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In our review of the New Translation of the Roman Missal, we come to the ‘source’ and summit’ of the Mass, The Eucharist.

During the Preparation of the Gifts, there has been an important change to the wording of our response beginning, ‘May the Lord accept’ in that the adjective ‘holy’ has been inserted in describing the Church. In addition to being a more faithful translation of the Latin, the sacrifice offered by the priest is accepted because it comes through the holiness of the Church. The word ‘holy’ disappeared with the 1973 translation but has been returned in this version of the Roman Missal.

Prior to the Second Vatican Council there was only one Eucharistic Prayer, the Roman Canon. Now the priest may choose from a variety and whilst they all follow a similar structure, the words in the New Translation are very different. This means that we as the laity will need to concentrate! In fact, this is one of the positives of the New Translation. For many of us, Mass just passes us by because we are so familiar with it. The New Translation enables us all to re-acquaint ourselves with the sheer beauty of this celebration and perhaps it will dawn on us once again, how lucky we are to be able to participate as a little part of heaven touches the earth at the moment of consecration.

In the opening dialogue, the response, ‘It is right to give him thanks and praise’ has been shortened to, ‘It is right and just.’ The shorter responses help to remind us that the Mass is effectively a dialogue of praise between priest and people, directed towards Almighty God.

In the Sanctus there is another small but significant change. The phrase ‘Power and might’ has been replaced with the word ‘hosts’. Based on the scriptural passage from Isaiah 6:3, we join in this is the song of the angels. Isaiah 6:3: ‘and they were shouting these words at each other: Holy, holy, holy is God sabaoth. His glory fills the whole earth.’

The word ‘hosts’ actually comes from the Hebrew word Sabaoth which refers to God’s command over an army of angels. Indeed, the same Hebrew word appears in the Latin translation as there is no Latin word that adequately expresses the sublime and awe-inspiring power of God.

After the consecration we are invited to proclaim the mystery of faith. Up till now, there have been four options. Now the priest simply announces: ‘The mystery of faith’, dropping the words ‘Let us’. He is not supposed to join in, he makes the announcement, we respond as we do when the priest proclaims ‘The Body of Christ’ and we respond ‘Amen.’

‘Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again’ has been dropped because this is a statement about Christ rather than a proclamation of our mission.