New Words for Worship Part 10: Liturgy of the Eucharist (cont)

New Words for Worship Part 10

This week we will continue looking at some of the changed texts in the Liturgy of the Eucharist at Mass.

While the Lord’s Prayer has not changed, the celebrant’s introduction has. At present any of these four options can be used: Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Saviour gave us; Jesus taught us to call God our Father and so we have the courage to say; Let us ask our Father to forgive our sins and to bring us to forgive those who sin against us; Let us pray for the coming of the kingdom as Jesus taught us.

The New Missal gives only one possibility: “At the Saviour’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say”.

The embolism (the insertion in the text of the Lord’s Prayer before “For the kingdom, the power, …”) has altered to “Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.”

The Invitation to the Sign of Peace has changed slightly to: “Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles, Peace I leave you, my peace I give you, look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will. Who live and reign for ever and ever.”

There are two examples of strange (poor?) English here - a clause in second person beginning with ‘who’ instead of the normal ‘you’, and the final ‘sentence’ which is not a sentence at all.

Instead of “Happy are those who are called to his supper”, the Invitation to Communion concludes with “Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb”. Hopefully this change might get some celebrants out of the bad habit of saying “Happy are we who are called to this supper” thereby limiting the prayer to those who are at this gathering when it is meant to refer to the eschatological banquet of the Lord to which people from all times and places are called.

There is a marked change in the text of the response by priest and assembly to the Invitation to Communion: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” These are the words spoken by the Roman centurion who comes to Christ asking him to heal his servant (Matthew chapter 8).

In the Concluding Rites, the Blessing remains the same but there are changes in the Dismissal. Instead of the present three choices – “Go in the peace of Christ”, “The Mass is ended, go in peace” or “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord” – there will be four, all different from the current versions: “Go forth, the Mass is ended”, “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord”, “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life”, or simply “Go in peace”.


Elizabeth Harrington