The New Missal: Propers for the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

It’s a big week ahead, with All Saint’s and All Soul’s Day’s coming up. Just a reminder to get to the confessional box sometime soon, so that you can avail your departed loved ones of the plenary indulgence associated with the latter feast. But for the rest of the week, here are the propers from the new Roman Missal:

Entrance Antiphon:
(cf. Psalm 37 (38):22-23)
Forsake me not, O Lord, my God;
be not far from me!
Make haste and come to my help,
O Lord, my strong salvation.

Almighty and merciful God,
by whose gift your faithful offer you
right and praiseworthy service,
grant, we pray,
that we may hasten without stumbling
to receive the things you have promised.
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
May these sacrificial offerings, O Lord,
become for you a pure oblation,
and for us a holy outpouring of your mercy.
Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon
(cf. Psalm 15 (16):11)
You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence, O Lord.
(John 6:58)
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so whoever feeds on me
shall have life because of me, says the Lord.

Prayer after Communion
May the working of your power, O Lord,
increase in us, we pray,
so that, renewed by these heavenly Sacraments,
we may be prepared by your gift
for receiving what they promise.
Through Christ our Lord.


Antiphona ad Introitum:
(cf. Psalm 37 (38):22-23)
Ne derelínquas me, Dómine Deus meus,
ne discédas a me;
inténde in adiutórium meum,
Dómine, virtus salútis meæ.

Omnípotens et miséricors Deus, de cuius múnere venit,
ut tibi a fidélibus tuis digne et laudabíliter serviátur,
tríbue, quaesumus, nobis,
ut ad promissiónes tuas sine offensióne currámus.
Per Dominum…

Prayer over the Offerings
Fiat hoc sacrifícium, Dómine, oblátio tibi munda,
et nobis misericórdiae tuæ sancta largítio.
Per Christum…

Communion Antiphon
(cf. Psalm 15 (16):11)
Notas mihi fecísti vias vitæ,
adimplébis me laetítia cum vultu tuo, Dómine.
(John 6:58)
Sicut misit me vivens Pater, et ego vivo propter Patrem,
et qui mandúcat me, et ipse vivet propter me,
dicit Dóminus.

Prayer after Communion
Augeátur in nobis, quaesumus, Dómine,
tuæ virtútis operátio,
ut, refécti caeléstibus sacraméntis,
ad eórum promíssa capiénda tuo múnere praeparémur.
Per Christum…


Entrance Antiphon:
(cf. Psalm 37 (38):22-23)
Do not abandon me, Lord.
My God, do not go away from me.
Hurry to help me, Lord, my Saviour.

God of power and mercy,
only with your help
can we offer you fitting service and praise.
May we live the faith we profess
and trust your promise of eternal life.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer over the Offerings
God of mercy,
may we offer a pure sacrifice
for the forgiveness of our sins.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon
(cf. Psalm 15 (16):11)
Lord, you will show me the path of life
and fill me with joy in your presence.

(John 6:58)
As the living Father sent me,
and I live because of the Father,
so he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
will live because of me.

Prayer after Communion
you give us new hope in this Eucharist.
May the power of your love
continue its saving work among us
and bring us to the joy you promise.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.


The Entrance Antiphon is similar to the verses in the Revised Grail Psalter, although with some variation. The verses in the RG are:

Forsake me not, O Lord, my God;
My God, be not far from me!
Make haste and come to my help,
my LORD and my salvation.

In this case, while the RG version appears to be taken as the basis of the translation, the translators noted carefully the actual wording of the Latin antiphon, and adjusted the antiphon accordingly. I think the result is a far more lyrical (and accurate) translation than the one in Old ICEL.

I note in the Collect that we get an “and” between “Almighty” and “merciful”, which we didn’t get in the collect for last week between “Almighty” and “ever-living”. The reason is simple: there is an “and” in the Latin. Note that, just as in the old Sanctus we ended up with “God of power and might”, the Old ICEL changed the Latin adjectives to genitives of description or quality. That is actually a bit of an archaism (almost a Hebraism) and the adjectives are better. The Old ICEL had the theology of the descriptive phrase right, ie. that “only with [God’s] help can we offer [God] fitting service and praise”, but the new translation is more accurate. The whole point of the collect nicely illustrates the relationship between merit and grace which we find so often in the Latin collects: there is merit in what we offer God, but it is always and only by his gracious gift that we are able to offer God anything at all. But the Old ICEL completely (and characteristically) omitted the striking image of “hastening” towards God’s promises as if in a race (an image used repeatedly by St Paul, cf. 1 Cor 9:24, 2 Tim 4:7, and Heb 12:1). It is a dynamic image (including “pursuing” and “striving”) that appears repeatedly in the collects for this time of year, as we draw near to the end of the Church’s calendar. The new translation also preserves the possibility that we might “stumble” (the Latin asks that we might hasten “without offense/injury”) in that “race”. Is it too much to say that Old ICEL was a bit embarrassed by the possibility that we might fail to reach the promises of God? Finally, could we say that Old ICEL narrowed “the things you have promised” down to “eternal life”?

In the Prayer over the Offerings, we note the curious way in which the Old ICEL translation distances the prayer from the specific situation of the offering of the bread and wine on the altar before the priest, and speaks of a sacrifice which will be offered rather than is being offered. I think this is a case of the old discomfort and confusion between the offering of the gifts of bread and wine at the offertory and the oblation of the Lord’s body and blood that takes place during the Eucharistic Prayer. The new translation preserves the distinction in the Latin more closely between “hoc sacrificium” (“these sacrifices”), ie. the bread and the wine, and the Eucharistic oblation (“oblation munda”). I think it could have done so more powerfully by saying directly, as the Latin does, “Make these sacrifices [ie. of bread and wine] a pure oblation to you [ie. the Eucharistic oblation of Christ’s body and blood]”. Note again that the Old ICEL uses a genitive of description (“God of mercy”) to pick up “misericordiae tuae”, but otherwise again narrows the application of “mercy” to “the forgiveness of our sins”. It also misses the great generosity of the Lord by not translating “largitio”. Those who pray the Latin table grace (“Benedic, Domine, nos et haec tua dona quae de tua largitate sumus sumpturi”) will know how “largitas” is used of God’s bounty. The new translation uses “outpouring”, which is okay, but… I guess “a holy bounty of your mercy” wouldn’t have worked.

The first Communion antiphon is the translation in the Revised Grail, with “O Lord” added at the end as in the Latin. The Latin actually preserves a nice Hebrew anthropomorphism that is not in either old or new ICEL, “before your face” for “in your presence”. I can’t quite understand what I take to be an error in citation in reference to the second antiphon from the Gospel of St John – perhaps you can help me. The Missal (in the Latin and both Old and New ICEL) gives the citation as John 6:58, but as far as I can see it is John 6:57. Even when I checked the New Vulgate on the Vatican website, the verse is given as John 6:57. So is this just an error that slipped in and was never corrected? In any case, both the Latin and new translation are direct quotations of John 6:57 (neither are RSV related, because the RSV tradition has “live” instead of “have life”). Old ICEL balked at the bold statement of Jesus in the Gospel “whoever eats me” (note that even the new translation has “feeds on me”, not quite “manducat”, which is literally “chew” or “munch” or “gnaw”, a literal translation of the Greek “trogo” in John 6:57) and puts instead “he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood”. There is a shocking realism to this verb that led many of Jesus’ would-be disciples in John’s Gospel to forsake him at this point.

In the Prayer after Communion, we find the same sacramental theology that we found in last week’s prayer, including the plural “Sacraments” as a reference to twin sacrament of Christ’s body and blood. Old ICEL smoothed this over with a vague reference to “this Eucharist”. Also “new hope” or “renew”? We are not just given “new hope” by “these Sacraments”, but indeed are truly “renewed” (“refecti”) by them.

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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15 Responses to The New Missal: Propers for the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

  1. matthias says:

    I am awaiting my copy of the new Missal that i have ordered through St paul’s publications

    • Schütz says:

      It might be a bit of a wait, Matthias. The copy I have is a study copy of the Altar Missal, rather than one of the people’s copies, which is a bit further down the track, I think.

  2. matthias says:

    That is what Chris from central catholic bookshop said to me after Mass on monday morning

  3. Peregrinus says:

    I’m going to wait until they decide the approved translation for the lectionary, and produce missals which reflect that. Do they think I’m made of money?

    • Schütz says:

      I would advise everyone with an iphone to download both the new missal and lectuonary with a good app like Universalis or Magnificat until the printed version are available. Neither of these apps currently have the new missal texts but i expect tgat will change from the first Sunday in Advent. Universalis currently has the JB readings as in our current lectionary.

      • Stephen K says:

        I once saw a program in which a man who had recently purchased an empty Victorian factory in London explained that he would keep the sound brick structures because “of all the energy that was invested in it.” It seemed a waste to demolish it simply because it was not in a classic residential form. I liked that. Since then I’ve looked at things from the angle of the energy that is latent in them: my only question being is it positive or negative energy?

        In the case of missals and prayer books, I have shelves of them; some inherited from my grandmother, my mother, father, some from my first Communion, or whatever. Speaking personally, I can’t justify buying another until somehow I’ve used the energy in the ones I’ve got. I – and people in general I’d say – don’t actually need new individually owned prayer books, let alone i-phones. If the new translation is as good as it purports to be, it will be easy enough to follow and remember the responses or they can use any leaflets provided. I call this the anti-materialist, green, energy-conscious approach.

        • Peregrinus says:

          No offence, Stephen, but I have to say that relying on or, still worse, encouraging the provision of (disposable) leaflets for use at mass, as opposed to encouraging people to have missals, is the very opposite of anti-materialist, green and energy-conscious. Think about it.

          And as for the new translations being “easy enough to follow”, I think not even their warmest admirers will claim this. They deliberately seek to replicate, or at least echo, the elaborate sentence structures which are common in Latin but foreign to English, and the language is dense, many-layered and rich in meanings which require considerable unpacking. It makes Henry James look terse, to be honest. It strives for solemnity and majesty (and close fidelity to the Latin original) rather than ease of comprehension.

          • Stephen K says:

            No offence at all Peregrinus. You’re quite right about the waste of disposable leaflets, now that I do think about it, though I had in mind, primarily, common-use material for the Ordinary rather than the Propers; I am personally in favour of people listening to the Scriptures being read rather than reading them at the same time – to the extent they actually do. The office of Lector is one that should be approached with seriousness and treated with the respect of attentiveness, if you get my drift. My thought about energies was stimulated by the phenomenon of yet more books which, for most people, are simply not absolutely necessary, either materially or liturgically – hence my reference to my supply of missals etc.

            As for the new translation being “easy to follow”, I was being just a little mischievous: like you I think the Latinate approach makes for bad English and the arguments proffered on the grounds of “accuracy” or the example of other languages do not persuade me that it enhances the liturgy. What seems perfectly balanced and appropriate in Latin is not necessarily so in modern English, which is what, whether restorationists wish it or not, people today understand and use. Restorationists who are familiar with Latin can no longer, or at least must find it almost impossible, to appreciate or perceive how the Latin liturgy and texts come across to people who don’t understand it. It is not a case simply of saying “well, there’s the English in the adjacent column” or “well, the atmosphere will supply the necessary sensations”. One has to imagine what one would sense if one attended a ceremony in an indigenous language to get an approximate idea. I think this is something that gets overlooked judging by the discussions about the traditional liturgy and its reformed reform equivalents.

            I happen to appreciate and respond myself to traditional sacred music and solemn liturgical expressions myself but I don’t kid myself that my experience and perception of them is not influenced by a particular formation.

            So, no argument from me on any count.

            • Peregrinus says:

              I agree with you that the word of God should be proclaimed in the context of the liturgy, and the people should attend to the proclamation as an aspect of their participation in the liturgy, and their simply reading the word of God (whether in a book or in a leaflet) is not the same thing. It would be better if they used neither.

              However, in the Bad Old Days they didn’t have much choice, unless they happened to be in the tiny minority who were familiar enough with Latin to understand the scriptures as they were proclaimed. “Reading along” was the best they could do by way of participation in the proclamation of the word.

              And that, I think, set a habit which has proved hard to break. I can’t count the number of parishes I know where the parish priest would prefer not to distribute leaflets with the text of the readings, but the congregation demand them, and express a strong preference for retaining them, once the experiment has been tried.

              And there are advantages to having the text of the readings readily available. For instance, if you want to reflect on the readings later, either alone or in a group, it is highly convenient. Or, if you are the lector, and you want to prepare the reading in advance, it’s convenient. Of course, there are alternatives, but none quite so convenient. Given the reference, you could look up the relevant passage in your bible, for example – but you’d have to make sure that it was the Jerusalem Bible (for the time being, anyway).

              Why, I wonder, did the missal not make a comeback, supplanting leaflets, once the English texts and the English lectionary were more-or-less settled? I don’t know, but I suspect the answer is that the mass contained too many permutations and options, and using missals became too fiddly. Not only did you have to switch back and forth between the ordinary and the proper, but the ordinary offered several different Eucharistic prayers and numerous different prefaces. Plus, the lectionary was a lot more complicated, with a three-year cycle. I have a missal, but because of these issues I rarely use it at mass. I use it to prepare for mass.

              I’m concerned that the new translation will make matters worse. It’s said that the new texts were framed at least partly with a view to being proclaimed – hence the solemn, sonorous and sometimes slightly archaic language. That may be so, but I don’t think they were framed with a view to being heard. It seems to me that if you are going to contemplate these new texts, to engage with what they say, you really have to read them. But people won’t read them in a missal, at least in the form of a book, because that’s too fiddly.

              There is, of course, a technological solution. There probably already is (and if there isn’t, there very easily can be) an app which will deliver everything you need for today’s mass – ordinary, propers, lectionary, the lot – and only that. It wouldn’t be difficult for a parish to customise it so that it would deliver, e.g., the preface and Eucharistic prayer to be used in that parish on that day, and indeed the hymns to be used as well.

              It might seem odd to think of people bringing their iPads to mass and following along, but I suspect that’s where we’re headed. And whatever else we might think about that, it’s certainly green and energy-conscious!

            • Schütz says:

              The Universalis App has the new translation of the Order of the Mass in it, and you can directly chose which Preface and which Eucharistic Prayer is to be used. I can see that this should be able to be easily expanded and integrated into the rest of their app, so that the propers and the readings can also be accessed directly from the order of Mass. It seems a pretty simple concept, and would make all that page turning and swapping of books superfluous. I honestly don’t think it will be too far down the line that people do bring their ipads to worship. After all, I use my iphone in this way, and if I had an ipad (read: when I get one) I will use it this way too. And no more overhead projectors for the texts of hymns, either, as our “hymnbooks” will all be electronic…

            • Peregrinus says:

              Ah, but how will we know if that bloke in the rear pew is diligently following along, or just playing Angry Birds?

              That’s a feeble joke, of course, but there is a point here. Attending to your tablet computer/smartphone/whatever has the effect of excluding and isolating you from the people you are with, which is why it’s very bad manners to do it, e.g., at the dinner table. It seems to me an inappropriate way to engage in the eucharistic liturgy, which is a communal act, and indeed one intended to create and express communion. Perhaps what we need to foster is not the develpment and use of such apps, but rather the awareness that participation in the liturgy is at its best when the use of apps, leaflets and even books is minimised.

  4. matthias says:

    Schutz I went to the 1.05pm Mass at the eastland Chapel today. The presiding priest,who’s name indicated a quick or short sleep, was apparently on a day off and thus confessions could not be heard as he had to leave quickly. (Game of golf anyone)
    However he had to repeat some of the passages from the New Missal. I would have thought all priests should be familiar with it.
    I can see why some people leave certain parishes and become liturgical refugees.(by the way I will be joining you at your newish Parish,when not at St Al’s or St Pats)

  5. Christine says:

    The Magnificat app and web page (American?) have been faithfully using the old ICEL order and propers all the way along, but if you download the resources for the First Sunday in Advent onwards, voila! There is the new order of mass and all the new propers.

    Indeed they do, David! I just renewed my subscription to Magnificat, I love that beautiful publication. All the texts I will need on the first Sunday of Advent are there!

    I am also tickled that Father Z has a countdown going on at WDTPRS of days, hours and minutes to November 27.

  6. Christine says:

    Matthias, belated welcome into the Catholic Church!

  7. Christine says:

    Arggghhh, I see I posted the above two comments on the wrong thread, I’ve moved them up to where they should be.

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