The first Sunday of Advent, Dec. 2, will mark a significant milestone in the way Spanish speaking Catholics participate in the celebration of the Mass.
That is the day when the implementation of the “Misal Romano, tercera edicion,” the first-ever Spanish translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal to be used in the U.S. Church, takes effect.
To help familiarize priests, deacons and lay leaders serving in parishes with the new ritual text revisions and translations, a meeting for Region III, which is composed of the Archdioceses and Dioceses of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, was co-sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship and the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions hosted June 27 in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold.
Led by presenters Carmen Fernandez-Aguinaco, Multicultural Specialist with the USCCB Secretariat for Divine Worship, Rita Thiron, executive director of the FDLC, and Father Greg Labus, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Edinburg, Tex., the approximately 100 participants in attendance were given an overview of the revised texts and discussed ways to lead a community through the coming changes.
“The Misal represents an historical moment for the Hispanic Catholic community of the U.S.,” said Fernandez-Aguinaco. “The publication of the new Misal as the approved version for the U.S. represents the recognition of the coming of age of the Hispanic community and of the use of Spanish as a liturgical language in this country.”
Before the current Spanish translation, Fernandez-Aguinaco explained how the U.S. Hispanic Catholic community had to rely on the editions from other Spanish-speaking countries including Mexico, Colombia, Spain and Argentina and in doing so, created a variety of expressions and ways in which the Mass was celebrated among dioceses and parishes. Now, with the new translation, there can be unity, “not only among Hispanics, but also with our English speaking brothers and sisters, as the order of the Missal and the Misal are mirrored.“
Citing other changes, Fernandez-Aguinaco said that in contrast with the other Misals that are available in Spanish, there are now about 180 chants have been incorporated to parallel all of the music that is provided in English. Also, she indicated that the revised edition includes the Masses for all the patronal feasts of the various Spanish speaking countries of America; the prayers and responses of the people have not changed from the Second Edition except for a Memorial Acclamation, and the prayers, collects and prefaces that are said by the priest now follow a “somewhat more formal translation.” She added that the Misal will not have the “controversies that ensued after the publication of the English Missal since the responses of the people are not affected and since adherence to the Latin original is much easier to achieve from the Spanish vocabulary and syntax.”
Noting that there are about 20 million Catholics in the United States who are Hispanic or of Hispanic descent and that there are close to 5,000 parishes in the country that have a Hispanic ministry, Fernandez-Aguinaco said that while not all of them worship in Spanish, particularly if they have lived in the United States for many generations, she believes that “it is safe to say that between 10 and 15 million will be praying and worshiping with this new missal.”
More to come on this story.