The New Missal: Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Here are texts for the coming week from the new Roman Missal. A brief commentary follows (although don’t expect a Fr. Z. job!):

Entrance Antiphon:
cf. Ps 16 (17):6, 8
To you I call; for you will surely heed me, O God;
turn your ear to me; hear my words.
Guard me as the apple of your eye;
in the shadow of your wings protect me.

Almighty ever-living God,
grant that we may always conform our will to yours
and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer over the Offerings
Grant us, Lord, we pray,
a sincere respect for your gifts,
that, through the purifying action of your grace,
we may be cleansed by the very mysteries we serve.
Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon
cf. Ps 32 (33):18-19
Behold, the eyes of the Lord
are on those who fear him,
who hope in his merciful love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.
Mk 10:45
The Son of Man has come
to give his life as a ransom for many.

Prayer after Communion
Grant, O Lord, we pray,
that, benefitting from participation in heavenly things,
we may be helped by what you give in this present age
and prepared for the gifts that are eternal.
Through Christ our Lord.


Antiphona ad Introitum:
cf. Ps 16 (17):6, 8
Ego clámavi, quóniam exaudísti me, Deus;
inclína aurem tuam, et exáudi verba mea.
Custódi me, Dómine, ut pupíllam óculi;
sub umbra alárum tuárum prótege me.

Omnípotens sempitérne Deus,
fac nos tibi semper et devótam gérere voluntátem,
et maiestáti tuæ sincéro corde servíre.
Per Dominum…

Prayer over the Offerings
Tríbue nos, Dómine, quaesumus,
donis tuis líbera mente servíre,
ut, tua purificánte nos grátia,
iísdem quibus famulámur mystériis emundémur.
Per Christum…

Communion Antiphon
cf. Ps 32 (33):18-19
Ecce óculi Dómini super timéntes eum,
et in eis qui sperant super misericórdia eius;
ut éruat a morte ánimas eórum, et alat eos in fame.
Mk 10:45
Fílius hóminis venit,
ut daret ánimam suam redemptiónem pro multis.

Prayer after Communion
Fac nos, quaesumus, Dómine,
cæléstium rerum frequentatióne profícere,
ut et temporálibus benefíciis adiuvémur,
et erudiámur ætérnis.
Per Christum…


Entrance Antiphon:
Ps 16 (17):6,8
I call upon you, God, for you will answer me;
bend your ear and hear my prayer.
Guard me as the pupil of your eye;
hide me in the shade of your wings.

Almighty and ever-living God,
our source of power and inspiration,
give us strength and joy
in serving you as followers of Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer over the Offerings
Lord God,
may the gifts we offer
bring us your love and forgiveness
and give us freedom to serve you with our hearts.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

Communion Antiphon
cf. Ps 32 (33):18-19
See how the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his love,
that he may rescue them from death
and feed them in time of famine.

Mk 10:45
The Son of Man came to give his life as a ransom for many.

Prayer after Communion
may this Eucharist help us to remain faithful.
May it teach us the way to eternal life.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.


The new entrance antiphon, taken word for word from the Revised Grail Psalter, is an improvement on the old translation in my mind – ie. “apple of your eye” instead of “pupil of your eye” and “shadow of your wings” rather than “shade of your wings”). The meaning is the same, but the language is more familiar to those of us used to the KJV or RSV.

My first comment on the Collect is that the “and” between “Almighty” and “ever-living” in Old ICEL seems preferable to me (note that this is one case where they didn’t translate the address as “Father”, which was very common in Old ICEL) – but maybe that is just the Ghost of Cranmer whispering in my head. I know that there isn’t an “and” in the Latin – it would just flow better in English, is all. The second thing that occurred to me is the “grandness” of the opening address. “Sounds like someone addressing a King,” I thought. And then we get to the phrase “serve your majesty”, and I thought “Yep, we’re firmly in the royal court here”. I listened to an interesting paper on the radio not long ago about how the King James Version of the Bible actually overused the word “majesty” for a number of Hebrew words in the Old Testament which had not previously been translated as such – ostensibly to undergird the ideas of the divine right of kings so beloved by the Stuart monarchs. The point is, God is the our true King, and he seeks to reign over our hearts, and our hearts are the seat of our wills, and that is the arena in which this collect prays that we may be his loyal subjects. Old ICEL, as you can see, didn’t like any of this, so wrote what is ostensibly a completely different prayer from the one in the Missal.

I really don’t know what to make of the two English translations of the Offertory prayer. One thing at a time, then. “Donis tuis” is clearly “your gifts” and not “the gifts we offer”. Old ICEL has completely reversed this. But the new translation has not translated “líbera mente” – “a sincere respect” is not the same thing at all. Old ICEL at least had “give us freedom to serve you with our hearts” which comes somewhere near this. Again, notice how “gratia” is translated by Old ICEL as “love and forgiveness”. The new ICEL text at least translates “purifying” and “cleanse” (“purificánte” and “emundémur”), which were omitted from the old translation. On the blog of “The Roman Sacristan”, I found this rendering which seems good to me:

Grant us by Your gifts, we beseech You, O Lord, to serve You with free minds, so that, purifying us by Your grace, we may be cleansed by these same Mysteries by Which we serve You.

The Missal once again has a different communion antiphon from the Graduale Romanum, but this one does pick up on the “apple of your eye” from the Entrance Antiphon. It is almost word for word Revised Grail, except that the RG opens with “Yes, the LORD’s eyes…”. The Missal translates the “Ecce”, “Behold, the eyes of the Lord”, and the plural “oculi Domini” (instead of the Hebrew singular “the eye of the Lord”).

The second Communion antiphon is interesting in the light of the change in the new missal in the way “pro multis” is translated. I am working on St Mark’s Gospel at the moment in preparation for my new Anima course, and “Son of Man” language is particularly beloved by Mark, from which this passage is taken. But so is “Servant of the Lord” language, taken directly from Isaiah 52-53, and that is where this “pro multis”, “for many” language comes from (Isaiah 53:12). This is not the place to go into this issue in depth (see Ratzinger’s Jesus of Nazareth, Vol II for more treatment), but the basic idea is that in Isaiah “the many” are the multitude of Israel; and that in the sacrificial death of the Son of Man, “the many” has achieved a universal application.

As horrible as the old translation of the Post-Communion prayer was (it completely lost the key contrast between “temporalibus” and “aeternis“, and introduced a whole phrase that isn’t in the Latin “may this Eucharist help us to remain faithful”), the new translation still seems a bit of a paraphrase to me, and could have been a bit tighter. “Frequentatione” is, as it suggests, “by frequenting”, ie. “by frequent coming to” or “by frequent use”. It does mean, in this context “by participating in” but that translation loses the idea of it happening often – yea, verily, even every Lord’s Day and Holy Day as required by the Church. And “Proficere” is not “to benefit” but “to make headway”, ie. “to grow” or “to advance”. The idea of “you give” and “gifts” is taken from “beneficiis”, and “ut…erudiamur” is “that we may be educated, instructed, taught” or even “learned” (it is where we get our word “erudite” from). A graduate from a course of study is “eriditum”. Possibly the difficulty is right at the very beginning, where the translators render “Fac nos” as “Grant us” (they do the same thing in the Collect). If they had kept “make us”, it could read:

Make us, O Lord, we pray,
to advance by the frequent use of heavenly things,
that we may be helped by your good gifts in this present age
and well-prepared for the gifts that are eternal.

Is that an improvement?

Another interesting stylistic point that I don’t entirely agree with in the new translations is their policy on using the vocative “O” before titles of address. [You will notice, for instance, in 9th line of the new Gloria that suddenly a vocative “O” appears (“O God”), which isn’t used anywhere else in the entire hymn.] If you compare the Offertory prayer with the Post-Communion prayer, you will see a similar construction, but in the latter case there is an “O Lord”, and in the former there is simply “Lord”. In fact, the reason is entirely to do with how the text would be sung or chanted. The translators decided that if there was a strong stress on the syllable directly before a vocative, it would need an added “O” for the sake of rhythm. So in the Prayer over the Offerings, we get “Grant” [strong] “us” [weak], “Lord”, and in the Prayer after Communion we get “Grant” [strong], “O” [weak] “Lord”. I don’t like the inconsistency, but I guess it would get tedious if we used “O” all the time, and it is certainly the case that for the flow of the words we do sometimes need it. (The classic case is in the acclamation before the Gospel: “Glory to you, O Lord”. “Glory to you, Lord” was simply too awkward.)

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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9 Responses to The New Missal: Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

  1. matthias says:

    I attended the 9.30 St Patrick’s Cathedral Mass this am and it was ,as would be expected, a Solemn and Holy service. A vast improvement upon the Mass I attended last week locally and upon the usual services i attended at my old Proddy Church.
    I look forward to buying and using the new Daily Missal for the OF.

    • Schütz says:

      The 11am is the one to aim for if you can. It is the one that the Archbishop normally leads (he is in Rome at the moment), with the full choiir and all bells and whistles.

  2. John Nolan says:

    Rendering ‘per Christum Dominum nostrum’ as ‘we ask this through Jesus the Lord’ always had me gnashing my teeth and I rejoice that after Advent 1 I shall never again have to suffer it. Catholics traditionally refer to the Second Person of the Trinity as ‘Our Lord’ and it was the 16th century protestant reformers who insisted on ‘the Lord’. I wouldn’t quibble too much about the new translations; they will do for now.

    It now seems clear that when the Council fathers voted for SC back in 1963 most of them envisaged that the Propers might be in the vernacular along with the scripture readings, but that the Ordinary should remain in Latin (the framers of SC might well have had different ideas, but that’s another story; the document is deliberately ambiguous). Had this happened, time could have been spent in producing worthy translations and in the case of the sung Propers adapting them to simple Gregorian melodies. Those parishes possessing the musical resources would continue to sing the GR Propers in Latin, thus preserving the treasury of Gregorian Chant; congregations would continue to sing the Common from the Kyriale, with perhaps less reliance on Mass VIII and Credo III.

    This didn’t happen. The 1965 ‘interim’ Missal vernacularized the familiar Ordinary, with the exception of the Canon, and in England at least the Collect, Secret and Postcommunion remained in Latin as no approved translations were yet available. Meanwhile the Consilium set about a root-and-branch reform of the Roman Rite which effectively supplanted it, and actually encouraged the ‘hermeneutic of rupture’ so deprecated by Benedict XVI. If a Catholic attended Mass at the beginning of 1964 and then spent three-and-a-half years in Antarctica, he would find the Mass he returned to well-nigh unrecognizable – different language, different rituals, music redolent of Tin Pan Alley, different orientation, an atmosphere of informality rather than of reverence, etc. Nothing remotely like this has happened in the entire history of the Western Church, unless you count the protestant ‘reformation’ and that was a breakaway movement. Benedict XVI has spoken of the betrayal of the aims of the Liturgical Movement which as a young man he supported.

    Still, we have to work with what we’ve got. I assume that the Latin of the Introits in the MR is the same as that of the GR (and the 1962 Missal) where the two use the same text, although the verse is not given. Some of these texts are actually pre-Vulgate, but since they are set to Chant they cannot easily be altered. Does the Latin text of the Responsorial Psalm in the Lectionary use the old or new Vulgate? Does the new CTS hand missal use the JB lectionary which is soon to be replaced? In which case, is it worth buying something the bulk of which will soon be out of date?

    • Schütz says:

      Catholics traditionally refer to the Second Person of the Trinity as ‘Our Lord’ and it was the 16th century protestant reformers who insisted on ‘the Lord’

      that is an interesting thesis. I’d like to see some more proof before I swallow it…

      Does the Latin text of the Responsorial Psalm in the Lectionary use the old or new Vulgate?

      My guess is that it is neo-Vulgate, as the Responsorial Psalms as we have them now are an invention of the three year Lectionary.

      Does the new CTS hand missal use the JB lectionary which is soon to be replaced? In which case, is it worth buying something the bulk of which will soon be out of date?

      I don’t have a copy of the CTS Sunday Missal (the “People’s Missal”) yet to know (I don’t think they are off the press yet). Either they will contain the current lectionary as it is or no lectionary at all, since the final decisioin on the Lectionary translation has not yet been made (and may be some time off – some think that it can be managed in the next six months, but I have my doubts). So yes, if you buy one of the new missals, you will need to buy another one again sometime. Still, I am so happy with my study edition of the Altar missal, which of course has no lectionary texts in it, that I would still encourage people to buy and study the new missal.

    • Stephen K says:

      You make intriguing comment, John, when you say “Catholics…..traditionally ……. (say) Our Lord etc.” I reckon I’m about as old or at least as cradle-Catholic as you sound (forgive me if I’m incorrect on both grounds) and this is exactly a thought I once had, when thinking about Catholic-Protestant differences, many years ago. I am now inclined to think this proposition is a gross over-statement and meaningless. The reason why I thought it myself was based solely on the frequency of “Our Lord” in conversation or lessons or sermons by priests, brothers and ordinary Catholics I had personally heard, and the usage of “the Lord” in the mouths of Hollywood pastors (aka Karl Malden in “Pollyanna”) and some tele-evangelists. My latter adult experience is much broader, and I see and read in liturgical texts, scriptural commentary and translation by Catholic writers including in older pre-Vatican works, frequent references to “the Lord” and I hear frequent references to “Our Lord” in the non-Catholic sermons and services I listen to and attend.

      What does this all mean, or prove? In my opinion, I think it means there is less substance to the idea of a generic Catholic or a generic Protestant than some like to think, and certainly nothing on which one should bash fellow-Christians over the head, or make a point of division. The use of “our” imports a note or tone of intimacy and familiarity; the use of “the” is a little more detached perhaps but could be read as reinforcing a deference to the Lord “of all”.

      Yes, “Dominum nostrum” is “our Lord”. The only argument here, I think, could be to say that it is only language accuracy that demanded “our”, not “the”, and not theological fitness or necessity. I think it is largely a matter of custom and taste that can change. For example, I used to absolutely love the Faber hymns but now see some of them as cloying and saccharine, even though I acknowledge and appreciate the conciseness of the theology and the piety that underpin them. To say “our Lord” or “the Lord” seems to me to be the kind of thing we choose contextually. In the collects, I happen to think both work.

      • John Nolan says:

        I think there is a reference in MacCulloch’s Life of Cranmer (1996) to the Archbishop’s reservations about ‘Our Lord’, but it is fifteen years since I read it and I don’t have a copy to hand. Anglo-Catholics I knew in university days always made a point of saying ‘Our Lord’ and maintained that you could always tell a low-church preacher since he invariably referred to the Second Person as ‘Christ’.

        Catholic priests usually said ‘Our Lord’ in their sermons; if they referred to Jesus by name they would have had to doff their birettas, and the deacon, subdeacon and any clergy in choir would have had to do likewise.

        • Stephen K says:

          Look, I think you’re absolutely right to say that “our Lord” and “the Lord” were rule-of-thumb markers for catholic (or high) and low respectively. I just think that there are sound reasons for both usages, and that it is familiarity and custom that influences the degree of teeth-gnashing, not merit. Cheers, John.

  3. Peter says:

    Wonderful stuff David!
    We are now using the new translation in it’s entitrety at St.Benedicts,but did not have the amended Collects etc. as our new missal has not yet arrived.
    I printed off the prayers from this page and now we have everything!

  4. Peregrinus says:

    Not to be picky, but the prayer over the offerings seems to me to illustrate in an unfortunate way one of the criticisms levelled against the new translation

    Prayer over the Offerings

    Grant us, Lord, we pray,
    a sincere respect for your gifts,
    that, through the purifying action of your grace,
    we may be cleansed by the very mysteries we serve.
    Through Christ our Lord.

    The problem: this is not English.

    As my Inter Cert English teacher used to say, what is the principal clause here? Is it “grant . . . a sincere respect for your gifts” or “grant . . . that we may cleansed”? You can of course ask that the Lord grant two things, but in that case the conjunction “and” is required; you can ask God to grant you A and B, but you can’t ask him to grant you A, B – which is effectively the form of this sentence.

    I think the error arises because the Latin ut has been translated as “that”, whereas in fact, as the rendering you found on Roman Sacristan discerns, the correct translation is “so that” – grant us A (a sincere respect), so that B (our being cleansed) will then follow.

    I say I don’t want to be picky, but in fact I’m not being picky. I stumbled over this, rereading it several times and trying to make sense of it, and I had to go back to the Latin to work out what the English was (I think) supposed to mean. And that’s not good; a translation from Latin into English has to be a translation into English, and not to a collection of words that sound solemn and reflect the structure of a Latin sentence, but don’t actually yield coherent sense. I know that the new translation seeks to preserve the dignity and solemnity of the language, and is willing to accept some complexity to that end. But observing the conventions of English grammar is pretty essential for that purpose too. And my struggling to make sense of this passage would not make for a good liturgical experience.

    Of course, it’s easy to criticize, but not so easy to say what should have been done. The Roman Sacristan effort is certainly better, but it leaves me wondering what the subject of “purifying us by your grace” is. Grammatically and syntactically, it looks like “we”, as though we were purifying ourselves, but that doesn’t make sense, In fact I think “grace” is the subject. So it should be “by [or through] your purifying grace, we may . . .” rather than “purifying us by your grace, we may . . .” The new ICEL translation gets this, though it uses rather more words than it needs to. (There’s nothing in the Latin to correspond to the word “action” in the new text.)

    The old ICEL translation is certainly easier to follow but, as you point out, it doesn’t really have the same meaning as the Latin original. But it has some advantages; for example, it (correctly) translates servire, which the new translation completely ignores. What I would say is that the old ICEL text is a good translation of some, but not all, of the sense of the Latin orginal, whereas the new ICEL text is a bad translation which attempts more of the underlying sense but doesn’t achieve it.

    What’s the point of all this? The point, I think, is that we often have to choose between the structure of the Latin and the sense of the Latin, and to convey the sense of the Latin with clarity we may have to be ready to restructure the text more radically that has been done here.

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