Catholics prepare for changes in wording of Mass coming Sunday

  • Follow Your Faith

Catholics who go to church Sunday will participate in a different Mass than those who worship today as a new translation of the service rolls out across the English-speaking world.

The changes, which include reworded and added prayers and new responses required of laity, have caused some rumblings in Roman Catholic blogs and pews. Among the highly visible changes are new language in the Nicene Creed and the response “and also with you” changing to “and with your spirit.”

But the Rev. Tom Willis says lay people have little to worry about compared to the priests who will be celebrating the Mass Sunday and beyond. There are so many changes to the priests’ portion of the Mass that Willis admitted being a little nervous.

“I have trepidation about how I am going to be able to do this,” said Willis, rector of the Cathedral Basilica in St. Augustine.


That’s saying a lot because, as director of liturgy for the Jacksonville-based Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine, Willis has been the point man for implementing the changes locally. He’s led workshops for priests and laity around the region to prepare for the new language.

“There is a sense in me that it’s time to get this thing started,” he said.

What’s starting Sunday is the third edition of the Roman Missal, the text that contains the prayers and instructions for the celebration of the Mass.

The changes were decreed by Pope John Paul II in 2000 after the Vatican determined that there were too many differences in theological meaning between the original Latin and the English translation that’s been in effect since the late 1960s.

The translators of the earlier document had been allowed to use everyday English. The new missal, Willis said, required translators to adhere as closely as possible in sentence structure and vocabulary to the Latin.

The plan is to then create translations into other languages from the English version.

Reactions from lay people have been mixed, with some expressing some anxiety about the changes, said the Rev. Ed Murphy, pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in downtown Jacksonville.

Some have cited the “awkwardness of wording” in some portions of the missal, Murphy said.

One section commonly criticized is in the Nicene Creed, which is a statement of basic Christian allegiance. The part that once described Jesus as “one in being with the Father” will now say that Christ is “consubstantial with the Father …”

“We don’t typically speak like this when we pray,” Murphy said of some of the new or rewritten language.

To make the transition easier for the laity, most parishes will have some form of the new language distributed in the pews, the diocese has said.

That and the months of alerts about the changes should make it relatively easy for worshipers to handle, said Pam Petit, an Immaculate Conception parishioner.

Petit said she isn’t sweating the changes because she’s been attending Mass steadily and getting updates about the new language. To her the new missal sounds more spiritual than before.

“It’s going to be a shock for Catholics who don’t regularly attend Mass,” she added.

Willis said there will be no changes to rituals in the Mass. It will not be in Latin and it will not require the priest to face away from the congregation, he said.

“This is a change in the translation, and that’s it,” he said.

Reach Jeff Brumley at (904) 359-4310


Here are some of the changes to the Roman Catholic Mass, which will be instituted Sunday, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:



Priest: The Lord be with you.

People: And also with you.


Priest: The Lord be with you.

People: And with your spirit.

(said by priest)

Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy, so that they may become for us the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.


Priest: Lord we have sinned against you: Lord, have mercy.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Priest: Lord, show us your mercy and love.

People: And grant us your salvation.

Priest: Have mercy on us, O Lord.

People: For we have sinned against you.

Priest: Show us, O Lord, your mercy.

People: And grant us your salvation.


We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.

I believe in one God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

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JRC2024 11/26/11 - 10:51 am
The changes do not seem that

The changes do not seem that drastic and the meaning is the same. In the creed you are now saying I believe as an individual instead of We believe as a group. Seems more appropriate to me in the profession of your faith.

dstewartsr 11/26/11 - 04:55 pm
This is the same tinkering

This is the same tinkering crap that split so many away in the sixties. This is what comes of letting a bunch of out of (and never were in) touch clowns play with the religion they were entrusted to guard and spread. Amazing, they think they can improve on it!

Unless this rewording somehow prevents child molestations, they should stick to the two millennias-old old faith; you know, that one that lives in the pews, not the Vatican.

Fiat_Lux 11/26/11 - 09:33 pm
It looks like at least some

It looks like at least some revert back to the not-so-distant past, when the responses were a bit less pedestrian than they are now. But "upon them like the dewfall" is further stumbling into ridiculous, undignified language for liturgy, IMO. Warm, fuzzy really doesn't cut it.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 11/26/11 - 09:40 pm
I don't understand the

I don't understand the significance of

And with your spirit.


And also with you.

This phrase is spoken by the people to the celebrant, correct? What is the distinction between "you" versus "your spirit"?

copperhead 11/27/11 - 02:51 am
They will be reading from the

They will be reading from the koran to be more p/c and show they are not islamophobes and don't hate. BRAVO and peace and tolerance be with them!

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