Fr. Paul Kavanagh says new translation will be a big thing for music ministers.


Fr. Paul Kavanagh says new translation 'will be a big thing for music ministers.'

September 19, 2011

Parishes in the Edmonton Archdiocese will begin to implement the new translation of the Mass as early as Sunday, Sept. 25, says the archdiocese’s director of liturgy.

Father Paul Kavanagh said while most changes to the liturgy will not be introduced until the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27, the Church in Canada has permission to begin using the new translation of sung parts of the Mass — the Gloria and the Holy, Holy — at the end of this month.

That will enable parishes to phase in the changes, he said in an interview. Since the Gloria is not part of the liturgy during Advent — except for the Dec. 8 feast of the Immaculate Conception — it will be helpful to congregations to learn the new version now.

Kavanagh has been holding workshops for priests and parishes on the new translation and is about to begin a series of archdiocesan workshops for music ministers and the general Catholic public to explain the changes.

“We’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to do some formation, not only on the changes in the Mass, but also sacramentally,” he said. “We certainly don’t want to lose that opportunity.”

The formation will help Catholics develop a stronger sense of their baptismal call and of eucharistic theology.

Six regional workshops across the archdiocese and another four regional workshops for music ministers are slated for the next month.

The new translation “will be a big thing for the music ministers, more than for any other ministry,” Cavanagh said.

Three approved musical settings developed in Canada for the Ordinary of the Mass are now available as are some developed in the United States, he said.

The Publications Service of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is producing a booklet called Celebrate in Song, which includes the new music and also serves as a supplement to the Catholic Book of Worship III. It includes 40 hymns not available in the CBW.

As well, the Publications Service is producing a glossy pamphlet that will enable Catholics in the pew to learn the new Mass parts.


Kavanagh said that while some people at workshops at first resist the idea of the new translation, “Once they hear what the changes are, they’re more open to it.”

The new translation continues to respect the Second Vatican Council’s call for the “full, conscious and active participation” of the faithful in the liturgy as well as the council’s principle of a “noble simplicity” in the Mass, he said. The workshops will include explanations of why the English words of the Mass have changed.

The priests, he said, have been exposed to the new translation for almost two years and “they seem fine.”

“They seem to be taking it in stride. They’re preparing for it. They’re reading up on it and studying the texts.”

Still, the priests are more affected than anyone by the changes and, once they are implemented, priests will likely be paying closer attention to their missals than they have in the past, he said.

Kavanagh said while the congregation will kneel for the Consecration, the Alberta bishops are still discussing details of postures during the Mass in an effort to have uniformity across the province.

Most people are seeking unity of posture among the congregation throughout the liturgy, he said. Such uniformity is one way of being community and it is a sign of unity.

“We want to have uniformity across the archdiocese.”