Opening Prayer for Mass of Blessed John Paul II

Catholic News Service reports that the Opening Prayer (Collect) for the Mass of Blessed John Paul II, October 22nd, is:

O God, who are rich in mercy
and who willed that the Blessed John Paul II
should preside as Pope over your universal Church,
grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching,
we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ,
the sole Redeemer of mankind.
Who lives and reigns.

Here’s the Latin original:

Deus, dives in misericórdia,
qui beátum Ioánnem Paulum, papam,
univérsae Ecclésiae tuae praeésse voluísti,
praesta, quaésumus, ut, eius institútis edócti,
corda nostra salutíferae grátiae Christi,
uníus redemptóris hóminis, fidénter aperiámus.
Qui tecum.


  1. Here is the Collect in the other languages:

    Dieu, riche en miséricorde,
    tu as appelé le bienheureux Pape Jean-Paul II
    à guider ton Eglise répandue dans le monde entier;
    forts de son enseignement,
    accorde-nous d’ouvrir nos cœurs avec confiance
    à la grâce salvifique du Christ, unique Rédempteur de l’homme.

    Gott, du bist reich an Erbarmen
    und hast den seligen Papst Johannes Paul II.
    zur Leitung deiner ganzen Kirche bestellt;
    gib, dass wir, durch seine Lehre geführt,
    unsere Herzen vertrauensvoll öffnen
    für die heilbringende Gnade Christi,
    des einzigen Erlösers der Menschheit.

    Oh Dios, rico en misericordia,
    que has querido que el beato Juan Pablo II, papa,
    guiara toda tu Iglesia,
    te pedimos que, instruidos por sus enseñanzas,
    nos concedas abrir confiadamente nuestros corazones
    a la gracia salvadora de Cristo, único redentor del hombre.

    O Dio, ricco di misericordia,
    che hai chiamato il beato Giovanni Paolo II, papa,
    a guidare l’intera tua Chiesa,
    concedi a noi, forti del suo insegnamento,
    di aprire con fiducia i nostri cuori
    alla grazia salvifica di Cristo, unico Redentore dell’uomo.

    Ó Deus, rico de misericórdia,
    que escolhestes o beato João Paulo II
    para governar a Vossa Igreja como papa,
    concedei-nos que, instruídos pelos seus ensinamentos,
    possamos abrir confiadamente os nossos corações
    à graça salvífica de Cristo, único Redentor do homem.

    Boże, bogaty w miłosierdzie,
    z Twojej woli błogosławiony Jan Paweł ii, papież,
    kierował całym Kościołem,
    spraw, prosimy, abyśmy dzięki jego nauczaniu
    z ufnością otworzyli nasze serca
    na działanie zbawczej łaski Chrystusa,
    jedynego Odkupiciela człowieka.

    1. The Collect is lovely in Latin, incorporating the themes of Blessed John Paul’s first and second encyclical letters, Redemptor hominis and Dives in misericordia, the latter being also the popular devotion he promoted and enshrined in the Second Sunday of Easter by adding the title “Divine Mercy Sunday,” on the vigil of which he died and on the celebration of which he will be beatified.

      But who did the English translation?

      Because, it seems that, once again, the principles of Liturgiam authenticam are really not all that “carved in stone”, i.e., the translation does not have to be done “in the most exact manner” (n. 51) but, as Bishop Serratelli said, just “faithfully but not slavishly.”

      (1) “dives in misericordia” is a phrase modifying “Deus,” and not a subordinate clause; the translation turns it into a subordinate clause and joins it to the subordinate clause proper;
      (2) in that proper subordinate clause there is, in the Latin, a second person verb followed by an infinitive, “you willed . . . to preside”; in English this infinitive has become another extended clause, with John Paul’s simple title extended into a phrase: “you willed that . . . should preside as pope”
      (3) an adverb has been lost in translation, “fidenter”, but that adverb was an important one in the message of John Paul to which, I believe, the Collect is making reference.

      Literally, then, unless I’ve missed something, the strictly LA-style translation would read:

      O God, rich in mercy,
      who willed blessed John Paul, the pope,
      to preside over your universal Church,
      grant, we pray, that, instructed by his teaching,
      we may open our hearts without fear (lit., fearlessly)*
      to Christ, the sole Redeemer of mankind.

      * the adverb is important, I think, because – presumably – these lines refer not only to the Blessed’s first encyclical but to his inaugural homily (which will be in the Office of Readings for his Memorial): “Do not be afraid! Open your hearts to…

      1. But I DID miss something in the transcription . . . and besides that, the other language groups did an interesting thing with FIDENTER. So literally:

        O God, rich in mercy,
        who willed blessed John Paul, the pope,
        to preside over your universal Church,
        grant, we pray, that, instructed by his teaching,
        we may open our hearts without fear (lit., fearlessly)*
        to the saving grace of Christ, the sole Redeemer of mankind.

        FIDENTER is almost always “with confidence” in the other translations . . . but a secondary meaning of FIDENTER is FEARLESSLY, and since that “Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ! Open your hearts to Christ!” became a kind of rallying-cry in John Paul’s sermons, maybe it’s that second meaning, FEARLESSLY, we should go with . . . or, if we are allowed to do that “faithfully but not slavishly” thing, maybe:

        grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching, (some languages have this in the plural, “teachings”)
        we may not be afraid to open our hearts (?)
        to the saving grace of Christ, the sole Redeemer of mankind.

        Can anyone give a literal translation of the Polish?

  2. Will priests be permitted to commemorate the beatification Mass during the week of May 1st? With Lent over, there should be at least one “unimpeded” feria during the week. Some might derive spiritual benefit from celebrating John Paul II’s beatification in their own parish.

    I don’t see why it would be a huge deal if a priest celebrated a commemoration translated in the new style before the “official” roll-out of the new translation on 1st Advent 2011. Perhaps Rome disagrees. At the very least, let priests who celebrate privately pray the typical Latin propers of the new commemoration.

  3. It is notable that all the other languages except Polish do not translate praesta, quaesumus literally, as the English text does.

    Instead of “grant, we pray” they all say quite simply “grant us” in one form or another. The word quaesumus is not translated at all (except in Polish). If that’s good enough for Rome, why the tortuous squirming when it comes to English?

  4. Do we have a prayer for Blessed John XXIII yet, and is October 11 his day in the calendar? Never seen much on this.

    Is the prayer just for the beatification, or is that the prayer for his day in the calendar? Why October 22, his election anniversary?

    Inquiring minds want to know!!

    1. From

      [October 11] is the feast of Blessed John XXIII, pope from 1958-1963, best known for convening the Second Vatican Council. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 3, 2000. His feast is assigned to the day on which the first session of Vatican II opened in 1962. His feast is not on the General Roman Calendar, but can be celebrated locally.

  5. More bad English — and all the other prayers show how bad it is by their counter-example of FIDELITY TO THE LATIN and smoothly flowing diction. “who are rich in mercy
    and who willed that the Blessed John Paul II
    should preside as Pope” — this makes God some sort of papier-mache figure. “who are” is always awkward in English. It is never used is speech. “You who are my dearest friend” would become “you, my dearest friend” in good English. And the Latin does not have a relative pronoun here in any case. Praeesse voluisti is translated “willed that .. should preside” — but this use of the verb “to will” is not very effective in English, and makes God seem to be making an effort of will. The other languages avoid this artificiality by using fluent and eloquent expressions like chiamato, bestellt, querido, etc.

  6. Even the French, which has the inoffensive possibility of “voulu que” chose to use the verb “appeler” instead.

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