, 2011, the First Sunday of Advent.

When the English translation is used, you will notice slight changes in the prayers we hear and say at Mass. For example, we will soon respond, "And with your spirit" to "The Lord be with you." Being faithful to the original Latin prayers will enhance the meaning of the texts. They will be more poetic, and there will be a more obvious connection to the scriptural roots of our prayers. There is an old axiom, lex orandi, lex credendi. This means that "the law of prayer is the law of faith" or "that which we pray is that which we believe." This is why the prayers of the Church are so important and why the Church has initiated the process of revising the English translation. The words of our prayers are what we believe as a Church and form us as the body of Christ.

This article is also available as a free PDF to download and distribute in your parish bulletin.

Preparation Timeline

First: Prepare Yourself

Study the prayers: Go to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Web site to pray and read the prayers of the Mass. The site provides the full texts of the Order of Mass. (The Holy See announced recognitio on April 30, 2010.)

Read up on the third edition of The Roman Missal: At Liturgy Training Publications' Revised Roman Missal Web site, study the articles “Translating the Roman Missal," by Father Robert Tuzik, PhD., published in the November/December 2008 issue of Pastoral Liturgy®, and “The Christian Initiation Masses in the Missale Romanum, by Father Paul Turner, published in the March 2004 Catechumenate. Look to Revised Roman Missal.org also for catechetical blogs; stories from parishes on formation; the latest news on the third edition of The Roman Missal, and links to resources and workshops.

Continue to read up on the missal on Father Paul Turner’s Web site. On the “Roman Missal” section of the site are his magazine articles, published in, among others, America, Celebrate, and Ministry and Liturgy, and addresses to the Liturgy Seminar at the Toronto School of Theology, September 2009, the National Association of Pastoral Musicians Convention July 2009, and conference on Liturgiam Authenticam at the Liturgical Institute, October 2004. Turner serves as a facilitator for the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. 

Subscribe to free podcasts, RSS feeds: The Mystical Body, Mystical Voice Web site provides downloadable short explanations on the liturgy and revised missal, MP3 audio files, and downloadable bulletin inserts. Mystical Body, Mystical Voice is an initiative of The Liturgical Institute of the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois, to provide a sacramental approach to the revised missal and liturgical renewal. 

Study the historical development of the liturgy: For a concise history of the liturgy that includes a chapter on receiving and implementing the third edition of The Roman Missal, read The Genius of the Roman Rite: On the Reception and Implementation of the New Missal, by Keith F. Pecklers, published by Liturgical Press in 2009.

Stay current: Besides USCCB.org and LTP.org, visit the blogs on this Web site, which discuss, in detail, the translation and the pastoral needs for preparation and implementation. These blogs are written and updated each week by D. Todd Williamson, the director of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Divine Worship; Sandra Dooley, former director of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles' Office for Divine Worship; and Christopher Carstens, director of the Diocese of LaCrosse's Office of Sacred Worship. In this particular entry, D. Todd Williamson discusses the importance of creating a parish plan for catechesis and implementation.

Place on the agenda: A discussion of the third edition of The Roman Missal on your support group’s agenda.

Make reservations: Reserve a space at a revised Roman Missal workshop. Go either to the USCCB Web site or Mystical Body, Mystical Voice.org for a workshop schedule and registration information.

Photo by Anna ManhartSecond: Meet with Parish Staff

Share with your staff and ministry volunteers the material that you have found beneficial on The Roman Missal. Determine a time during weekly staff meetings to discuss the revised edition of The Roman Missal. Set up a meeting to decide a plan for catechizing the parish. Begin praying the parts of the Mass together. Consider praying lectio divina monthly as a group with the revised prayer texts. With your staff review the Understanding the Revised Mass Texts, Second Edition by Paul Turner and the Understanding the Revised Mass Texts Leader’s Edition, Second Edition by Paul Turner and Kathy Coffey. Determine the number that are needed for the parish. Order them from Liturgy Training Publications

Determine a budget with your stewardship/finance team. An editable budget form is available on this Web site. Begin to brainstorm on people and businesses to partner with to decrease costs to make catechesis and implementation of the missal financially feasible.

Third: Spread the Word in the Parish

Gather with liturgical ministers: Using Understanding the Revised Mass Texts and the Leader’s Edition bring together liturgical ministers for eight weekly sessions exploring the reasons and process for the new translation and the parts of the Mass. During the ninth week, gather with participants in the church or the chapel for a “dry Mass” in which the revised translation is prayed. After this “dry Mass,” open up a discussion in which the attendees state their reaction to the prayers. Some might be pleasantly surprised. For some, the poetry, in some of its phrasing, may resonate with them. For others, it will not. Be non-judgmental when an unfavorable reaction is expressed. Among this first study group, ask for volunteers to lead sessions with others in the parish. Determine when the next sessions will begin. Supplemental resources for the booklet and Leader's Edition are available on this Web site for free.

Use the bulletin as a resource: Introduce the revised texts in your weekly pastoral letter. Also, designate a liturgy corner in the bulletin that will contain information on the liturgy each week. 

Meet with the principal and/or the director of religious education for the school. Offer yourself as a resource. Provide the timeline for implementation of the revised Mass texts. Recommend that the staff develop a timeline to educate the teachers and catechists about the revised Mass texts. Inform them about the resources you have used to learn about the third edition of The Roman Missal. Introduce them to the Understanding the Revised Mass Texts booklet and the Leader’s Edition. Suggest ordering those for the teachers to study using the parish’s budget. (Remember that catechesis on the revised texts will benefit the parish.)

Meet with the facilitators of small groups in the parish who are studying the Understanding the Revised Mass Text booklets. Let the group share the common wisdom they have gained while leading the sessions. Provide guidance in dealing with questions that arise in sessions. Help them determine how to choose leaders from their groups.

Invite liturgical ministers who attended the first group of sessions to lead training sessions with parishioners. Schedule the training session. Ask the facilitators to offer to make study sessions part of regular meetings with the parents association, small faith group, Bible study group, Knights of Columbus, Altar and Rosary Society meeting, or other organization to which they belong.

Download bulletin inserts on the revised texts from RevisedRomanMissal.org.

Purchase subscriptions to Pastoral Liturgy® to read each issue’s article on The Roman Missal.

Visit RevisedRomanMissal.org for news. Download the homily slated for recognitio, making adaptations for your parish.

Stuff bulletins with the Understanding the Revised Mass Texts pamphlet “Why and How Are the Mass Texts Being Revised.” Assess the budget. If this has not been done already, determine how to pay for The Roman Missal, new hymnals for the assembly, and music for instrumentalists. Perhaps partnering with friends of the parish can help defray the cost. 

Determine a schedule for preaching during Mass on the revised Mass texts. Implementation will occur on November 27, 2011, the First Sunday of Advent.

Meet with the staff to determine further catechesis in the parish and school.

Listen to the CD Prepare and Pray: Eucharistic Prayers I, II, III, IV, recorded by Bishop J. Peter Sartain © 2009 World Library Publications.

A

­­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).

C

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.

F

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.

G

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.

I

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.

L

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.

O

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. 

P

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).

R

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.

S

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). 

U

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.

V

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.

W

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.

 

Current Translation

Revised Translation

The Greeting The Greeting
A.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

And also with you.
A.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit
be with you all.

And with your spirit.

 
B.
The grace and peace of God our Father and Lord
Jesus Christ be with you.

Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
or
And also with you.

 
B.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

And with your spirit.

C.
The Lord be with you.
 

And also with you.
 

C.
The Lord be with you.
 

And with your spirit.

Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 1973, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved. Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved.
   

   
Penitential Rite,
Option 1: The Confiteor
Penitential Act,
Option 1: The Confiteor
I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins,
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.
I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have
  failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins,
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.
Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 1973, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved. Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved.
   

   
Penitential Rite, Option 2 Penitential Act, Option 2

Lord, we have sinned against you:
Lord, have mercy.
 

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your mercy and love.
 

And grant us your salvation.

May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins,
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

Have mercy on us, O Lord.
 

For we have sinned against you.
 

Show us, O Lord, your mercy.
 

And grant us your salvation.

May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins,
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 1973, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved. Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved.
   

   
The Gloria The Gloria
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
       we worship you, we give you thanks,
       we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
       have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
       receive our prayer.

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
       Jesus Christ,
       with the Holy Spirit,
       in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.

We praise you,
we bless you,
we adore you,
we glorify you,
we give you thanks for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly King,
O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world,
       have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world,
       receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father,
       have mercy on us.

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.
Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 1973, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved. Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved.
   

   
The Creed The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
       the only Son of God,
       eternally begotten of the Father,
       God from God, Light from Light,
       true God from true God,
       begotten, not made, one in Being
               with the Father.
       Through him all things were made.
       For us men and for our salvation
           he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
       he was born of the Virgin Mary,
               and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under
    Pontius Pilate;
       he suffered, died, and was buried.
       On the third day he rose again
           in fulfillment of the Scriptures;
       he ascended into heaven
           and is seated at the right hand
               of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living
    and the dead,
       and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver
   of life,
       who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
       With the Father and the Son he is
               worshipped and glorified.
       He has spoken through the Prophets.
       We believe in one holy catholic
               and apostolic Church.
       We acknowledge one baptism for the
               forgiveness of sins.
       We look for the resurrection of the dead,
          and the life of the world to come. Amen.
I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial
   with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate
of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under
    Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored
    and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection
    of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 1973, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved. Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved.
   

   
The Preface Dialogue The Preface Dialogue
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.
The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right and just.
Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 1973, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved. Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved.
   

   
Sanctus (Holy, holy, holy) Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy)
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name
    of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name
    of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 1973, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved. Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved.
   

   
Institution Narrative Institution Narrative
Take this, all of you, and eat it:
this is my body which will be given up for you.

Take this, all of you, and drink from it:
this is the cup of my blood,
the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.
It will be shed for you and for all
so that sins may be forgiven.
Do this in memory of me.

Take this, all of you, and eat of it,
for this is my Body,
which will be given up for you.

Take this, all of you, and drink from it,
for this is the chalice of my Blood,
the Blood of the new and eternal covenant,
which will be poured out for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this in memory of me.

Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 1973, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved. Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved.
   

   
Memorial Acclamations The Mystery of Faith
Let us proclaim the mystery of faith: The mystery of faith.
A.
Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.
A.
We proclaim your Death, O Lord,
and profess your Resurrection
until you come again.

 
B.
Dying you destroyed our death,
rising you restored our life.
Lord Jesus, come in glory.

 
B.
When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup,
we proclaim your Death, O Lord,
until you come again.

 
C.
When we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus,
until you come in glory.

 
C.
Save us, Savior of the world,
for by your Cross and Resurrection
you have set us free.

 
D.
Lord, by your cross and resurrection
you have set us free.
You are the Savior of the world.
 
Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 1973, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved. Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved.
   

   
Doxology Doxology
Through him, with him, in him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father,
forever and ever.
Amen.
Through him, and with him, and in him,
O God, almighty Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor is yours,
for ever and ever.
Amen.
Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 1973, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved. Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved.
   

   
Embolism Embolism
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil,
and grant us peace in our day.
In your mercy keep us free from sin
and protect us from all anxiety
as we wait in joyful hope for the coming
   of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may always be free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 1973, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved. Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved.
   

   
Sign of Peace Sign of Peace
Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles:
I leave you peace, my peace I give you.
Look not on our sins, but on the faith
   of your Church,
and grant us peace and unity of your kingdom
where you live for ever and ever.
Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ,
who said to your Apostles,
Peace I leave you, my peace I give you,
Look not on our sins,
but on the faith of your Church,
and graciously grant her peace and unity
in accordance with your will.
Who live and reign forever and ever.
Amen.
Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 1973, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved. Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved.
   

   
Invitation to Holy Communion Invitation to Holy Communion
This is the Lamb of God
who takes away the sins of the world.
Happy are those who are called to his supper.

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
but only say the word and I shall be healed.
Behold the Lamb of God,
behold him who takes away the sins of the world.
Blessed are those called to the supper
    of the Lamb.

Lord, I am not worthy
that you should enter under my roof,
but only say the word
and my soul shall be healed.
Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 1973, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved. Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved.
   

   
Final Dismissal Final Dismissal
A.
Go in the peace of Christ.

 
A.
Go forth, the Mass is ended.

 
B.
The Mass is ended, go in peace.

 
B.
Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.

 
C.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

 
C.
Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.

D.
Go in peace.

Thanks be to God.
Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 1973, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved. Excerpts from the English translation of The Order of Mass from The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved.