Best practices for implementing the new missal translation?

As I speak in various dioceses around the country, I have been floating some ideas for implementing the new missal translation and have picked up a few ideas from the priests, deacons, and lay liturgical leaders in my audiences. Here are mine, with a bit of an explanation of what I mean.

I am sharing because I want to see what you have heard and read. Please?

I am about to go out on the road for three months to give more of these presentations and I want to improve them. I have also been asked to write about this.


“roll out the new texts in the least unsettling way”

1) sing the plainsong greetings, dialogues, and prayers—they signal that we are doing something different
2) use the collects and EPs at pastoral meetings, taking some time to talk about them
3) use the second penitential act or the third penitential act (saving the Confiteor until Lent)
4) when permitted, avoid using the Gloria until it can be sung
5) sing/say the Apostles’ Creed, then the Nicene Creed (but not TOO much later, or we’ll “lose” the Nicene Creed, let’s say Trinity Sunday)
6) when permitted, use the Reconciliation and Children’s EP’s
7) when permitted, use the VNO EP’s

“beginning now . . . ”

1) consider teaching the Latin Gloria XV, thus segueing to the new plainsong setting in the missal (and use organum and handbells)
2) explain and use the silences at Mass (GIRM 45, 54, 77, and 89)
3) implement the “gospel communion” by choosing antiphons/songs that quote the gospel or the other readings


  1. You may be interested to know that New Zealand begins implementing the new texts from Advent Sunday this year, 2010. See
    In particular:
    “• the greetings and responses at the beginning of Mass.
    • the texts of the Penitential Act.
    • the Gloria.
    • the Creed.
    • the prayers and responses during the Liturgy of the Word.
    • all the dialogues between the Priest and the Assembly during the Liturgy of the
    • the Holy, Holy.
    • the Memorial Acclamations.
    • the Doxology.
    • all the prayers and responses of the Priest, Deacon and Assembly from the
    Communion Rite to the Concluding Rites.
    • those gestures and postures required by the accompanying rubrics and/or the
    relevant sections of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.”


  2. How do we avoid using the Gloria on a Sunday or any solemnity outside of Advent or Lent even when it cannot be sung?

  3. Leo…

    I think his point is that we avoid reciting the Gloria… That it always be sung in other words. If we start out reciting it, even if we for some reason think this will make things easier, in the long run it will mitigate against. We lost the sung Creed by doing this… Let’s not lose the sung Gloria!

    1. I think we lost the sung credo because some liturgists and musical directors wanted more time for the 4 hymn sandwich.

      1. But pastoral liturgists said in their publications, over a couple decades, what their thinking on the Creed was, and it wasn’t this. Where did you get this ulterior motive from?

      2. Music in Catholic Worship (1972 & updated in 1983):

        “69. ….It is usually preferable that the Creed be spoken in declamatory fashion rather than sung.”

        MCW has been a bete noir for many Catholics for years but has long been lauded by progressive liturgists (Gabe Huck “Liturgy With Style & Grace” 1998).

      3. And then there are the less contentious judgments on MCW – not everything is black and white.

        I think it was a good document for its time, above all in moving people beyond the 4-hymns-at-low-Mass model and getting them to sing acclamations and Resp Ps – i.e., the liturgy itself.

        But in other aspects (which I won’t go into here) it was inadequate, so it was bound to be updated and improved eventually.


    1. No(t yet) because there is no children’s EP in the Missale Romanum, of which this text is a (ahem) translation.

  4. Strange then to suggest using the Children’s EP… Some of these are good suggestions, but I wonder why, for instance you would introduce the Gloria XV in Latin as a transition to singing the English chant when in reality the English chant is a transition to singing the Latin. If your parish can manage Gloria XV in Latin, why would you need to take the extra step of re-learning it in English?

  5. Would suggest that he is outlining a pastoral transition in stages. Happy medium between introducing some changes without overwhelming folks with too many changes. At the same time, he is trying to remain faithful to the MR3. Thus, by using Children’s EPs, he does not introduce wholesale changes and yet remains faithful to MR3 becuase children’s EPs are not currently part of the MR3 and many parishes are very familiar with the current children’s EPs.

  6. I appreciate seeing the NZ document, but doesn’t it seem to suggest that we implement the new translation all at once, rather than “rolling it out in the least unsettling way”?

    I am suggesting that in the months leading up to the new translation that the choir alone sing Gloria XV in Latin so that the assembly can get the melody in their ears, so that they can sing it with some confidence on December 8 and then on Christmas. I don’t agree that learning to sing the Englished Gloria XV is necessarily transitional to singing the Latin Gloria XV by the assembly.

    Yes, there are still three Children’s EPs and they can still be prayed, even if they will no longer be published in the Roman Missal. I advocate their use because they are more easily understood not just by children but by their under-evangelized and -catechized parents. I believe the only thing that will change in these prayers for the moment is the institution narrative.

  7. Yes, there are still three Children’s EPs and they can still be prayed, even if they will no longer be published in the Roman Missal.

    Really? I certainly agree that they can still be prayed (for now) until the New Translation is implemented. Once that occurs, the previous Missale Romanum translation (inculding the EP for Children) would be abrogated, would it not? Is there some official declaration that I haven’t seen that has re-admitted the Children’s EP’s as part of the new translation, or that has allowed there continued use after the implementation of the new translation? If so, one could then easily reason that the “Christ Has Died” acclamation could be re-admitted, or any part of the old translation that one wishes.

    In other words, I think this suggestion needs some additional research…

    As for the Gloria in Latin: Whether the “official” reason for the English language chants is transitional or not… what would be the rationale behind introducing the Mass XV chant in English if your assembly already has it learned in Latin? Clearly the goal in every document addressing liturgical music since the early 20th century (yes… including Vatican II…) is to have the assembly be able to sing the parts of the Ordinary in Latin. One can parse words or cite counter reasons, but it is there in quite a number of places, including the most recent “Sing to the Lord” instruction from the USCCB.

    1. The Motu Proprio’s perhaps inadvertent lesson would appear to be that editions of the Missal after 1962 that are not expressly abrogated remain usable unless and until expressly abrogated….

    2. Are the Children’s EPs translations from the Latin?

      And if the new thing automatically abrogates the old thing, isn’t that what happened in 1969?!

  8. (cont’d)

    and so, if singing the Ordinary in Latin is the GOAL, then efforts leading to that are, by definition, transitional. Why else use the same melodies for the English chants as the Latin? It seems that the point is to use the English chants as a way to teach the melodies of the LATIN chants so that they will be more easily adopted by the faithful eventually. This seems like a backwards effort, that’s all!

  9. I think the spoken Creed allows everyone in the assembly to declare what they believe. Many people do not sing. Those who sing need to have a consistent version. As much as the musical ministry people would like variety it is difficult for many in the assembly to master more than two or three sung versions of something as long as the Creed. Responsorial versions of the Creed are OK but in my opinion it is better for everyone to proclaim all that they believe.

  10. HELLO! THE point is praying in the vernacular! Not Latin! These are PRAYERS- thus they can be said or sung. The point is prayer-not one’s personal preference.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.