October 11, 2010
Fr. Geoffrey Angeles spoke to more than 200 people at the Western Conference for Liturgy


Fr. Geoffrey Angeles spoke to more than 200 people at the Western Conference for Liturgy


SHERWOOD PARK – Within the next few years English-speaking Canadian Catholics will celebrate the Mass with "a heightened language that focuses on transcendence," says a Manitoba pastor.

Father Geoffrey Angeles says he hopes the new Roman Missal touches "the hunger for faith" among Catholics.

"More and more we are meeting people who are looking for meaning in all the wrong places when the meaning is right in front of us," said Angeles, a liturgical composer and priest of the Winnipeg Archdiocese.

Angeles, a keynote speaker at the Oct. 1-2 Western Conference for Liturgy, is one of three Canadians who were asked to write music for Mass parts by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The new translation rewords many of the proper parts of the Mass, such as the Penitential Act, Gloria, Sanctus and Eucharistic Acclamations. New music is required to accommodate the new texts. At the conference, Angeles unveiled some of the new musical settings written by himself, John Dawson and Michel Guimont.

"One thing I tried to do was to put to music the whole notion of transcendence," Angeles told the conference.

The music received a positive response from the more than 200 people from across the West who attended the two-day event at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.

Angeles told the WCR he is unsure how the new translation will alter our celebration of the liturgy. "However, I'm delighted that the people who have attended this workshop are quite receptive."

A date for implementing the changes has not yet been set. While the new translation will be implemented in the U.S. for Advent 2011, Roman permission for local adaptations requested by the Canadian bishops has not been received. Once that permission is given, it will take time to publish the new liturgical books.

"Just like the return of Jesus, it will come . . . at some point, said Bernadette Gasslein of Edmonton, the conference's other keynote speaker. "We're thinking early 2012. But no one knows the day or the hour."

The weekend workshop "is part of the remote preparation for the document," said Gasslein, editor of Celebrate! Magazine.

She explained that one main reason for significant changes to the liturgy is that the Vatican has changed its principles for translation to one of formal equivalence - that is, the English must reflect the original Latin, word for word.

The translation currently in use is based on dynamic equivalence - the meaning of the entire sentence in English reflects the meaning of the entire Latin sentence.

One liturgical prayer that will undergo noticeable change in the new translation is the Glory to God.

Where today, we pray "we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory," the new translation says, "we praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory."

"It's a huge insertion into the piece," said Gasslein, one that inevitably affects how the prayer can be sung.

"The words are so radically different from what we have right now," Angeles agreed.

Angeles said he wrote his musical setting for the Glory to God so that "the verses are played quite freely" to compensate for the wordiness of the prayer.

Gasslein said the move to a new translation of the Mass may be daunting. But it also "offers the wonderful opportunity to think more about what we are saying."

Angeles said he hopes the changes will lead to "prayerful music that will meet people where they are at."