October 23, 2011

NEW TRANSLATION OF THE MASS, continued. Last week we discussed the changes to the Creed, or Profession of Faith, which basically (except for the ever-changing “Prayer of the Faithful”) is the last part the “Liturgy of the Word.” Now we move into the second major part of the Mass, or the “Liturgy of the Eucharist.”

After the priest has prepared the altar for the offering of the sacrifice, i.e., arranging the Missal, sacred vessels, linens, and the gifts of bread and wine, he then offers the gifts to God, taking first the paten with the host and then the chalice with wine, elevating them toward heaven as he prays the Offertory Prayers.

The new translation (NT) of the first of these, offering the bread, is very similar to the old translation (OT) but reflects a few changes that significantly add to our understanding of the action. While both versions begin, “Blessed are you Lord, God of all creation….,” the next phrase is somewhat altered:

OT: …Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made…
NT: …for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands …

The NT more exactly translates the Latin, and so adds new clarity to the prayer. While in the OT this phrase begins a new sentence, in the NT it is a continuation of the previous sentence, joined to the previous phrase (“Blessed…all creation) by the word “for.” This helps us understand why the Lord is “blessed” (i.e., worthy of supreme worship): the very bread we givetoHim in sacrifice we first “received” from Him. It is confusing in both translation and theology to say “the earth has given,” since the earth is an impersonal instrument and so cannot really “give.” God, who is a real loving person, is the true giver, and as “Lord God of all creation” he creates and gives us first the earth and then its “fruit.” As the OT of Eucharistic Prayer I (the Roman Canon) reminds us: “from the many gifts you have given us, we offer to you, God…”

This is emphasized as the NT says that the bread is the “work of human hands,” while the OT said, “which human hands have made.” This much more accurate translation of the Latin reminds us that God is the true “maker” of the bread (as we pray in the Creed, He is “maker of heaven and earth, of all things…”). At the same time we see that while we “receive” the gift He has made for us, through our “work” we add something of ourselves to it, so that it becomes truly our own, and a symbol of all our work and even of ourselves, which we can then truly give back to Him as a gift. The NT has given us a much different, and more spiritually rich, prayer.

In response to this prayer, if the priest says it out loud, the people still respond: “Blessed be God forever.” Then, after offering the wine and washing his hands the priest turns to the people and says:

OT: Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters), that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.
NT: Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters), that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.

Here again we find another small but important change. In the Latin the priest refers to “meum ac vestrum sacrificium,” which is properly translated in the NT as “my sacrifice and yours,” rather than the OT’s “our sacrifice.” This subtly reminds us that there are actuallytwosacrifices being offered here: 1)the people’s offering of their own personal sacrifice of themselves (including all their prayers, works and sufferings), and 2) Christ’s own sacrifice of the Cross which the priest offers in persona Christi (“my”). The people’s self-gift (represented by the simple bread and wine, “the work of human hands”) is united to and perfected in Christ’s self-gift to the Father on the Cross in the consecration of the Eucharist.

The people’s response remains mostly unchanged, except for the addition of one word missing from the OT, “holy”: “May the Lord accept …. and the good of all his holy Church.”

Skipping ahead to the “Preface” of the Eucharistic Prayer (we will return later to the “Prayer over the Gifts/Offerings”), we first examine the “Preface dialogue.” Notice, there is no change to the priest’s “side” of the dialogue.

Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: OT: And also with you.
NT: And with your spirit.

Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: OT and NT: We lift them up to the Lord.

Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. People:
OT: It is right to give him thanks and praise.
NT: It is right and just.
Latin: Dignum et justum est.

Of course the ubiquitous change “and with your spirit,” which we covered in my Oct. 9 column, is incorporated here. But we also note the change to the final response. The first three words remain the same in the NT as in the OT: “It is right” accurately translates “Dignum…est.” The rest of the response is substantially different, however. “Justum est” means simply “It is just,” not at all meaning “to give him thanks and praise.” This was an easy and necessary change to make, especially given Liturgiam Authenticam’s mandate that “the original text…must be translated …without omissions or additions….” The Latin and NT remind us that justice demands we give the thanks to God that He is due.

One small note: while the middle response, “We lift them up to the Lord,” remains literally unchanged, it will be a “practical” for some folks: many people currently respond, mistakenly, “We have lifted them up to the Lord.” I may be mistaken, but I believe this comes from one of the interim translations in use in the 1960s; folks memorized it and it stuck even when it was changed and finalized in the “OT” of 1973. Memorized responses become part of us, and they are hard to change. That’s one reason why I’m so concerned about the implementation of this new translation. But I am convinced that if we know why we are saying different words, we will more eagerly and easily embrace the new translation as our own.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

October 16, 2011

NEW TRANSLATION OF THE MASS, continued. Today we’ll take a look at the changes to the Creed, or Profession of Faith.

The Creed is actually called the “Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.” Its original form was approved by Council of Nicaea in 325AD, the first ecumenical council of the Church. Recall that for most of the first three centuries of the Church it was illegal to be a Christian, and thousands were martyred for the faith. This persecution caused there to be very poor communication between the Christians around the world, which inevitably led to confusion in doctrines from place to place. So, when the Emperor Constantine ended the persecution in 321, the bishops then came together in council to discuss and clarify our common or “Catholic” (“universal”) beliefs. The main result was the precisely worded “Nicene Creed,” which listed the most fundamental articles of faith. In 381 the Council of Constantinople adopted several key clarifications to counter certain “Arian” heresies. The Creed has remained unchanged since then, except for the clarification called the “Filioque” added by Pope Benedict VIII (1014-15).

This then, is an absolutely uniquely important treasure of our faith, with the original Greek words carefully chosen by the ancient fathers, and equally carefully translated immediately into Latin. Martyrs have died for refusing to deny these words. So you can see why a correct and precise translation into English is so critical.

For the most part the changes to the Creed in the new translation (NT) are rather few. So instead of going through line by line I will first point out one general change, and then move on to explain other key words and phrases that have changed.

“One general change” reverberates throughout the NT, and will be, perhaps, the change most difficult to adjust to, in no small part because it is reflected in the very first word of the NT. While the old translation (OT) began, “We believe,” the NT begins, “I believe,” reflecting the actual and literal Latin “Credo” (rather than “Credimus”), and emphasizing that while we hold the doctrines of the Creed as one common faith together, faith is something each individual must profess for salvation. This shift from the plural voice to the singular voice permeates the prayer and necessitates changes in several other places.

That opening line also has one other change, at the very end, where it expresses our belief that the one God is maker of, as the OT says, “all that is seen and unseen,” and as the NT translates more accurately: “all things visible and invisible.” This article is not about whether we accidentally see or don’t see some things, but that some things are seeable and some are not seeable: i.e., “visible and invisible.” This refers, for example, to angels and demons (who are spirits), and alludes to the words St. Paul writes about Jesus in Col. 1:15-16:

“He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers …”

The next changes in translation comes in very next line:

Latin: Et in unum Dóminum Iesum Christum, Fílium Dei unigénitum, et ex Patre natum, ante ómnia sæcula.
OT: We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,
NT: And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all
ages.

The NT more accurately translates the Latin, while the OT reflected some confusing and unnecessary re-ordering and editing of the Latin.

The most important change in the text comes next, just a few lines down, as the Latin speaks of Jesus as, “consubstantiálem Patri.” The OT translated this as “one in Being with the Father,” while the NT more precisely says, “consubstantial with the Father.” This change was specifically required by Liturgiam Authenticam 56, because of the importance of this dogma. Unfortunately, while the expression “one in being” is not incorrect, it is theologically vague, whereas the term “consubstantiálem” (and the underlying Greek “homoousious”) was coined by the early Church to have a very precise theological meaning; that is, the Father and Son share the same nature, literally share the same substance, the divine nature. As the Catechism (262) teaches: “with the Father the Son is one and the same God.”

Another critical change comes several lines later, as we profess our faith about Jesus:

Latin: Et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto ex María Vírgine…
OT: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary…. NT: and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary….

The Latin here is not concerned with Jesus being born, but with the fact that he was incarnated—that he literally he took on flesh. The article is looking not at Christmas, but nine months earlier at the Incarnation when the eternal God the Son took to himself a human nature, body and soul: God “became man.” (Note, the phrase “the power of” is nowhere in the Latin, and so is omitted in the NT).

The Creed goes on to say that Jesus “rose again on the third day.” This happened, as the Latin says, “secúndum Scriptúras,” which the OT rendered as “in fulfillment of the Scriptures,” but the NT more accurately renders: “in accordance with the Scriptures.” The NT brings out a subtle but important point intended in the Latin but missed in the OT: the word “fulfillment” in the OT refers back to the Old Testament prophesies, whereas “secundum”/”in-accordance” refers to both the Old Testament prophesies and the New Testament eyewitness accounts: to those who deny that Jesus really physically rose from the dead, the Creed says, “he did in fact rise just like the Gospels say.”

As the Creed moves on to speak about the Holy Spirit it makes a small but important change in translating the word “adoratur” from “worshipped” to the more exact “adored.” While lost in common parlance, “worship” is, by definition, something that can be given to both God and creatures (British refer to certain public officials as “your worship”). But “adoration” is a form of worship that can be given to God alone, and is theologically distinguishable from other forms of worship of God (e.g., supplication, confession), as a humble recognition of God’s transcendence.

The Creed goes on to say “Confíteor unum baptísma,” rendered in the OT as “We acknowledge one baptism,” and in the NT as “I confess one baptism.” The NT reminds us that the faith is not something we simply recognize, but rather something we confess, or publicly make our own.

Finally, we conclude with a statement of our faith in “the resurrection of the dead.” The Latin “exspecto,” translated as “we look for” in the OT, is better translated in the NT as “I look forward to.” We are not merely watching, but rather joyfully anticipating “the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.”

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

October 9, 2011

NEW TRANSLATION OF THE ROMAN MISSAL, continued. The last few weeks we’ve discussed the new translations of the Holy, Holy, the Mystery of Faith and the Gloria, which we have already begun to sing at Mass. This week we’ll begin to discuss the remainder of the changes that will be introduced on November 27, in particular the prayers of the Introductory Rites.

Some of these changes were mandated by specific provisions of the Vatican’s 2001 instruction on translation, Liturgiam authenticam [LA]. In particular, LA 56:

Certain expressions that belong to the heritage…of the ancient Church…are to be respected by a translation that is as literal as possible, as for example the words of the people’s response Et cum spiritu tuo, or the expression mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa in the Act of Penance of the Order of Mass.

Of all the changes in the new translation, the most difficult for the people to get used to will be the change in a response repeated throughout the Mass, literally from beginning to end. Whenever the priest says, “The Lord be with you” (or “peace be with you”), it has become second nature for us to respond, “And also with you.” In the NT, however, this response will change to, “And with your Spirit,” which, following the mandate of LA 56, is a word-for-word translation of the Latin, “Et cum spirtu tuo.” This brings the English translation into accord with the Mass translations in the other major languages (e.g., Spanish: “y con tu espiritu,” French: “et avec votre esprit,” etc.).

The OT reflects the view of some that the exchange “The Lord be with you…And with your Spirit” is more or less a simple friendly exchange of greetings. Others, however, including the renowned theologians Fr. Joseph Jungmann and Cardinal Yves Congar, point out that the tradition sees this exchange as a form of prayer. The priest calls on the Lord to be with the people, and then the people respond by invoking the Holy Spirit to enliven the special graces given to the priest at ordination (his “spirit”) so that he may perform his special priestly sacramental duties well and fully in the Mass. Because of this, from the earliest days of the Church the liturgical response, “et cum spiritu tuo” was only said to a bishop, priest or deacon.

Of course, besides the greeting “Dominus vobiscum”/“The Lord be with you,” the Roman Missal provides the priest with two alternative greetings, which we should consider briefly. The first alternative is taken directly from 2 Cor. 13:13[14], and was well translated in the OT as: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” The only difference in the NT is changing the word “fellowship” to “communion.” This seems to reflect the thought of both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who maintain that the word “koinonia” in the original Greek Scriptures is better translated as “communion,” signifying a relationship of true unity/union, rather than “fellowship” which implies merely a type of friendship.

The second alternative greeting, however, shows significant differences between the OT and the NT, as the NT uses a word for word literal translation of the Latin, which directly quotes St. Paul’s greeting in Rom 1:7 and 1 Cor. 1:3.

Latin: Grátia vobis et pax a Deo Patre nostro et Dómino Iesu Christo.
OT: The grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. NT: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Immediately after the opening greeting and response, the priest introduces the penitential rite:
Latin: Fratres, agnoscámus peccáta nostra, ut apti simus ad sacra mystéria celebránda. OT: My brothers and sisters, to prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries, let
us call to mind our sins.

NT: Brethren (or brothers and sisters), let us acknowledge our sins, and so prepare
ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.

While at first the changes here seem only to be in word order, one key difference should be noted: “agnoscamus” is more properly translated as “acknowledge” rather than “call to mind.” The difference is important: we not only think about our sins, we make it publicly known that we are sinners. The invitation is not to simple internal reflection, but to public confession.

Note that in the OT three different forms of the invitation by the priest were provided, and the priest was instructed to use “these or similar words,” so that he could change the words if he chose to. These options are not in the Latin, and so not in the NT.

Although the penitential rite may take various forms, the one most commonly used at St. Raymond’s is the ancient “Confiteor,” or “I confess.” Several changes are made to the words of this public confession, but the most dramatic is found in the following:

Latin: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa.
OT: through my own fault.
NT: through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault

It is striking how the OT reduced the three “mea culpas” to one, and how the NT corrects this, according the specific mandate of LA 56 (see above). This omission in the OT seems to have been an application of Vatican II’s call to reduce “useless repetitions” in the liturgy (see last week’s column). However, this principle applies to the Pope (and his collaborators) as he composes/selects the prayers to be included in the Latin Missal, and it is not the role of translators to second guess the Pope’s judgment (see LA 20).

Moreover, not all repetition is “useless.” Consider two examples: 1) “Lord [Christ] have mercy” (“Kyrie eleison”), and 2) “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.” Both of these use the triple repetition to emphasize God’s infinite mercy. The thrice repeated “through my fault” in the Confiteor emphasizes our sinfulness, and so forms a parallel and connection to these two subsequent threefold pleas for God’s mercy. [Note also: 1) any triple repetition in the Mass is always an allusion to the Trinity, and not to be considered “useless,” and 2) the triple “mea culpa” reminds us of Christ’s triple forgiveness of St. Peter’s triple denial].

Note also the OT’s omission of the phrase “my most grievous fault,” (“mea máxima culpa”). We also see a similar omission earlier in the prayer where “peccávi nimis” (“I have greatly sinned “) is translated in the OT as “I have sinned.” There seems to be a clear trend in the OT of downplaying the gravity of our guilt. Fortunately, this is corrected in the NT.

Besides the Confiteor, there are two other optional forms for the Penitential Rite. The first of these (“Lord, we have sinned against you…”) has been substantially reworded in NT to conform to the Latin, but for brevity’s sake I will forego further discussion here. The second alternative (“You were sent to heal the contrite…”) remains mostly unchanged.

Next week…The Creed.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

October 2, 2011

NEW TRANSLATION OF THE ROMAN MISSAL, continued. Last week we discussed the new translation of the Mystery of Faith (formerly called the Memorial Acclamation) (last week’s column is available on the parish website). This week’s column I’d like to discuss the changes to the Gloria, which we will begin to sing on at Sunday Masses on October 8-9.

The changes to this prayer are substantial, since the old 1973 translation was very flawed, especially by the standards of outlined in the Vatican’s 2001 instruction on translation, Liturgiam authenticam [LA].

The Gloria begins with the angelic Christmas acclamation to the shepherds. Although the original Greek Scripture text is difficult to translate, the text in the Latin has been the translation in liturgical use since at least the 3rd century, and the new English translation is faithful to it:

Latin: Glória in excélsis Deo et in terra pax homínibus bonæ voluntátis.
Old Translation: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.
New Translation: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will.

While the first phrase (Glória in excélsis Deo) of the old translation [OT] agrees with the biblical text, the second part does not, no matter what “version” of the Bible you use; nor does it agree to the Latin at all. The OT refers to “his people,” which would properly apply only to Christians and Jews, while the Latin and the new translation [NT] refers to “people of good will,” extending the angels’ greeting to any human being on earth who is open to hear the good news, indicating that Christ has come to save all mankind, if they will simple hear and follow the Gospel.

The next part of the Glory is a short litany of praise.

Latin: [1] Laudámus te, [2] benedícimus te, [3] adorámus te, [4] glorificámus te, [5]
grátias ágimus tibi propter magnam glóriam tuam,
OT: [1] we worship you, [2] we give you thanks, [3] we praise you for your glory.
NT: [1] We praise you, [2] we bless you, [3] we adore you, [4] we glorify you, [5] we give you thanks for your great glory,

Besides the fact that the OT did not at all accurately translate the simple Latin into English, we also see one of the key problems in the OT that is prevalent in this prayer: omissions. Notice how the five phrases of the Latin and the NT are shortened into just three in the OT. I believe this comes from the effort of the translators of the OT to apply a principle enunciated by Vatican II (SC 34): “The rites…should be short, clear, and free from useless repetitions.” But, as LA 20 points out, applying that principle is the job of the “composers” of the rites (i.e., the Pope and his assistants), not the translators of what is composed:

The Latin liturgical texts …are themselves the fruit of the liturgical renewal, just recently brought forth [i.e., the reforms of Vatican II]….[T]he original [Latin] text…must be translated integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions…

The Pope has already applied the principles of Vatican II when he decided what should be in the Latin, and by omitting words or phrases from those prayers translators place their judgment above the Pope’s.
We should also note the last words, “magnam glóriam tuam,” are well translated in the NT as “your great glory,” but the OT omits the magnam/great. This is an example of lowering of the sense of sacred so characteristic of the OT: the prayer is extolling God’s glory, “Glory to God”, and yet the OT can’t afford to call it “great.”

The next part presents only a very small much change:

Latin: Dómine Deus, Rex cæléstis, Deus Pater omnípotens. OT: Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father,
NT: Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father.

But notice, in the Latin and NT this phrase follows the above litany of praise, whereas the OT moved it to proceed the litany. Perhaps there was a sensible reason for this, but I have never understood it. Some argue that it was moved to the beginning to clarify who object of the litany was, i.e., God the Father; but that is to change the prayer, not to translate— it presumes to correct the Pope and centuries of Catholics before him.

The next part has only a slight, but very doctrinally important change:

Latin: Dómine Fili unigénite, Iesu Christe, OT: Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, NT: Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,

The OT is at best doctrinally “confusing” in calling Jesus the “only Son” of the Father, since all the baptized are sons and daughters of the Father. But as the Latin and NT point out, Jesus is the only “begotten” Son of the Father, while the baptized become sons and daughters by being united to Christ in baptism, sharing in His unique sonship.

The changes in the next part are again due to the OT’s omission of texts: 16 words in the English! (See the underlined text).

Latin: Dómine Deus, Agnus Dei, Fílius Patris,
qui tollis peccáta mundi, miserére nobis;
qui tollis peccáta mundi, súscipe deprecatiónem nostram. Qui sedes ad déxteram Patris, miserére nobis.
OT: Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.

NT: Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.

Notice how the omitted phrases are repetitions of phrases or concepts. Again, this was an apparent attempt to apply Vatican II’s principle of reducing “useless repetitions,” which was not the translators job presumptuously implies an error in the Pope’s Latin text.

But notice, Vatican II called for reduction in “useless repetition,” but sometimes repetition is a useful tool for emphasizing important points, or for poetic grace. For example, here we repeat “you take away the sins of the world” and “have mercy on us” to emphasize (among other things) both Christ’s action toward us and our petition to Him.

Notice also the change from the OT’s “sin of the world” to the NT’s “sins of the world,” accurately translating the Latin “peccata,” but also making an important theological point: Christ does not take away simply “sin” in general, but all sins of all the individual persons in the world through all time.

The rest of the Gloria is without change.

To be continued….

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

September 25, 2011

We continue our discussion of the new translation of the Roman Missal. Today we will examine the new translation of the Mystery of Faith (formerly called the Memorial Acclamation) which we will begin to chant at next Sunday’s Masses (except 7am and 7pm).

First, let’s review some applicable principles of translation outlined in the Vatican’s 2001 instruction on translation, Liturgiam authenticam [LA].

 LA required “rendering the original texts faithfully and accurately …translated integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions… and without paraphrases or glosses.”
 “The Latin liturgical texts …, while drawing on centuries of …transmitting the faith of the Church …are themselves the fruit of the liturgical renewal…. [T]he translation of the liturgical texts of the Roman Liturgy is not …a work of creative innovation…” In short, the Latin prayers were carefully composed—don’t add or change anything.

 “The manner of translating the liturgical books should foster a correspondence between the biblical text itself and the liturgical texts of ecclesiastical composition which contain biblical words or allusions.” In short, when the Latin quotes or alludes to Scripture, the translation should reflect this.

Before considering how these principles help us to understand the new translation of “The Mystery of Faith,” let’s take a moment to consider the purpose and meaning of this part of the ritual. The term “Mystery of faith” (Mysterium fidei), emphasizes that the Eucharist, in as much as it is truly the miraculous re-presentation of both the sacrifice of the Cross and the Resurrection, is truly the central mystery of our faith. As Bd. John Paul II wrote in his 2003 encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia:

“When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the memorial of her Lord’s death and resurrection, this central event of salvation becomes really present and “the work of our redemption is carried out”…. [EE 11]. “Christ’s passover includes not only his passion and death, but also his resurrection….The Eucharistic Sacrifice makes present not only the mystery of the Saviour’s passion and death, but also the mystery of the resurrection which crowned his sacrifice.” [EE 14]

In proclaiming the “Mystery of Faith” immediately after the consecration we proclaim not only our faith in the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but in awe and adoration we also acknowledge the profundity of what has happened: we are in the presence of and taken up into that eternal act that redeems the world.

Moving into a review of the new translation, we note how the “new” text makes clear that the priest and the people both make this proclamation, but each in their own specific way. The priest does not do so merely as an individual Christian, as the rest of the assembly does, but rather, as the one who has offered the sacrifice standing in persona Christi. We see this very clearly in a careful consideration of the proclamation/acclamation the priest says immediately after the consecration:

Latin: “Mysterium Fidei.”
Old 1973 translation: “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.” New 2011 translation: “The mystery of faith.”

Notice, the old 1973 translation adds the phrase “Let us proclaim…” which substantially changes the meaning of what the priest is saying/doing, making it an invitation for the people to join the priest in reciting one of several optional “versions” of “the mystery of faith” (e.g., “Christ has died…,” “Lord by your cross and resurrection…, etc.). But the Latin and in the new 2011 translation do not include this invitation; rather, the priest makes his own proclamation, said in persona Christi, acknowledging that this (the Eucharist) is “the mystery of faith.” This reflects the ancient practice (now suppressed) of placing the phrase “mystery of faith” within the actual words of consecration, so that in the consecration the priest, speaking in persona Christi, would say (in Latin), “This is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant: the mystery of faith…”

In response to the priest’s proclamation, the people make their own proclamation of the “mystery of faith,” this one with more descriptive words expressive of the reality of the salvific nature of Lord’s death and resurrection made present on the altar. [Note: it would seem reasonable for the priest join in the people’s response to assist them in 1) knowing which option to use, and 2) encourage them to make the acclamation.]

Now let’s consider the new translations of each of the optional proclamations/acclamations of the people.

Option 1

Latin: “Mortem tuam annuntiámus, Dómine, et tuam resurrectiónem confitemur, donec vénias.”
Old: “Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory.”
New: “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.

The new translation is an excellent translation of the Latin, while the old translation is more a “paraphrase” of the Latin, and also inserts us into the proclamation by adding “our death…our life.” Moreover, the new translation more clearly follows the Latin in drawing on St. Paul’s teaching in 1 Cor 11:26 that in the Eucharist “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

Option 2

Latin: “Quotiescúmque manducámus panem hunc et cálicem bíbimus, mortem tuam annuntiámus, Dómine, donec vénias.”
Old: “When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.”
New: “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.”

Here, both the old and new translations are very similar. Even so, the old translation added the words “Jesus” and “in glory,” which are not in the original Latin, and tend to distract from the almost direct correlation to 1 Cor 11:26.

Option 3

Latin: “Salvátor mundi, salva nos, qui per crucem et resurrectiónem tuam liberásti nos.” Old: “Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Savior of
the World.”
New: “Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us
free.”

Here we see that while the old translation kept much of the overall sense of the Latin text, it is essentially a paraphrase. However we also see how the old leaves out the invocation “Save us” (“salva nos”) that is unique to this option, and so an important omission.

Option 4.

The old translation included a 4th option, the very popular, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” This text, however, is completely “a work of creative innovation” and has no parallel in the Latin original, and so has been omitted from the English Missal.

To be continued…

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

September 18, 2011

Today we begin the gradual introduction the new translation of the Mass at all those Masses with singing (all but 7am and 7pm). We begin with singing the “Holy, Holy,” which has only a minor change in wording (see last week’s bulletin, available on the website), but in the next few weeks the changes to the “Mystery of Faith” and the “Gloria” will prove much more challenging. Please make every effort to learn the new prayers and chants.

BACKGROUND OF THE NEW TRANSLATIONS. Many of you have been asking why the new translation of the Mass is necessary—why not leave well enough alone? Let me try to briefly answer that.

Most of you know that the “original source” book for the Mass is the Latin Missale Romanum. Since 1964 this Latin Missal has been translated into the native tongues (“vernacular”) of the various countries throughout the world by the Bishops of those countries. The English translation is entrusted to the International Commission for English in the Liturgy, “ICEL,” composed of bishops and “experts” from the English speaking countries. In 1973 the current English translation was fully implemented throughout the dioceses of the English speaking world.

To many it was readily apparent that there were many important deficiencies in the 1973 translation: “something was lost in translation.” Eventually these deficiencies drew the attention of Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI). This became very clear in 1997 when the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW) rejected the ICEL proposed (and U.S. Bishops’ approved) new translation of the “Rite of Ordination,” criticizing it for “failure to adhere faithfully to the Latin …and to convey accurately in English its contents, … the translation is not without doctrinal problems.”

In the year 2000 Pope John Paul promulgated a new edition of the Latin Missale Romanum, with some new prayers, feasts and instructions for the celebration of Mass. In 2001 the CDW, in cooperation with Ratzinger and with the explicit approval of the Pope, issued a new instruction with norms for translating the Missal. That instruction, Liturgiam authenticam, was the equivalent to a liturgical earthquake, as it not only laid down new norms but also ended the substantial debate over translations and completely restructured the translation process, organization and personnel.

To more clearly see the problems of the old translation, and to help identify the importance of the new translation, let’s consider some of the key provisions of Liturgiam authenticam (LA).
The key problem in the 1973 translation was the use of translating principle called “dynamic equivalency” which seeks to convey the underlying meanings of phrases without emphasis on the exact/precise meaning of the words translated, allowing for a certain creativity and innovation, as well as vague paraphrasing. This was profoundly problematic on various levels, and so LA 20 addressed this, noting the problems, prohibiting this approach, and replacing it with what is sometimes called “formal equivalency”:

The Latin liturgical texts of the Roman Rite, while drawing on centuries of ecclesial experience in transmitting the faith of the Church received from the Fathers, are themselves the fruit of the liturgical renewal, just recently brought forth. In order that such a rich patrimony may be preserved and passed on through the centuries, it is to be kept in mind from the beginning that the translation of the liturgical texts of the Roman Liturgy is not so much a work of creative innovation as it is of rendering the original texts faithfully and accurately into the vernacular language. While it is permissible to arrange the wording, the syntax and the style in such a way as to prepare a flowing vernacular text suitable to the rhythm of popular prayer, the original text, insofar as possible, must be translated integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content, and without paraphrases or glosses. Any adaptation to the characteristics or the nature of the various vernacular languages is to be sober and discreet.

Another problem addressed in LA 32 was sort of the “dumbing” down of the language, which would often reflect an overly narrow context or ideological interpretation. (Sometimes you will notice a prayer in the 1973 translation that seems stuck in the pop language of the 1960s).

The translation should not restrict the full sense of the original text within narrower limits. To be avoided on this account are expressions characteristic of commercial publicity, political or ideological programs, passing fashions, and those which are subject to regional variations or ambiguities in meaning. Academic style manuals or similar works, since they sometimes give way to such tendencies, are not to be considered standards for liturgical translation. On the other hand, works that are commonly considered “classics” in a given vernacular language may prove useful in providing a suitable standard for its vocabulary and usage.

In a similar way, the 1973 translation often omitted language that in the Latin had clear connection to Scripture or to theological or pious language of the church’s ancient tradition (see last week’s column’s discussion of the “Holy, Holy”), thus robbing the translation of its context. So LA 39 provides:

Characteristic of the orations of the Roman liturgical tradition as well as of the other Catholic Rites is a coherent system of words and patterns of speech, consecrated by the books of Sacred Scripture and by ecclesial tradition, especially the writings of the Fathers of the Church. For this reason the manner of translating the liturgical books should foster a correspondence between the biblical text itself and the liturgical texts of ecclesiastical composition which contain biblical words or allusions. In the translation of such texts, the translator would best be guided by the manner of expression that is characteristic of the version of the Sacred Scriptures approved for liturgical use in the territories for which the translation is being prepared.

This is only scratching the surface of the topic, and I plan to expand on all this as I discuss the individual prayers in the coming weeks. But I hope this introduction helps you to understand a little better why so many, including Popes John Paul and Benedict, saw the need for a radical change in the translations.

I know all change can be challenging. But be patient and open to the Holy Spirit’s movement of the Church in this direction, and as times goes on I’m sure you’ll be grateful for the changes as they bear fruit in a more profound participation in the mysteries of our faith.

Webpage on the new translation. For more information on the new translation go to the parish website, http://www.straymonds.org/ , and click New Translation of the Roman Missal. In particular, there you will find a link to the full text of Liturgiam authenticam, as well as links to listen to audio recordings of the various new sung Mass parts (“Holy, Holy,” “Gloria,” etc.).

ACTION ALERT: FREEDOM OF RELIGION. In today’s bulletin you will find an insert regarding the federal government’s new proposed regulations implementing part of the “2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”—what some call “Obamacare.” These proposed regulations are problematic in many ways. In particular they require almost all private health care plans to provide contraception (including abortifacients) and sterilization services to employees, with only minimal and largely meaningless “conscience clause” protection for churches that hold such “services” to gravely immoral.

I urge you to take immediate action against this unprecedented assault on religious freedom. See the insert, and our website (“Respect Life” page), for more information on these terrible regulations.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

September 11, 2011

Where were you 10 years ago today, September 11, 2001? Where were you found out that an airplane had crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center? Or that a second plane had crashed into the south tower? Or that a third plane had crashed into the Pentagon? Or that a fourth plane was headed toward the White House or Capital, but had crashed in a field in Pennsylvania? Or when you heard the Twin Towers had collapsed to the ground? Where were you?

I was just coming back from saying 8:30 Mass at St. Andrew’s when I passed the opened door of my pastor’s room and heard the cable news reporting on the first crash. As I came in to his room to see what was going on, at 9:02 a.m., I saw the second crash. I spent a good part of the next hour in front of the television watching in disbelief, anger and grief. And then we heard news about the third crash, this time just miles away at the Pentagon. I left the television, heading over to the school, knowing that some of our dear children might now be orphans.

Where were you? For most of us, I think, it’s seared into our memories. Maybe some of you were at the Pentagon that day. I know many of you had dear friends or family members there.

What a terrible day. Words can’t express the rush of emotions, not the least of which was fear. Fear of the unknown—we are free and open society and our enemies were aggressively exploiting that: we were completely vulnerable to almost any kind of terror attack.

But in the middle of all those emotions, something else came to the forefront. As surprising as the attacks were, almost equally surprising was the general response of almost all Americans: a dramatic national turning toward God in prayer. Even by the media, as we heard reporters and anchors saying over and over things like, “please, God,” or “they’re in our prayers.” And what an amazing sight that evening, as hundreds of members of Congress sang “God bless America” on the front steps of the Capitol. God and prayer were our most secure hope, and the whole country seemed to understand that.

“We will never forget.” That was the motto of the day. A lot of things have happened since then. A lot more people have died because of that day— over 6000 of our military men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. And it seems like some of us have forgotten. But we mustn’t do that. We must never forget that we have enemies who want to destroy our country, and our faith, and that they have and are capable of coming here and killing us. We must never forget that 3000 thousand people were killed in
the 9/11/01 attacks, and that thousands of Americans have died, 10’s of thousands have been wounded, and millions have been deployed to war (including many of you) to defend us from future attacks. We must never forget.

And above all, we must never forget that God is our only sure and certain hope. He alone is our strength and shield when all human efforts fail, when enemies surround us, or life overwhelms us. He is always there to love us, uphold us, protect us and give us peace.

Today, we remember and pray for souls of all those who died in the 9/11 attacks, and in the War on Terror. And we remember and pray for all who have sacrificed to protect our liberty and safety. And we even remember and pray for our enemies, as Christ commanded us to. And we remember that God alone is our hope and sure security. Let us pray, that WE WILL NEVER FORGET.

NEXT WEEK, NEW PRAYERS BEGIN. Next weekend we will begin the gradual transition to the new translation of the Mass by singing the new “Holy, Holy” (the Sanctus). All are asked to try to get to Mass 10 minutes early to hear and practice this new sung version—both a new melody and new words. Note: This does not apply to the 7pm and 7am Masses that have no music.

Over the next few weeks we will introduce the new Mystery of Faith and the Gloria, but we begin with the Holy, Holy because the new melody is very familiar to most of us and the change in wording is very slight. In fact, the only change is replacing 3 words with one word. Compare the first lines of the “old” and “new,” and the Latin original:

Old: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might.
New: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.
Latin: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

The Latin word being translated is “Sabaoth,” which is a transliteration of the Hebrew “Tsaba,” a word repeated through the Old Testament, and almost always translated as “hosts,” referring to the great armies of angels that serve the Lord. The entire phrase is taken almost directly from the Isaiah 6:3:
“I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple. Seraphim [angels] were stationed above;…One cried out to the other:

“Holy, holy, holy* is the LORD of hosts! All the earth is filled with his glory!”

At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke. (Isaiah 6:1-4)

In the Mass this prayer is sung just as we enter into the most holy part of the ritual, the Eucharistic Prayer. It reminds us that we too are about to enter into the heavenly temple as Christ descends to the altar at the consecration.

Besides being a totally incorrect and inadequate translation of the word “sabaoth,” the old translation of “power and might” separates us from this important Biblical text from Isaiah. While some argue that this is so small a change it was unnecessary, words have meaning, and by changing one word we go from thinking “God is powerful and mighty,” to “God is Lord of the army of angels who serve and worship Him in the heavenly temple, where we are about to enter and serve and worship Him in union with them.”

Some also argue, that nobody uses the word “hosts” in today’s commonly spoken English. True, but remember 1) using unusual words reminds us that we are doing something unusual and different—we are worshiping God (the word “holy” actually means “completely different” or “set apart”); and 2) this is the word used in almost all translation of Scripture and for centuries of English speaking peoples.

Here in this one word we see several principles behind the new translation, including: accuracy in word and meaning, Scriptural and historical context, rich theological nuance, and the necessity of a common sacred language.

Webpage on the new translation. For more information on the new translation I invite you to go to the parish website, http://www.straymonds.org/ , and click New Translation of the Roman Missal. This will lead you to a webpage with all sorts of helpful resources. In particular, at the bottom of that page you will find links to listen to audio recordings of the various new sung Mass parts—I highly encourage you to listen to these, and practice them on your own, so that we can all join in singing with the angels our praise to God in His holy temple.

July 17, 2011

Due to an error in the bulletin last week, part of Fr. De Celles’ letter was inadvertently omitted. The following is his complete letter from July 17th.

Yesterday, Saturday July 16, was the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, memorializing the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite priest, and her gift to him of the “Brown Scapular” on July 16, 1251.

The origins of the Carmelites (The Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel), are somewhat uncertain, but it seems the order originated when certain devout souls came together after the third crusade in the late 12th century in the Holy Land to live as hermits near Mount Carmel, where the Old Testament Prophet Elijah had defeated the priests of Baal with signs of the great power of the God of Israel (1 Kings 18). There they built a chapel dedicated to “Blessed Mary of Mount Carmel,” indicating their dedication to the Mother of Our Lord. After the Holy Land was reconquered by the Muslim armies in the early 13th century most of the friars returned to their homelands in Europe, where they established new Carmelite monasteries.

St. Simon Stock entered the order as it first took root in his native England, and was eventually elected to head the order in 1247, at the age of 82. During a time of great tribulation in the order St. Simon appealed to Our Lady, and she in turn appeared to him with words of consolation and hope. At that time she also gave to him the Brown Scapular, a long piece of fabric, as wide as the shoulders, worn down the front and back (reaching down to the feet) with a hole in the center where the head passes through. In giving him the Scapular Our Lady said: “Take, beloved son, this Scapular of your order as a badge of my confraternity and for you and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant”. The Carmelites immediately began to wear this Scapular as part of their regular habit, and it seems that very soon afterward many non-Carmelites, both lay and cleric, also began to wear it, usually in a smaller form of a two small pieces of cloth held together by two strings, worn around the neck, hanging down in front and back. This practice continues to this day.

It should be noted, however, that the promise of Our Lady was to “all Carmelites,” so, from the beginning of this devotion, or “sacramental,” in order to participate in her promises it has been necessary for the wearer of the Scapular to, in some way, be officially associated with the Carmelite order. With this in mind the Carmelites established the “Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel,” which any Catholic may be enrolled in through a short ceremony and blessing conducted by a priest.

It must be understood that the Scapular is in no way a “a good luck charm.” Rather, as Pope Pius XII wrote on the 700th anniversary of the Scapular, it “is a sign and a pledge of the protection of the Mother of God.” Moreover, it should be a sign of the wearer‟s true devotion to her. As Bd. John Paul II wrote on the 750th anniversary, the Scapular is a sign that evokes “the awareness that devotion to her cannot be limited to prayers and tributes in her honour on certain occasions, but must become a „habit‟, that is, a permanent orientation of one’s own Christian conduct, woven of prayer and interior life, through frequent reception of the sacraments and the concrete practice of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. In this way the Scapular becomes a sign of the „covenant‟ and reciprocal communion between Mary and the faithful…”

Nor is the promise of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel without conditions—it is not a “get-out-of- hell-free card.” As Pope Pius XII tells us, a person wearing the Scapular may not “think that they can gain eternal salvation while remaining sinful and negligent of spirit, for the Apostle warns us: ‘In fear and trembling shall you work out your salvation.'” One may not presume to live a sinful life while having confidence that the Scapular will miraculously erase all sins on one‟s death bed. Rather, the Scapular is more a pledge of the Blessed Mother‟s intercession on our behalf, at the moment of death, to obtain for us from her Son the grace that is necessary to repent of any mortal sins. Even so, grace is not magic, and it is not forced on us: it is a gift and so we must accept it. The soul that lives a life of sin is less disposed to accept that gift, and the soul immersed in years of mortal sins is strongly disposed to reject that gift. So that in some cases the wearing of the Scapular can become a mockery of Our Lady, a contradiction of it‟s true meaning and gain the wearer no benefit whatsoever.

We should also remember that the apparition of Our Lady to St. Simon Stock is private revelation, and therefore is a not a matter of faith, and may be understood only in the light of the teaching of the Church. Even so, the wearing of the Scapular, as well as confidence in her promises (rightly understood in the light of Church teaching) has been strongly promoted by scores of popes.

Finally, some will say that Scapulars went out with Vatican II. Not so; for example in 1965, as that Council was coming to an end, Pope Paul VI wrote: “Let the faithful hold in high esteem the practices and devotions to the Blessed Virgin approved by the teaching authority of the Church. It is Our conviction that the Rosary of Mary and the Scapular of Carmel are among these recommended practices. The Scapular is a practice of piety, which by its very simplicity is suited to everyone.”

Enrollment and Investiture with the Brown Scapular next weekend. Acknowledging the importance of this devotion, I invite anyone who wishes to place themselves under the protection of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to be enrolled in Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel and invested with the Brown Scapular at short ceremonies I will conduct next weekend after the 9am Mass on Saturday, July 23, and after both the 8:45 and 10:30 Mass on Sunday, July 24. There is no sign up, and no specific preparation required. You may bring your own Scapular or receive one provided by the parish.

Oremus pro invicem, ad Jesum per Mariam. Fr. De Celles

July 10, 2011

This last week marked one year of service for me at St. Raymond’s. It has been an interesting year for me, a very good year in many ways, and certainly a challenging one. I’ve learned a lot about how to run a parish, and how not to, and how much more I still need to learn. I hope that it has been a good year for the parish as well, although only heaven really knows that. I thank all of you, especially the parish staff and the heads of committees, for your patience and assistance.

Looking back at my first column from last year, I see I wrote: “I am an enthusiastic supporter of Pope Benedict’s call for liturgical renewal, especially his emphasis on reverence and sacrality in the liturgy.” The year ahead promises some big changes in the liturgy consistent with His Holiness’s call. In particular, beginning on the first Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011, the new translation of the Roman Missal will be put into use in all the parishes of the United States.

This translation will effect almost every prayer we pray at Mass, and so will necessitate some serious preparation on everyone’s part. Although most changes in the prayers of the people in the pews will be minor, they will nevertheless take some getting used to. For example, after years of responding to the priest’s greeting “The Lord be with you” by answering “And also with you,” parishioners will have to get used to saying “And with your spirit.” This more closely and faithfully translates the original Latin “et cum spiritu tuo,” and coincides with how the phrase is translated into all the other major languages around the world (e.g., in Spanish: “y con tu espirito”). You can see that even though this is a small change, it will have a real impact and require some adjustments on our part.

Another important effect of the new translations will be on the music at Mass: changes in words, syntax and sometimes the addition of whole phrases (omitted in the old/current translation), will mean that the melodies we currently use for singing the prayers of the Mass will have to change as well. I’m afraid this will be the hardest adjustment for most of us—the new words can be handled by simply reading the new texts from the missalette or the prayer cards we will be putting in the pews, but learning new melodies is much more challenging for most of us. To make this easier, we will begin by learning the simple and basic chanted melodies for these prayers that the Church has developed over centuries. As contemporary composers propose new melodies, and with proper time for sorting out the good from the not-so-good, we will work these into our “repertoire” as well.

In any case, all this will take some preparation. For us, this preparation will go into full gear beginning in early September, when everyone is back from vacation. We will provide various opportunities to help you to learn about the changes and become familiar with them. For example, I will use this column to discuss some of the changes in prayers, as well as propose several online resources that you can refer to at your leisure. I hope to also make available CDs, DVDs and books for those who would prefer those media. I will also be teaching some classes and holding meetings for those who are interested. And I have authorized our music director, Elisabeth Turco, to take a few minutes before Masses to begin to practice the new hymnody for the prayers. All this, again, during the Fall in anticipation of the changes that will come into effect at all Masses beginning November 27, 2011. If you want to get a head start, check out: http://www.usccb.org/romanmissal/

Some folks ask, why all the trouble—why the new translations? First of all, let me remind everyone that the prayers used throughout the Catholic world are taken from the liturgical book called the Roman Missal (RM). The official editio typica version of the RM is written in Latin, and the vernacular RMs used around the world are all translations of the Latin RM. But ever since the current English translation of the RM was published in 1970 (in what is called “The Sacramentary”) it has come under strong criticism for it’s lack of fidelity to the original Latin. Most of the criticism comes from the method employed in the 1970 translation, called “dynamic equivalency,” which seeks to translate thoughts rather than words, not merely rendering accurate translations but provide meaningful interpretations. These translations which often involved paraphrasing and omitting words or whole phrases deemed repetitive, archaic, or atypical for common English usage. All this, critics argued, led to an English text that was not only often very different from the Latin, but also theologically imprecise, spiritually tepid, poetically challenged, lacking in sacred language, and linguistically “dumbed down.”

Pope John Paul II was sympathetic to this criticism, and his chief theologian, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) was one of the principle critics. In response, on March 20, 2001, Bd. John Paul approved and ordered published a document from the Congregation for Divine Worship called “Liturgiam authenticam” which set out new principles for new translations of the Roman Missal. This document provided, in part:

“[T]he translation of the liturgical texts of the Roman Liturgy is not so much a work of creative innovation as it is of rendering the original texts faithfully and accurately into the vernacular language. …[T]he original text, insofar as possible, must be translated integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content, and without paraphrases or glosses.

After a major Vatican supervised reorganization of the institutions responsible for translating, a careful retranslation, applying the principles laid out in Liturgiam authenticam, was finalized last year. For many, myself included, it is like a fog or a veil lifting from face of the text, to more clearly reveal the beautiful and timeless prayers of the ancient and sacred Roman liturgy.

Although the new texts will take some getting used to, I think, in the end, most will agree that it will be well worth the effort.

More to come…Stay tuned…

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

July 3, 2011

On this Fourth of July weekend, let us pray for our beloved nation and our nation’s leaders.

Prayer for Government
by Archbishop John Carroll,
first bishop and archbishop of Baltimore,
and of the United States

We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.

We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

We pray for his Excellency, the governor of this state, for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.

Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance. To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.

First Prayer of the Continental Congress, September 7th, 1774
Reverend Jacob Duché
Rector of Christ Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee. To Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give. Take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their Cause and if they persist in their sanguinary purposes, of own unerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of battle!

Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior. Amen.

St. Paul’s First letter to St. Timothy, 2:1-4.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Oremus pro invicem, et pro patria.
Fr. De Celles