The ROMAN MISSAL
SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL AND
PUBLISHED BY AUTHORITY OF POPE PAUL VI
Approved for Use
in the Dioceses of the United States of America
by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops
and Confirmed by the Apostolic See
ENGLISH TRANSLATION PREPARED BY THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION ON ENGLISH IN THE LITURGY
a work in progress
For the most part this volume is a translation, approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and confirmed by the Apostolic See, of the Missale Romanum of 1969 with the variations introduced into the second edition of 1975. The missal was revised by decree of the Second Vatican Council and promulgated by Pope Paul VI. In addition to the translation of liturgical texts and other materials, however, this edition in English includes other texts, with the same approbation as the translations, and follows a somewhat different format.
It is important, first of all, to call attention to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, which is translated below. The present foreword in no way replaces the general instruction, which deserves careful study, in part for its doctrinal and liturgical explanation of the structure, elements, and ministries in the celebration. Without a thorough knowledge of the General Instruction, it is impossible for the priest to understand the conciliar reform or to take the principal role in planning the celebration with the other ministers and all who have special responsibilities for it.
A sacramentary is a collection of presidential prayers for the celebration of the eucharist. Such books have been in use from about the fifth century, but in the middle ages they were combined with other service books, lectionaries and collections of chants. The complete missal of the modern period was thus much more than a sacramentary, and it reflected the development by which the priest ordinarily took not only his own part in the eucharistic celebration but also the parts of the assembly, singers, readers, and even the deacon.
The Second Vatican Council restored the basic rule that each member of the worshiping community, whether ordained minister or lay person, should perform all of those parts, but only those parts, which pertain to his or her office by the nature of the rite and the principles of the liturgy. This conciliar decision is reflected in the distinct sacramentary, a volume which is limited, with some slight exceptions, to the parts of the rite of Mass which pertain to the priest. The sacramentary, as a volume of presidential prayers, thus reflects a basic element of the liturgical reform: the distinction between the part of the priest and the parts of the other members of the assembly, just as in the past the complete missal was a symbol of the absorption of the roles of others by the celebrant.
The Sacramentary does not contain Scripture readings, responsorial psalms, or verses for the gospel acclamation. These are found in the Lectionary for Mass. Entrance and communion antiphons have been included for the convenience of the priest, who may use them on occasion. Their use is explained below.
When there are no readers for the first and second readings and when no deacon or other priest is present to proclaim the gospel, the priest uses the Lectionary for Mass and, where it is available, The Book of the Gospels at the pulpit or lectern. Otherwise, the Sacramentary is the single book of the priest who presides: he reads from it at the chair (for the opening prayer of Mass, for the prayer after communion, and for the solemn form of concluding blessing) as well as at the altar. The priest needs no other book, except when he joins the people in singing from a hymnal or booklet.
Partly because of its long tradition of use in the Church, the sacramentary as a book has symbolic meanings similar to that of the lectionary from which the word of God is proclaimed. It represents the office of presidency in the prayer of the liturgical assembly--both in the prayers of petition and in the central eucharistic prayer of praise, thanksgiving, and memorial. Since these prayers articulate the action of the Church in celebrating the sacrifice of the Lord, even the book of prayer is an important sign. For this reason it is expected to be of sufficiently worthy proportions and artistic design to create respect and reverence for its contents.
A distinctive feature of this edition of the Sacramentary is the double-page spread given for each Sunday Mass and for some feasts of greater importance. This arrangement is intended to stress the importance of the Sunday celebration of the eucharist, the reform of which was the primary conciliary concern. The actual format is designed to make the relationship of structure and parts completely clear, so that the priest will see immediately the two parts of the eucharistic celebration: the liturgy of the word (only referred to, but with an indication of the section of the Lectionary for Mass, for convenience) and the liturgy of the eucharist. The introductory rites and the concluding rite have been placed in proper subordination.
In accord with directions from the Apostolic See, the translations of Latin texts, prepared by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy, are faithful but not literal. They preserve the intent and substance of the original, but avoid the translation of words in favor of the translation of ideas. This principle is explained at length in the instruction on the subject issued by the Consilium for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy (January 25, 1969):
"A faithful translation cannot be judged on the basis of individual words: the total context of this specific act of communication must be kept in mind, as well as the literary form proper to the respective language" (no. 6).
"The translator must always keep in mind that the 'unit of meaning' is not the individual word but the whole passage. The translator must therefore be careful that the translation is not so analytical that it exaggerates the importance of particular phrases while it weakens the meaning of the whole" (no. 12).
"The prayer of the Church is always the prayer of some actual community, assembles here and now. It is not sufficient that a formula handed down from some other time or region be translated verbatim, even if accurately, for liturgical use. The formula translated must become the genuine prayer of the assembly and in it each of its members should be able to find and express himself or herself' (no. 20).
"The prayers (opening prayer, prayer over the gifts, prayer after communion, and prayer over the people) from the ancient Roman tradition are succinct and abstract. In translation they may need to be rendered somewhat more freely while conserving the original ideas. This can be done by moderately amplifying them, or, if necessary, paraphrasing expressions in order to concretize them for the celebration and needs of today. In every case pompous and superfluous language should be avoided" (no. 34).
Because the directory was prepared as a supplement to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, this edition of the Sacramentary includes the Directory for Masses with Children, issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship on November 1, 1973. It appears below, after the General Instruction.
The directory offers guidelines for the eucharistic celebration with assemblies of pre-adolescents. It is for liturgies with those baptized children who "have yet to be fully initiated through the sacraments of confirmation and eucharist as well as for children who have only recently been admitted to holy communion" (no. 1). It may also be adapted for liturgies with assemblies of the physically or mentally retarded (no. 6). And it contains recommended adaptations not only for Masses at which the assembly consists principally of children (Chapter III) but also for Masses with adult congregations in which a number of children participate (Chapter II).
The following music for the ministerial chants has been included in this edition of the Sacramentary:
(a) the chants of the prefaces of the eucharistic prayer have been included for every text, in a setting based on the plain chant; in addition, the settings already in use in the United States have been appended from The Order of Mass (1969);
(b) in the Order of Mass, both the chants of the priest and the chants of the priest and the people together (such as the Sanctus and the Lord's Prayer);
(c) in the appendix, alternate settings of the Lord's Prayer and additional chants proper to the priest, including the body of the four eucharistic prayers;
(d) seasonal ministerial chants, such as the Easter proclamation of the deacon.
The chant adaptation was prepared by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy. The various appended settings of the Lord's Prayer, prefaces of the eucharistic prayer, etc., are taken from earlier liturgical books approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
As an alternative to the penitential rite at all Sunday Masses, the blessing and sprinkling of the people with holy water may be substituted. This revised rite of sprinkling is no longer restricted to the principal Mass or to parish churches but may be used "at all Sunday Masses, even those anticipated on Saturday evening, in all churches and oratories."
To make this point clear, the rite is printed in the Order of Mass as an alternative to the penitential rite. The latter is simply omitted when holy water is blessed and sprinkled. The prayer of blessing of the water, which follows the priest's initial greeting, and the selection of songs to accompany the sprinkling indicate the purpose of the rite: the express the paschal character of Sunday and to be a memorial of baptism.
The directions for this brief rite are given in the Order of Mass and in Appendix I of the Sacramentary. After the rite of sprinkling, the Order of Mass continues with the Gloria or the opening prayer.
The collect, sometimes called the prayer of the assembly, has now been given the name "opening prayer," because it is the first prayer of the Eucharistic celebration and because it completes the opening or introductory rite. In the Roman Missal, this prayer is not directly related to the biblical readings which follow. Instead it is a general prayer, related to the occasion or celebration, which concludes the entrance rite and serves to introduce the whole eucharist.
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says: "The priest invites the people to pray and together with him they observe a brief silence so that they may realize they are in God's presence and may call their petitions to mind. The priest then says the opening prayer, which custom has named the 'collect.' This expresses the theme of the celebration and the priest's words address a petition to God the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit.
"The people make the prayer their own and give their assent by the acclamation, Amen.
"In the Mass only one opening prayer is said; this rule applies also to the prayer over the gifts and the prayer after communion" (no. 32).
In this edition an optional invitatory (explained below) has been given for the opening prayers on Sundays and certain feasts. It is placed within square brackets to indicate that its use is at the discretion of the priest.
The text of the opening prayer--after the invitatory and the period of silence--has been arranged in sense lines to help the priest to pray it in an audible, deliberate and intelligible manner. The texts of the other prayers have been similarly arranged. The use of the sense lines also avoids the necessity of pointing the text of prayers for occasions when they are sung. Melodies for singing the opening prayer are given in Appendix III.