For many others like me, I suspect yesterday was a sad day. As our celebrant concluded the institution narrative, I was so overcome with the realization that this was the last Sunday Mass I would pray those words—that prayer, this Mass—that I was too sad to sing what followed.

These have been the only words I’ve known my entire life. With these words, I have witnessed marriages, buried, baptized, confirmed, anointed, and ordained close friends and family. These words accompanied me through my journey of faith, forming me, consoling me, challenging and surprising me. I’ve done at least 25 workshops on the new translation since August, and at every workshop, I tell participants to say goodbye to the words they have known. But it only hit me yesterday in the midst of that prayer what goodbye really felt like.

So I will grieve the loss of these familiar rhythms and phrases that have made me the person I am today. And because of these old words, I know I will be able to enter into a new relationship with new words and rhythms, not necessarily with joyful hope, but still confident that God will make a way where there is no way. Most of all, I will trust that the prayers that have led me thus far will continue to be true. This one, especially, I will miss. It’s my favorite collect of the entire 1985 Sacramentary. Even now it comforts me and guides me into the unknown.

In faith and love we ask you, Father,
to watch over your family gathered here.
In your mercy and loving kindness
no thought of ours is left unguarded,
no tear unheeded, no joy unnoticed.
Through the prayer of Jesus
may the blessings promised to the poor in spirit
lead us to the treasures of your heavenly kingdom.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.
—Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, alternative

What is your favorite prayer you will miss most?

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