(USCCB) — Six years of intense work on the English translation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal are drawing to an end with five action items set to be voted on by the U.S. Catholic Bishops at their meeting in Baltimore, November 16-19.
Divine Worship items include votes on ICEL (International Committee for English in the Liturgy) Gray Book (final draft) translations, of the Proper of Saints, the Commons and the Roman Missal Supplement as well as the U.S. Propers and the U.S. adaptations to the Roman Missal. Approval of these items requires the positive vote of two-thirds of the Latin Church members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and subsequent confirmation by the Holy See.
The Proper of Saints is the collection of the specific prayers provided for each saint included in the universal liturgical calendar. The Commons is a collection of general prayers provided for celebrating other saints listed in the Roman Martyrology who are not included in the universal liturgical calendar.
ICEL began its work of translation of the new Missale Romanum in 2002. The first drafts, or “green books,” arrived at the bishops’ conferences of the English-speaking countries in 2004, and an extensive process of consultation begun. Additionally, the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship (formerly the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy) worked on the revision of translations and inclusion of items proper to the United States, which are not included in the Latin text.
“These five items will conclude the work of the U.S. Bishops on the Roman Missal. We now wait for final approval from the Holy See before the new English text can begin to be used
in parishes across the United States,” said Monsignor Anthony Sherman, executive director of the USCCB Office of Divine Worship. “A process of catechesis follows now, so that everyone is ready to move along when we get the final text from the Vatican. Pastors and faithful alike can find excellent catechetical materials posted on our Web page (http://www.usccb.org/romanmissal/).”
Regarding the translations of the Proper of Saints, the Commons, and the Roman Missal Supplement, Msgr. Sherman noted that ICEL has addressed many of the concerns highlighted during the Green Book consultation, and that word order and vocabulary have been improved in some cases to aid in the clarity of some complex orations.
The U.S. Adaptations to the Roman Missal include a number of adaptations which are included in the current Sacramentary but need to be presented again with the new text. They consist mostly of changes to rubrics (instructions to the presider, which usually appear in red) for Lent, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. The adaptations also recommend for inclusion in the Missal the Rites of Blessings of Oils and Consecrating the Chrism at the Chrism Mass, which are currently contained in the Sacramentary, and a series of texts currently in the Sacramentary Supplement (2004) which would otherwise be lost since the supplement will become obsolete with the publication of the third edition of the Roman Missal.
The final text of the third edition of the Roman Missal for the Dioceses of the United States must include orations and formularies for the feasts, memorials and commemorations from the Proper Calendar for the United States. These come from a number of sources. Prayers and translations (when English was not the original source) have been revised in accordance to the principles of Liturgiam Authenticam and in some cases modified, as with the prayers for use on Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day.
Consultation on the five final liturgical items was sent to bishops immediately after the Administrative Committee meeting in September. Modifications will be reviewed by the Committee on Divine Worship in late October, and the final drafts will be presented to the body of Bishops in November.