Category Archives: New Translation

5 Quick Takes

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Woah… Not a peep from me for a while! Must be September! Seriously, the last week has been a struggle to stay afloat what with everything starting up and being pulled in millions of different directions. This is the time of year when you want to cut yourself into lots of little pieces in order to manage everything, and when you wonder whether you’re doing anything at all that well. But, there are things I love about September too. That beginning-of-the-year feeling when everything is new and fresh. I’m looking forward to all the children and teens starting their programmes 🙂

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To add to the mix, on Saturday, my sister got married! An extremely, extremely happy day all round. The parish said it was the most Catholic wedding they’d had all year. What really got me was the new translation of the Rite of Marriage, including the Nuptial Blessing before the Sign of Peace: here’s part of it here:

Father, you have made the union of man and wife so holy a mystery
that it symbolizes the marriage of Christ and his Church.

Father, by your plan man and woman are united,
and married life has been established
as the one blessing that was not forfeited by original sin
or washed away in the flood.
Look with love upon this woman, your daughter,
now joined to her husband in marriage.
She asks your blessing.
Give her the grace of love and peace.
May she always follow the example of the holy women
whose praises are sung in the scriptures.

May her husband put his trust in her
and recognize that she is his equal
and the heir with him to the life of grace.
May he always honor her and love her
as Christ loves his bride, the Church.

Wow – really amazing. The whole weekend has been incredibly moving, especially seeing in my own sister and her husband their powerful witness to the vocation to marriage.

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Right before I zipped home for the wedding rehearsal, we had our first parents’ meeting of the year. For the Year of Faith, we’ve planned a full programme for parents (one for primary-aged parents and one for secondary-aged). This one was for the first group, and I introduced the year by talking about what it means that parents are “first teachers” of their children. I showed a powerful clip from The Human Experience on the family, “the project of the human person”, which demonstrates beautifully the strong and intimate bond of the family, the context of our first and strongest experiences. We ended with a period of Adoration.

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This week, we begin our Come, Follow Me programme! I am excited 🙂 This is something I have been interested in and talking about for a long time. It is considered by Maryvale Institute to be the best children’s catechesis available. So we are trying it with our first group of children. They are preparing for First Communion. One downside of Year 1 of Come, Follow Me (for seven-year-olds) is that it does not cover Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Fortunately, these children will cover these sacraments this year in school. The Come, Follow Me sessions will be deeper catechesis, focussed more on interior life. Wonderful parishioners have helped out by creating the stand we needed, donating rugs, and cutting out figures and signs.

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Finally, unless you wanted to be bored to tears, don’t get me started on my dissertation. I am nearly at the point of beginning this final stage of my Masters, and last weekend I spent a weekend figuring out “what all I was gonna do” (as they’d say in Kansas). So: I am focussing on the four dimensions of the Christian life – discovering how heavily the Church references them in relation to catechesis – and investigating to what extent this concern of the Church has been received by catechetical scholars and programmes. I know I speak for myself when I say – this excites me! Not much research has been done into the importance of the four dimensions (or ‘integral’ catechesis) before. However, I understand if it doesn’t quite get you all sitting on the edge of your seat in anticipation. Just trust me: this is catechetically important 🙂


New Translation Catechesis

This is a fantastic video explaining the New Translation for teenagers, which most adults would probably benefit from too:

It is sad that someone writing for a purportedly “Catholic” publication did not watch this video before they claimed that teaching children the Confiteor is tantamount to child abuse. This article which I stumbled across recently has been addressed elsewhere, but to give you the gist of it…

Surely if Catholic children are cajoled by teachers at the behest of the Catholic hierarchy to beat their breasts on regular solemn occasions and pronounce themselves inwardly filthy, we should be shown the psychological impact study they carried out. Or did they not do one?

This is the damage that happens when someone isn’t taught the doctrine of sin: they have a completely warped understanding of what “sin” means so they write it off altogether. Why do we need to go to Mass if we are free from sin, anyway?

Being sorry is part of being human

Valuable, liturgical catechesis can come from the New Translation. Here, in the Confiteor, it is evident: the words “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault”, are a closer translation of the Latin (well explained in the video clip above).

We are human beings, we are body and soul, we pray through our bodies as the physical expression of the inner world of our soul. The striking of the breast gesture is richly biblical: the tax collector in Luke 18:13 who beat his breast and prayed from his heart, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” was the one Jesus said went home at rights with God, not the proud Pharisee.

Humble like the tax collector or proud like the Pharisee?

It goes without saying that we have lost consciousness of sin in our culture. But there is something deep inside of us (our conscience) that wants to repent to the Father when we have gone wrong, and our bodily gestures both express our sorrow and help to foster it.

Romano Guardini wrote in Sacred Signs:

It is an honest blow, not an elegant gesture. To strike the breast is to beat against the gates of our inner world in order to shatter them. This is its significance. … “Repent, do penance.” It is the voice of God. Striking the breast is the visible sign that we hear that summons.

To me, it strikes me as a lack of emotional maturity when adults refuse to acknowledge that they sin. And it is sad that they project this lack of maturity onto their children.

For catechesis with adults, this raises the big question: How can adults move away from the certainty that they are sin-free, and come to experience the beauty of being a child of God who can freely repent to God their Father? With most people, this can take years of stubbornness, complaining and whining, but it is possible to see a turnaround. We see it in people in the parish. What is needed, however, are strong, honest and unflinching sermons on common areas of sin and the invitation to repentance. What is needed is faithful, convincing catechesis that presents the beauty of living the freedom of life of Christ. What are needed are Catholic friends who are willing to challenge them, pray for them, and make sacrifices for them. Slowly, but surely, I think we can win people back over for Christ.


Praying the Mass

 

This is a really excellent book and resource for catechesis on the New Translation of the Missal. There are three volumes: this is the first one looking at the prayers of the people. The other two are: the prayers of the priest, and the Eucharistic prayer (see Pinyan’s website for more details). What I love about the book is that it is a whole catechesis on the Mass, not just the newly-translated parts. It is deeply scriptural (every part of the Mass is furnished with its rich basis in Scripture) and very practical for busy people, e.g. ways of preparing before going to Mass. It is the best resource I’ve seen so far for catechesis on the New Translation, and we’ll definitely be using it for our catechesis in the parish.