Calling all New Zealanders – UPDATED 11/26

As this newsletter from the Catholic national liturgy office says, New Zealand is implementing all the people’s parts (I know, the parts said by the priest also belong to the people, but you know what I mean) this Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent.

Calling all New Zealanders: let us know how it went! What was explained to the people before Mass? Was there rehearsal beforehand? Did you sing the ICEL chants or the Mass setting by Douglas Mews? How was the new music received? What seemed to work best in leading people through the transition?

Calling all Pray Tell readers: if you know anyone in New Zealand, please contact them and urge them to post a comment. Or email me privately at

UPDATE: Here is the melody-only Mass setting being used – hat tip to Society of Saint Gregory, under “Liturgy Matters,” discussion thread “New/Revised Mass Settings.” Hmmm, this looks suspiciously like an overhead projection, doesn’t it?


  1. It might be a projection version…. More likely a Power Point for catechetical sessions.

    There may be some wisdom to the “2-phases” implementation plan. In one sense, it may allow a more concentrated effort towards having the congregation learn their parts while maintaining a certain level of familiarity

  2. The lack of comments makes me fear that the rioting over the new texts was so severe that all forms of communication on New Zealand were knocked out.

    Perhaps we will hear something once the smoke has cleared and order has been reestablished. That is if anyone survived the implementation, of course.

    1. Maybe, Jack, the Kiwis all have lives which are sufficiently interesting to keep them from haunting blogs and commenting on subjects about which they know little or nothing.

  3. We can always to the Southern Cross website and review the archives there to relive the “for-the-lack-of-a-cover-letter” Ordo Missae implementation there. Do the words “I hate you hierarchy” ring anyone’s bell?

  4. Well I know I lit a couple of “candies” for them yesterday asking God to help them “deal” with it so that “as they walked amid passing things” they kept their “spirit” up “tight” and when the smoke cleared everything looked cool in the light of the morning “dewfall”. So I guess the New Zealand church managed to “escape from dying” and for that we can all be “overcome with joy” and thank “the immensity of your majesty”

  5. The Gospel today reminds me why the Centurion did not think the Lord worthy to enter under his roof. He was a pagan, Christ a Jew; he was a man in military authority, Christ a man of religious authority — obedient to the Father and powerful to command evil spirits. A letter in The Tablet points out that we are not Gentiles at Christ’s table, so that the 1973 text is better than what is now proposed. He also points out that the proposed “peace to people of goodwill” is incorrect, it should be “to those who enjoy God’s favor” or, more compactly, “peace to his people on earth”.

    1. +JMJ+

      As for “not worthy that you should enter under my roof”, the Jew-Gentile (cf. Acts 10:28) aspect and authority aspect certainly factored into the centurion’s response.

      On the one hand, Jesus’ going to his house was unnecessary: Jesus, having authority, need only say the word to heal the centurion’s servant. [I wish the liturgical response were: “and your servant shall be healed.”]

      On the other, Jesus’ going to his house would have complicated matters: it was unlawful for Him to do so, and He would have been considered ritually impure because of it.

      I think it a fitting reaction on our part to the Lord’s “condescending love”: “Lord, You needn’t go through all that trouble, You needn’t get mixed up with me. You’re powerful enough to do it from where You are.” Or, as St. Peter exclaimed, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8)

      And yet Christ invites us to Him. (cf. Matt. 11:28) And so there is a meeting (perhaps at the very edge of the sanctuary and the nave) where we come to Jesus, and He comes to us. He does for us what He did not do for the centurion, and I am most grateful for it. He “goes through the trouble” of coming under my roof (which I understand to be the roof of my mortal frame, the roof of this temple of the Holy Spirit) and “risks” impurity to associate with me in such a sacramental way.

      That’s why this closer translation of this is meaningful to me, and I hope it’s meaningful to others as well.

      I wonder: if the “yoking” language of Matt. 11:28-30 were employed in the Latin liturgy, if it would need to be “interpreted” by an English translation. I think modern — or at least non-agricultural — man sorely misunderstands the imagery of the yoke, especially as employed by Jesus. But does this misunderstanding require interpreting away the scriptural words and replacing them with a modern idiom? Can’t we have both the scriptural words and a true comprehension of them?

      1. The argument in favor of the centurion’s words strikes me as a backwards justification. I don’t mean to nail you with it exclusively, Jeffrey. I’ve heard it many times before.

        From the earliest portions of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus “contracts” ritual impurity. It doesn’t seem to bother him.

        For my part, I think there are several Gospel texts more fitting than “non dignum sum” and more closely connected with the Paschal Mystery. Of course, that places the flaw with the MR itself, and not the translation.

      2. But if Jesus can heal us even at a distance, why does he have to “come under my roof”?

        Using this text, introduced into the Mass in late antiquity, in a literal form has never made sense to me. Yes, the priest himself said it before receiving Communion, but I suspect for those many people who did not go to Communion, even up to fairly recent times, this was a type of spiritual communion formula. If they knew the text at all. The majority of people in my youth did not follow the Mass. Only a small number used a hand Missal or the leaflet Missal that some parishes provided. Even with a hand Missal, it was often hard to keep up with the priest. Lots of page turning.

        Venerable as this text is, it strikes me as a pious, but unhelpful, gloss. As matters stand now, neither the French, nor the Italian, nor the German, nor the Portuguese, nor the Spanish translates the Latin literally.

        For example, the Italian: O Signore, non sono degno di partecipare alla tua mensa: ma di’ soltanto una parola e io saro’ salvato. And the French: Seigneur, je ne suis pas digne de te recevoir; mais dis seulement une parole et je serai gue’ri.

      3. +JMJ+

        Todd, it doesn’t seem like “backwards justification” to me to search for the meaning of a liturgical acclamation in its scriptural context. One would imagine the setting of the phrase is at least one reason why it was used.

        As for Jesus minding ritual impurity, it’s not so much a matter of Him minding, as it is the centurion minding for him. And despite Jesus’ lack of regard for ritual impurity, it was still the mindset of the Apostles until the revelation to Peter in Acts 10.

        You may have listed your choices for more apropos texts than the non sum dignus here before, but would you mind listing them again? I can’t find them at the moment.

      4. +JMJ+

        JRF, yes, Jesus can heal us from a distance, and He doesn’t “have to come under my roof” — He chooses to. He chose to institute this sacrament in a way that He comes into us. (cf. Rev. 3:20)

        neither the French, nor the Italian, nor the German, nor the Portuguese, nor the Spanish translates the Latin literally

        The Italian expresses an almost opposite image: “I am not worthy to participate at your table” makes me think of the Lord receiving us, rather than us receiving the Lord. (Not that this is a bad image, it’s just not the one being evoked by Matt. 8:8.)

      5. With all due respect to the comments that have been offered, I think the point is somewhat different. Jesus’ reply to the centurion is what brings this text into its liturgical use: “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 8:10b-11). I think we are expected to know the banquet reference in the biblical text which stands in the background, so as to complete the allusion. This isn’t so odd, really, as many liturgical texts intentionally allude to richer and more complex bibilical texts, so that they resonate in a larger space, so to speak, than the single phrase alone could do.

  6. Jeffrey Tucker linked the worship aid at PrayTell, but it has a 2006/2008 South African copyright date. Interesting for what it includes: good ol’ Memorial Acclamation A and Pope Benedict’s alternate dismissal formulas.

    I’m still itchy-curious to know how they got the Maori translation as their liturgy web site advertised.

    1. A few interesting points on the worship aid:

      “Christ has died. . . ” is still there.

      There is no repetition of “I believe” in the Creed.

      It has the 2008 doxology text.

      At the Peace it says after the exchange between the priest and people: If the sign of peace was not exchanged earlier, the priest or deacon may then say:
      Priest/Deacon: Let us offer each other the sign of peace.

  7. Robert Johns.>>Venerable as this text is, it strikes me as a pious, but unhelpful, gloss. As matters stand now, neither the French, nor the Italian, nor the German, nor the Portuguese, nor the Spanish translates the Latin literally.<<<

    Is this a typo??!! Surely what you meant to say was:

    "all other translations throughout the Catholic world translate Matthew 8:8 more literally than our loose 1973 ICEL rendering. Poor us!"

    Father, I'm disappointed in you! Why haven't corrected him with respect to the current German version?

    1. I don’t think he meant to say that at all. The French and Italian do not translate literally, as he demonstrated, the French actually being the same as what we have at present: “I am not worthy to receive you”. The German does translate “enter under my roof” literally, whereas Spanish says “into my house” and Portugese says “into my home” — no mention of roofs there.

      So no, not all other translations translate more literally than 1973 ICEL. Quite the reverse. They show a broad spectrum of dynamic equivalence, which is of course what any good translation worth its salt should be doing. (LA was completely wrong in saying that dynamic equivalence was outmoded. Just because the author of LA thought this to be true did not make it so. It was no more than wishful thinking.)

  8. Paul I>> The German does translate “enter under my roof” literally, whereas Spanish says “into my house” and Portugese says “into my home” — no mention of roofs there.<<<

    So, Paul and Robert Johns, your beef with the new rendering is that it doesn't mention houses or homes as do Italian and Spanish? Are you really trying to convince me that 'having a roof over your head' does not literally mean 'having a home' in English? Good luck!

    btw, Paul, I missed your response to whether or not you had read Bishop Schneider's "Dominus Est" before you condemned it.

    1. “Having a roof over your head” = “Having a home” ??
      There’s a name for that: dynamic equivalence.

      I’m not following whether you favor dynamic equivalence or not. Now it seems like you do.


  9. George – please re-read JRF’s comments about the whole line (not just house or home or roof). His conclusion is that this whole phrase/line was a “private” presider prayer – thus, an accretion, over time and it would have been better to suppress or replace it with a more appropriate scriptural line at that point of the eucharist.

  10. Father>>“Having a roof over your head” = “Having a home” ??There’s a name for that: dynamic equivalence.<<

    Father, you might have me! I think whether or not substituting 'home' for 'a roof' actually constitutes dynamic equivalence might still be debatable. NTL our English (and the French — thank you Robert Johns for bringing this to my attention!!–I stand corrected as well!!–don't replace roof with home or any other 'dynamic equivalent) , they replace it with nothing….kind of like what our American English Credo does with 'Incarnate'.

    I still maintain that the reason why we are getting 'the treatment' from Rome is simply because our 1973 translation deviates the most of any from any standard,
    Even if that standard is dynamic equivalence. I'm way out on a limb here! but it will take some research to prove me wrong.

    Thank you Robert Johns, and Father, for participating in this discussion. It is imo very important and I don't want a bad translation to replace the 1973 any more than you all do.

  11. I think a liturgical reform should drop the “Lord I am not worthy” prayer — it does come across as a pious accretion, a sudden lurch into medieval individualism. In Anglican churches they say “The gifts of God for the people of God” which is much better communal and liturgical style.

      1. Yes indeed, and it also has the ONLY inclusive language Psalter in the English language approved for use by the Holy See!

      2. Perhaps others might prefer the Roman Catholic Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom used by the Melkites and others, when the laity says prior to receiving Holy Communion:
        “I believe and confess, Lord, that You are truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. I also believe that this is truly Your pure Body and that this is truly Your precious Blood. Therefore, I pray to You, have mercy upon me, and forgive my transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, in word and deed, known and unknown. And make me worthy without condemnation to partake of Your pure Mysteries for the forgiveness of sins and for life eternal. Amen.

        How shall I, who am unworthy, enter into the splendor of Your saints? If I dare to enter into the bridal chamber, my clothing will accuse me, since it is not a wedding garment; and being bound up, I shall be cast out by the angels. In Your love, Lord, cleanse my soul and save me.

        Loving Master, Lord Jesus Christ, my God, let not these holy Gifts be to my condemnation because of my unworthiness, but for the cleansing and sanctification of soul and body and the pledge of the future life and kingdom. It is good for me to cling to God and to place in Him the hope of my salvation.

        Receive me today, Son of God, as a partaker of Your mystical Supper. I will not reveal Your mystery to Your adversaries. Nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas. But as the thief I confess to You: Lord, remember me in Your kingdom.”

        It’s interesting that the Roman Catholic Church has such diversity on the institutional level. I suspect it is best to respect that diversity according to the various “Rites” and not mix them according to one’s whimsy. So for Latin Rite Catholics we have the EF and OF forms of the “Dominus Non Sum Dignus,” other legitimate rites have other ways, separate but equal!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.