Having now attended a number of spoken Masses in several different places, I’ve noticed a problem concerning the new translation that I had not anticipated: no one knows how to say the Sanctus.

More specifically, there seems to be no consensus as to where the pauses go in the first line. What seems to happen is that people say it rather tentatively, trying to follow the lead of the celebrant, who doesn’t seem to have a very clear idea himself of where he is going to pause. This doesn’t seem to happen when the Sanctus is sung, since the music provides guidance.

I have heard at least three different different variations and have pondered where they find their source.

1. Perhaps influenced by the former translation:

Holy, / Holy, / Holy Lord / God of hosts.

2. Perhaps influence by the Missal chant or by strict reading of the punctuation:

Holy, / Holy, / Holy Lord God of hosts.

3. Perhaps influenced by. . . who knows? Maybe the hymn Holy, Holy , Holy:

Holy, / Holy, / Holy / Lord God of hosts.

#2 has the advantage of following the punctuation and the chant, though “Holy Lord God of hosts” seems like a lot to say without a pause. For some reason #3 seems to make more sense rhythmically. I don’t think #1 has much to commend it and I suspect it is the result of people getting halfway through the first line before they remember that we have a new translation.

What have other people heard? What do other people prefer?

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