Divine Liturgy on EWTN

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 7:38 AM

EWTN is broadcasting a Divine Liturgy from the eparchy of Lebanon this morning at 9 AM (ET).  I look forward to watching it while I work!

Sisters of Life on Praying the Mass

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 2:27 PM

I donated three copies of Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People to the Sisters of Life in New York City, and recently received a letter from them.  Sr. Mary Gabriel, S.V., wrote in part:

Here at the novitiate of the Sisters of Life, we are particularly grateful for your donation of three copies of your book Praying the Mass.  This is a most welcome addition to our library.
I met two of the sisters many months ago at Princeton, when they visited for the afternoon to talk about their vocation and apostolate.  One of them, Sr. Miriam, is very interested in the liturgy, and we talked briefly after the Q&A session.

Review by Tim Troutman

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 8:52 PM

Tim Troutman
Blogger, Army of Martyrs

This book is a quick and easy read explaining not only which translations are changing next year but more importantly, why they are changing. It also doubles as a walk through of the mass explaining the sacred liturgy in a rich way. I've been to many seminars and have read several explanations on the mass but the book has several nuggets that I've never heard. I'd recommend this book especially for RCIA classes and those being introduced to the mass for the first time, for those who want to get an idea of the new mass translations, and even for those who are familiar with the mass but might need a refresher on why we do what we do.

2nd Edition of "The Prayers of the People"

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 1:55 PM

I've been adding a fair amount of content to the Introduction, Chapter 1 ("Preparing for Prayer"), Chapter 7 ("Profession of Faith"), and Chapter 9 ("Offertory Prayers"). Look for a second edition of Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People in early 2010 (at the same low price of $12). All new content will be made available digitally, free of charge, for people who've already bought the first edition.

Review by "Boniface"

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 9:52 AM

Blogger, Unam Sanctam Catholicam
I recently picked up a great little book on the Mass that I recommend highly. Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People by Jeffrey Pinyan of the blog The Cross Reference is the best book on the Mass that I have seen in a while, especially because it is the only one that has been written in conformity with the new English translation of the Mass that should be implemented next year. This alone sets it apart from all other books on the Mass currently floating around.

Jeff's book is meant for those who want to get deeper into the Mass – essentially, it's a practical guide to true active participation and a welcome counter to tired out old activist notions of participation that became dominant in the post-conciliar years. This would be an excellent book for friends or family who have some knowledge of the Mass but want to learn how to go deeper. I purchased twelve copies to give out to my RCIA class when we talk about the liturgy. If you are already a liturgical expert, then this book probably won't tell you anything new, but it would be great to have on hand to give to persons who might have questions about what goes on at Mass and why we do what we do. The book seems to be written to help promulgate a more reverent participation and conscious reflection on the Mass, in keeping with the wishes of our Holy Father to restore dignity and solmenity to the celebration of the Roman Rite.

The book takes you through each part of the Mass chapter by chapter, drawing out the pertinent theological observations and backing them up with citations from the [Catechism], the Popes and Scripture. The Mass prayers themselves are provided in Latin with the corresponding, correct English translations (the ones that will be coming out soon) next to them. At the end of every chapter are a series of thoughtful questions and reflections designed to help the reader put together the various themes brought up in the course of the chapter.

Jeff's writing is clear and insightful ... and his observations and theology all perfectly in line with a traditional understanding of the Mass as a Sacrifice. The book is written about the [Ordinary Form of the Mass], but he frequently [uses] the Extraordinary Form as a reference point and reminds us that the Extraordinary Form is a valid and praiseworthy expression of the Roman Rite, echoing Benedict's words in the motu proprio. I recommend this book highly.

Reviews and Interviews

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 9:51 AM

Here are critical reviews of Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People.

Here are interviews I have had (on radio and podcasts) about Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People.

New Translations Approved by the USCCB

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 9:44 AM

On Tuesday, November 17th, the USCCB voted to approve the remaining five sections of the new English translation of the third edition of the Missale Romanum.  The next step is for Rome to grant its recognitio to the translation (hopefully in early 2010).  The new translation would hopefully be used as early as Easter of 2011, but perhaps it will wait until Advent of 2011 instead.

But the catechesis on the new translation can begin now!  Indeed, it should begin now.  As parts of the translation become available, catechetical resources will appear as well.  The Ordinary of the Mass (the parts that do not change from day to day and week to week) has already been approved.  My book, Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People, introduces the people's half of the new translation.  By mid-2010, a second book, The Prayers of the Priest, will be published, introducing the priest's half of the new translation.  There will also be a second edition of The Prayers of the People with additional material for Chapter 1 and Chapter 9; this additional material will be made freely available on the Internet for the benefit of those who have already bought the first edition.

Zenit Ad on Nov. 10th

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 7:50 AM

Welcome to all visitors from the ad for Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People in the Zenit daily email from Tuesday, November 10th!

New book on the revised English translation of the Mass
"Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People" is a thorough yet accessible catechesis on the Mass based on the NEW English translation of the Roman Missal. It explains why we pray what we pray, where it comes from in Scripture, and what it means. It is a mystagogical catechesis which interprets the rites of the Mass in light of salvation history, explains their meaning and purpose, and relates them to the Christian life. Read "Praying the Mass" to enhance your full, conscious, and active participation in the greatest prayer that can be prayed, the Mass!

Paperback, 150 pages, $12.00

First Amazon.com Review!

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 9:41 PM

Edith Fiore
On Amazon.com
The book was recommended by a Catholic website, I thought it was excellent. I was surprised that it seemed not to have been published by a well-known editor, maybe because the new translation of the Mass has not yet been officially approved. There certainly would be many Catholics interested in this very thoughtful commentary on the Novus Ordo translation of the Mass.

Interview with Dave Lozinger of Hearing God's Call

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 9:03 PM

(Update:  Visit Hearing God's Call for an article and the whole interview!)

I sat down with Dave Lozinger of Hearing God's Call last Friday (October 9th) to speak with him about the new English translation of the Mass and my book, Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People.  Our conversation will soon be available on his web site, but here's a short excerpt:

Here's the MP3 (2:26, 2.2 MB):

Transcript of Jeffrey Pinyan’s Interview
with Dave Lozinger of Hearing God's Call, October 9, 2009

Dave: What's the background, this new English translation?

Jeff: Well, let's go back to the Second Vatican Council just to put some groundwork down.  The Second Vatican Council, the first document they put out was on the liturgy, and that tells you right away how important the liturgy is to the Church.

Dave: And what was the name of that document?

Jeff: Sacrosanctum Concilium which means "This sacred council," that's the first words of the document.  Now in this document there are so many phrases that are used almost every day in the Church:  the Eucharist as the "source and summit" of the Church's life, "full, conscious, active participation" – those phrases come from this document.  Now, one of the things this document said is that the vernacular should have a place in the Mass. (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 36, 54)  And where we are today is, most of us know the Mass simply in the vernacular, whether it's English, French, Spanish... Now, the thing is, this vernacular translation comes from the Latin original, which means the English translation we have is only as good as the people who translated it.  In the next couple years we're going to have a new translation; there's not going to be a new Mass, but it's going to be a new translation of that Latin original.

Dave: What's the impetus behind it?  Who's driving it?

Jeff: Well, it goes back to Rome, it goes back to the Vatican. In 2001, the Congregation for Divine Worship put out a document called Liturgiam authenticam which means "Authentic liturgy," and this document was, I think, the fifth document coming from the Vatican about how to properly apply Sacrosanctum Concilium, how to apply that constitution on the liturgy. ["Fifth Instruction 'For the Right Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council' on the Use of Vernacular Languages in the Publication of the Books of the Roman Liturgy"]

Dave: So was there the assumption that it hadn't been applied properly in the first place, or that there needed to be some sort of correction or calibration?

Jeff: I would say correction and calibration; I would say that this is an ongoing experience for the Church, because the vernacular in the Roman Rite is a novelty, let's put it that way.  It's something we've only had for a few decades, and it's something that, honestly, it will take a while before we're comfortable with it.  There's a lot of misconceptions about the vernacular:  people think that if you say "Latin Mass" you're referring to the Mass before Vatican II, when the Mass that we...

Complimentary Copies

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 8:06 PM

Today I mailed four complimentary copies of Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People to Bishop Vasa of Oregon, Archbishop Chaput of Colorado, Archbishop Vigneron of Michigan, and Archbishop Aymond of Louisiana.  The last two are candidates for the position of Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship.

Bishop Vasa of Oregon has a weekly column in the Catholic Sentinel, his diocese's paper.  Check out his two most recent articles:

Support a Catholic Speaker: Jeff Cavins

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 2:37 PM

I first heard about Jeff Cavins a year and a half ago when my parish decided to use the Great Adventure Bible Timeline study, which brings you through the story of the Bible (14 books' worth) chronologically in 24 weeks.  Those of us who wanted to be facilitators for the Bible study attended a Called to Lead conference held at our diocesan center in July of 2008, sponsored by Ascension Press who publishes the Great Adventure series.  Jeff (along with a host of other excellent Catholic speakers, such as Dr. Tim Gray and Dr. Ted Sri) was there presenting the Timeline and its related studies to my diocese (as well as other dioceses in the NY-NJ-PA are).

Jeff began developing the Great Adventure Bible Timeline back in 1984 as a way of helping Christians see "the big picture" in the Bible, the story of covenants between God and man, the story of a promised Savior:  salvation history.  He was not a Catholic at that time, but his quest to understand Scripture better led him to the conclusion that the Church which Jesus founded is none other than the Catholic Church.

Jeff has been busy as a Catholic.  A friend of Mother Angelica, he filled in for her on her live EWTN shows from time to time, produced and hosted Life on the Rock for six years, and taped a thirteen-part series with Dr. Scott Hahn entitled Our Father's Plan (which serves as a good overview of the Bible Timeline).  In addition to being a husband and father, he gives talks at conferences all across the country throughout the year.  He writes for Catholic Scripture Study International and has authored several books, including My Life on the Rock (his autobiography) and I'm Not Being Fed! (on the Eucharist).

If Scripture stumps you, if the Bible bores you, if the Word worries you... give Jeff Cavins and the Great Adventure Bible Timeline a chance.  You'll receive a wonderful Scriptural foundation that you can build upon for the rest of your life.

Support Jeff Cavins' Scripture ministry by visiting Ascension Press.

Card. Cañizares on Liturgical Formation

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 11:58 AM

This is an excerpt from an interview that took between Catalunya Cristiana and the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, while the Cardinal was attending a conference in Barcelona, Spain.

How can the sense of the liturgy be recovered?

At present we work in a very quiet manner on an entire range of issues having to do with educative projects. This is the prime necessity there is: a good and genuine liturgical formation. The subject of liturgical formation is critical because there really is no sufficient education [at the moment]. People believe that the liturgy is a matter of forms and external realities, and what we really need is to restore a sense of worship, i.e. the sense of God as God. This sense of God can only be recovered with the liturgy. Therefore the Pope has the greatest interest in emphasizing the priority of the liturgy in the life of the Church. When one lives the spirit of the liturgy, one enters into the spirit of worship, one enters into the acknowledgment of God, one enters into communion with Him, and this is what transforms man and turns him into a new man. The liturgy always looks towards God, not the community; it is not the community that makes the liturgy, but it is God who makes it. It is He who comes to meet us and offers us to participate in his life, his mercy and his forgiveness ... When one truly lives the liturgy and God is truly at the centre of it, everything changes.

Volume 2: The Prayers of the Priest

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 11:50 PM

I am working on the second volume of the Praying the Mass series, which is subtitled The Prayers of the Priest.  The second volume will be considerably thicker (i.e. longer) than the first volume, simply because the priest says more than the congregation does, and because I cover all four major Eucharistic Prayers.

The first chapter, "Preparing for Prayer," is about the vestments and the vesting prayers.  These prayers were part of the Roman Missal until the the 1960's.  I do not know exactly when they were dropped from the Missal, but they disappeared sometime between 1962 and 1969.  Despite their absence, I suspect (or at least hope) that some priests who celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass still pray them.  In fact, the recently published Compendium Eucharisticum ("Compendium of the Eucharist") will include the vesting prayers, so perhaps that will lead to their wider use.

Here is a series of posts, from the second volume The Prayers of the Priest, about the vestments and the prayers which accompany them:

Praying the Mass Business Cards

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 4:36 PM

If you would like to help spread the word, please consider ordering 25 Praying the Mass business cards (shown to the right).  An order of 25 costs $2.50.  I will mail them to you within 24 hours of receiving your order. US orders only, please.

Place your order by clicking on the image to the right.

Errata for The Prayers of the People

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 11:08 PM

On page 7, the following sentences could use some clarification:

In late 2008, a new English translation of a portion of the 2002 edition of the Roman Missal was approved by the Holy See. This portion, known as the “ordinary” or the “Order of Mass,” makes up the unchanging structure of the Mass. Upon its completion (by Advent of 2010 or 2011), this new translation will be used wherever the Roman Rite is celebrated in English.
The Order of Mass translation has already been approved; the translation of the Propers (the variable parts of the Mass) have yet to be approved.  Once the Propers have been approved, then the translation of the whole Roman Missal will be completed and, after a suitable period of catechesis, the new translation will be introduced for liturgical use.  We will not use the new translation of the Order of Mass before the whole Roman Missal is approved.

The sentences have been changed to:
In late 2008, a new English translation of a portion of the 2002 edition of the Roman Missal was approved by the Holy See.4 After the entirety of the new translation has been approved, and after a suitable period of catechesis, the new translation will be used wherever the Roman Rite is celebrated in English.

4 This portion, known as the “ordinary” or the “Order of Mass,” makes up the unchanging structure of the Mass. The parts of Mass that change from one liturgical day to the next are called the “Propers.” This book is concerned with the Order of the Mass, not the Propers.

On page 22, the sentence that begins "In the book of the prophet Ezekiel", the phrase "God tells Ezekiel to walk through Jerusalem" should be "God tells a certain man to walk through Jerusalem".  Ezekiel merely hears this command, he is not the recipient of it.


Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 4:15 PM

Here are some answers to questions that might be raised about the book.

When will the new translation be used at Mass?
The best estimate is the First Sunday of Advent, either in 2011 (November 26, 2011) or in 2012 (December 1, 2012).  Those dates are Saturdays, which is when Advent officially begins with Vespers and anticipated Mass in the evening.
Why doesn't your book have a nihil obstat or an imprimatur?
I requested ecclesiastical approval from my diocese (Metuchen, NJ).  Here is the response I received from Rev. Msgr. William Benwell:
The Diocese of Metuchen ... [has] adopted a policy whereby only those books will be given formal ecclesiastical approval that require one according to law, i.e. catechisms and materials dealing with catechetical formation and books that will be used as textbooks (c. 827 §§1-2).  Also, given the potential volume of books sent to us by individuals printing their own books, it is not our practice to grant approval for self-published works. I wish you success with Praying the Mass and with your future endeavors to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When I asked for a clarification (was my book being denied approval, or was approval simply not necessary for my book), the Monsignor replied "approval is not necessary."
As questions are asked, I'll do my best to answer them.

Review by David Schütz

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 7:28 AM

In the near future English speaking Catholics are going to face a challenge unlike any since the introduction of the English liturgy forty years ago: the new English translations of the Roman Missal.

It must be acknowledged that there has been much debate about the desirability of a new translation. The fact is that this change is going to take place. Given that this change is not one that can be avoided, how can we turn the challenge of introducing the new texts into a truly positive experience for everyone?

Jeff Pinyan, an young American author, has taken a positive view of the challenge of introducing the new texts as a “teachable moment” for the Church. Inspired by Pope Benedict’s call in Sacramentum Caritatis for a “mystagogical catechesis” on the liturgy, he has written and self-published a study booklet on the people’s parts of the Mass. His aim is that through using this book, individuals and groups may learn more about the origins and meanings of the prayers they say at Mass, and so be enabled truly to engage in the liturgy with that “active participation” which the Second Vatican Council called for.

The focus of “Praying the Mass” is much broader than the new translations themselves. Treating the liturgy section by section, he gives both the English and the Latin text of the people’s prayers, marking with a discreet arrow those places where the are changes from the current text. Alongside the text, he helpfully gives the biblical passages from which the liturgy derives or to which it refers. These scriptural references are a unique feature of this particular study, and serve to build an appreciation for the liturgy as a response to the Word of God.

The author then follows the text of each prayer with an explanation that is detailed, informative and very readable. As well as addressing the words that the people say at Mass, he has included a treatment of the postures and actions we use, bringing out the fact that worship is not just what we say with our mouths but also about what we do with our bodies. “Praying the Mass” does not, however, encourage a cold rubricism, but rather a deepening of interior prayer and engagement with the rite.

A special feature at end of each chapter is a set of questions which relate to the three stages of liturgical catechesis: interpretation, explanation and relation to the experience and faith of the worshipers. These would be very useful in a study group situation and would lead to opening out the ideas and information he has provided. Where necessary he explains the changes that have been made, but this is not an overwhelming feature of the book.

I can see many different applications for this manual. Individuals will benefit from the close study of the liturgy that it provides, but it would also be eminently suited to study groups and adult education classes. There is an opportunity here for parish priests as well. I can easily imagine a series of homilies utilising the scriptural references, examples and questions for reflection that Pinyan provides. An added bonus of the new translations is that they are uniform throughout the English speaking world, which means that there is nothing in this book that will clash with our local usage.

Copies of the book will be available through the Central Catholic Bookshop, but also may be ordered online from the author himself.

The Gospel calls us to make the most of every opportunity for proclaiming and teaching the faith. Jeff Pinyan’s book will be a valuable resource to all who wish to approach the challenge of the introduction of the new translation of the missal as just such an opportunity.

Interview on the Son Rise Morning Show

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 5:23 PM

Here is the audio clip and transcript of my radio interview with Brian Patrick on the Son Rise Morning Show later today.  First, here's the basic flow of the conversation:

  • Full, active, and conscious participation
  • A mystagogical catechesis:  interpret, explain, relate
  • The gestures we make – active participation
  • Entering the mystery that takes place at Mass
  • The new translation – et cum spiritu tuo ("and with your spirit")
  • The Sign of Peace
  • Truly understanding what is taking place on the altar
  • Full participation:  internal (spiritual), external (manifested), and perfect (sacramental)
I am most grateful to Brian Patrick, Matt Swaim, Rich Leonardi, the Son Rise Morning Show, Sacred Heart Radio, and EWTN Radio for giving me this opportunity to reach a national audience about my book, but more importantly for helping to spread the word about the new translation and move hearts towards more full, conscious, and actual participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Here's the MP3 (9:12, 8.4 MB):

Transcript of Jeffrey Pinyan’s Interview
on the Son Rise Morning Show, October 15, 2009

Brian Patrick: St. Teresa of Avila, her memorial on this 15th of October. Seven minutes after the hour on the Son Rise Morning Show. Joining us this morning, Jeffrey Pinyan, author of Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People. Jeffrey, good morning.

Jeff Pinyan: Good morning, Brian.

Brian: How important is it for us to really understand that Mass is really a prayer?

Jeff: Well, I think it comes down to what the Second Vatican Council said about participating in the Mass fully, actively, and consciously. (Sacrosanctum Concilium 14; cf. 11, 48) And I think if we don’t approach the Mass as a prayer, we won’t really participate consciously: we’ll say things without knowing what we’re saying, we’ll do things without knowing what we’re doing. And that’s what my book attempts to address: helping people acquire this conscious participation at Mass.

Brian: And how is your book Praying the Mass set up to help us to do this?

Jeff: It tries to be a “mystagogical catecheis.” Now, anybody who’s been through RCIA is familiar with the term mystagogy. It’s that period of instruction and deeper learning after they’ve received the sacraments of initiation. It was also very popular in the early Church: St. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote several mystagogical lectures. What a mystagogical catechesis is, is it interprets the various liturgical rites in the light of salvation history, then it explains those signs and symbols to tell you their meaning and purpose, and then it relates those rites to the Christian life.

Brian: There are so many subtle things that we do during the course of the Mass, and those of us who are cradle Catholics probably do much of this out of habit. If you bring a non-Catholic into Mass with you they’ll probably chuckle about how we stand and we sit and we kneel and we bow. And in your book you actually broke down all these gestures and really explain why we do these things, and certainly as I read through it, it gives me a much better understanding of how important these gestures are to our prayerfulness at Mass.

Jeff: I agree, and that’s actually part of our active participation. Sometimes you hear about parishes that say, “Well, we don’t kneel during Mass,” or parishes that won’t let a person bow to the Eucharist before they receive it. And really, that’s part of what the Church asks us to do as our active participation: to kneel before we receive Communion during the Eucharistic Prayer, or to make a sign of reverence before we receive. And what this book tries to show is not only why we do it, but also where does this gesture come from in Scripture, why are we making all these gestures.

Brian: As Pope Benedict refers to this active participation, really what he’s talking about is a call for a greater awareness for the mysteries being celebrated. Address that “mysteries” aspect of the Mass.

Jeff: Certainly. Now, “mystery” comes to us from a Greek word mysterion, and we kind of get our idea of “sacrament” from that same mysterion/“mystery” idea. One of the greatest mysteries that takes place during the Mass is the Eucharist, and what I do in my book is I draw from the Catechism and Church Father literature, especially St. Augustine because St. Augustine speaks about this mystery of the Eucharist taking place. And what he does is he connects the mystery of the Eucharist on the altar – which is the Body of Christ – with the mystery of the Church – which is the Body of Christ. And, it doesn’t lessen the miracle of transubstantiation taking place on the altar, but it reminds us that we have an identity with Christ and what we see taking place during Mass, and especially on the altar, is something that should be taking place within us also. St. Paul talks about being changed from glory into glory (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18), and I think that’s what St. Augustine had in mind when he related the mystery of the Body of Christ on the altar to the mystery of the Body of Christ, the Church.

Brian: Well Jeffrey, also in the next few years we’re going to see some slightly different translations – a more accurate translation, I guess – of the Latin to the English in the English translation of the Mass, such as when we say that greeting “The Lord be with you,” now we say, “And also with you,” but we will be saying the accurate translation from Latin, “And with your spirit.” Do you address these changes in your book?

Jeff: Absolutely; in fact, the new translation is really the driving force behind this book. I started working on something like it a couple years ago, and I’m glad I didn’t go all the way with it because it would have been obsolete in a couple of years. But I highlight all the new changes in the translation. I mark them out and I do my best to explain why the translation has changed, and why it’s important to be accurate with that translation. That example you brought up of “And with your spirit,” we’re not going back with that, we’re catching up to the rest of the world: the Italian, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese translations, they all translate the Latin et cum spiritu tuo, they translate that literally into their languages, and English is really the only major language that didn’t.

Brian: I love that, “And with your spirit.” The other seemed so generic, “And also with you.” When we say “And with your spirit,” we address that we’re talking about the Lord’s peace being in our soul, in our very being.

Jeff: And it makes sure that we’re thinking about the things of Heaven. Too often, the liturgical greeting is treated basically just as a social greeting that happens to take place during the Mass. And so you get, “The Lord be with you,” “And also with you,” “Good morning, thanks, how you doing?” And that’s not what’s supposed to be happening during the Mass. We’re supposed to be bringing our minds and our hearts up to Heaven, like the priest says right before the Eucharistic Prayer: “Lift up your hearts,” “We lift them up to the Lord.” So when we say “And with your spirit” back to the priest, we’re recognizing him as a priest, we’re recognizing his sacramental character that he received in ordination, and it’s a sign of respect back to him, really.

Brian: You also address the Sign of Peace as well, don’t you?

Jeff: Yes, briefly. Nothing really changes with that, but it’s important to realize that the Sign of Peace that we make at Mass is not simply an interruption in the Mass, and I know some people who kind of look at it that way. The Sign of Peace is really recognizing the peace of Christ and making an effort to show a sign of that peace to one another. And whether it’s done with a handshake or whether it’s done how it is in Rome, with this stylized gesture of friendship and peace between two people, it’s important to look at it, not as an interruption, but to look at it as a gesture of Christian peace.

Brian: There is so much richness in the Mass, and when we see it as a prayer we certainly are able to appreciate that more. Sometimes when I’m kneeling before the consecration and hear those words of the priest that change that bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus, I really think that if I truly got what was going on here, I’d probably die! It’s just an incredible miracle that is performed on that altar every day in our Catholic faith.

Jeff: Certainly. I think it was St. John Vianney who said that if the priest realized what he was doing at Mass fully, he would die out of sheer joy. ["The priest will not understand the greatness of his office till he is in Heaven.  If he understood it on earth, he would die, not of fear, but of love."] And certainly we don’t want to send anybody to Heaven prematurely, but we want them to engage themselves heart, soul, strength, and mind (cf. Luke 10:27) at Mass. We want them to enter into Mass with the perfect internal participation, knowing what’s happening and uniting themselves to it, and especially uniting their own personal sacrifices to Christ; and then showing, manifesting that internal participation exteriorly with these gestures, with these words; and then, God-willing, hopefully, that perfect participation which is sacramental participation, which is receiving the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ in the Eucharist in the Mass.

Brian: And we can choose to participate in this prayer of the Mass every single day as Catholics, and we encourage you to do so. Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People, a wonderful resource from Jeffrey Pinyan. Jeffrey, we’ve linked your book from our blog, on sonrisemorningshow.com, we’ve also put it in our Amazon store. We appreciate you being with us and helping us to prepare for these changes that will be happening in the new English translation of the Mass. And thank you so much for enriching our faith this morning with your contribution.

Jeff: God bless you. Thank you too.

Brian: All right, we’ll have you on again.

Rationale behind the translation

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 11:09 AM

What follows is a brief exchange between "Larry" from Pennsylvania and myself from the 4marks Liturgy Forum:

Larry: I don't understand why they have switched eternal to everlasting and vice versa.

It's good that you bring this up. I'm writing a book on the new translation, and I want to make sure I don't overlook issues such as this one.

(There is no change in the Apostles' Creed, where "life everlasting" is still translated as "life everlasting".)

The new translation does change ONE instances of "eternal" to "everlasting", and MANY instances "everlasting" to "eternal", in the prayers of the priest.
  • In the absolution at the end of the Penitential Rite, the priest will no longer say "bring us to everlasting life" but "lead us ... into eternal life."
  • In the Eucharistic Prayers, "everlasting covenant" will become "eternal covenant."
  • In Eucharistic Prayer I, "the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation" will become "the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation." (This is the only place where the new translation uses "everlasting" in the prayers of the priest.)
  • In Eucharistic Prayer III, "make us an everlasting gift to you" will become "make of us an eternal offering to you."
  • In Eucharistic Prayer IV, the phrase during the epiclesis "he left us as an everlasting covenant" will become "he left us as an eternal covenant."
  • The priest's private prayers as he receives Communion will change from "everlasting life" to "eternal life."
So, why the changes?

Larry: It looks to me however like they just wanted to switch the wording around, because they switched it just about everywhere even where the present wording makes more sence.

The major driving force behind the new translation is greater fidelity to the Latin text of the Mass, respecting the richness of the Latin words and trying to reproduce that richness faithfully in the vernacular. Let me use one example from the above:

In Eucharistic Prayer I (the Roman Canon), the Latin text reads Panem sanctum vitae aeternae, et Calicem salutis perpetuae. In the current ("old") translation, this is "the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation." The future ("new") translation will be "the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation." The new translation respects the vitae aeternae, rendering it as "eternal life" rather than just "life", and it respects the salutis perpetuae as "everlasting salvation" instead of "eternal salvation." This is for two reasons: first, the Latin uses two different words (aeternae and perpetuae), so the English translation should (unless there's a good reason) use two different English words ("eternal" for aeternae and "everlasting" for perpetuae, i.e. perpetual).

The word "eternal" is a direct translation (cognate) of aeternae, which is why the decision was made to use "eternal life" rather than "everlasting life" there. (Granted, in the Apostles' Creed, the phrase vitam aeternam is translated "life everlasting".) Because the words aeternae and perpetuae are used in immediate succession, it would not respect the Latin text to say "eternal life" and then "eternal salvation".

Now, I would posit that "everlasting life" is different from "eternal life". Everlasting life means life without end: both the saved and the damned will have everlasting life. But only the saved will experience eternal life, because the saved will share in the life of the Most Holy Trinity, God, Who lives eternally. Eternal life has neither beginning nor end, and when we come to share in the divine nature of God, we will share in His eternal life, not just the everlasting life which all souls will come to know.

So our salvation is not eternal salvation but everlasting, because we are not created saved, but become saved at some point in time.

If you would like, I can address the other changes too, but I think my explanations could be inferred from what I've said here about this one particular example (which uses both "eternal" and "everlasting").

Larry: I think they are changing too much at once...

There are people who said that (and are still saying that) about the changes in the 1960's. ;)

The changes that will be made are important and necessary (in my opinion and in the opinion of the Holy See). They've been in the works for nearly 10 years. It's less efficient (and more expensive) to make translation changes little by little, because that would mean new liturgical books would need to be issued and re-issued.

Two Interviews

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 9:40 AM

This past Friday, I was interviewed by Dave Lozinger of Hearing God's Call, a Catholic Radio blog for the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania.  The interview will be podcasted later this month.

This coming Thursday, I will be interviewed on the Son Rise Morning Show, a three-hour Catholic Radio morning show (6 AM - 9 AM) out of Cincinnati, Ohio produced by Sacred Heart Radio.  I'll be on starting at 7:10 AM.  This is during the coveted simulcast-on-EWTN-radio hour (from 7 AM - 8 AM), so you can listen via Sacred Heart Radio or EWTN Radio, either online or on your radio thanks to your local EWTN Radio affiliate.

I'll be talking about Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People, of course.  Many thanks to Matt Swaim (the producer), Rich Leonardi (who name-dropped The Cross Reference (specifically my Lectionary and Catechism search tools) on the show this morning, and who gave a reference to my book on his blog Ten Reasons), and Brian Patrick (the host).

Good news on the parish front

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 4:36 PM

In addition to giving a complimentary copy of my book to the pastor and to the director of faith formation at my parish, a few parishioners have also eagerly purchased copies.  Our Parish Pastoral Council (of which I am a member) has updated its Three-Year Pastoral Plan to include the following:

Liturgical Formation: To catechize and prepare our parish community for the eventual implementation of the revised texts of the Roman Missal so that this new translation bears abundant fruit in the vibrant and authentic worship of our parish.
  1. Raise awareness of this new translation among our parishioners and catechize them as to why this translation is important.
  2. Form our parishioners in the language of this new translation, leading them to embrace the beauty of the liturgy of the Church and to appreciate what is being prayed.
  3. Affirm and celebrate this new translation, leading our parishioners to be able to fix this language in their hearts and enabling them to truly pray as the assembly of the Church.
Regardless of whether my book is well-received by my pastor, it pleases me greatly that we will, as a parish, receive the new translation in joy and obedience.

Words from Bishop Serratelli

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 7:15 PM

On Tuesday of this past week, I mailed a letter and a copy of Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People to the Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli, Bishop of Paterson, NJ, and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship.

Your Excellency:

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. My name is Jeffrey Pinyan, and I am a parishioner of Queenship of Mary in Plainsboro, in the diocese of Metuchen. I am writing to you in your capacity as the chairman of the US Bishops' Committee on Divine Worship. Since experiencing a reawakening of my faith three years ago, I have spent a great amount of time reading the documents of the Church concerning the sacred liturgy. I have been closely following the developments concerning the new English translation of the latest edition of the Roman Missal.

As soon as the "study text" of the Ordinary of the Mass was made available last year, I set myself to studying it and researching the theology and symbolism of the Mass. Between the months of February and July, I spent at least a whole day a week writing the book I have enclosed with this letter. Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People is my personal contribution to the continued call from the Church – from Vatican II's Sacrosanctum Concilium, to the 1985 Extraordinary Synod's report, to Pope Benedict XVI's Sacramentum Caritatis – for a "mystagogical catechesis" on the liturgy. It was my goal to interpret the liturgical rites in the light of salvation history, explain their purpose and symbolism, and relate them to the Christian life. (cf. Sacramentum Caritatis 64) In doing so, I sought to provide numerous Scriptural annotations, references to the Catechism, and quotes from Church Fathers.

Each chapter begins with a quote from the Old Testament and the New Testament as a testimony to the unity of Scripture and the roots of Christian liturgical worship. Each chapter ends with questions centered on the three goals of mystagogy (interpretation, explanation, relation), suitable for private reflection or group discussion. The introduction to the book includes a generous sampling of Magisterial instruction regarding "participation" in the Mass, the purpose of liturgical catechesis, and the roles of Latin and the vernacular in the liturgy.

I have sent this book to you for two reasons. First, as a pledge that there are many in the Church – clergy, religious, and laity – who support the revised English translation, and who are prepared to render whatever assistance they are capable of. Second, as a "first fruits" (if I may be so bold) of the latest call by the bishops of our country for catechetical resources for the faithful which will help to acclimate them to the coming new translation. My book, while focused on the prayers of the congregation, is also suitable for clergy and could be useful for those charged with liturgical catechesis of their flocks. I have already begun work on a second volume which covers the prayers of the priest. I plan on sending a complimentary copy of the first volume to all the bishops of New Jersey and to several other bishops in the United States.

I am aware that you are a busy man, responsible not only for the care of souls in your diocese but also for the promotion of the liturgy throughout the United States. Still, if you can find time in your schedule, I would be most grateful if I could meet with you in person about this book and its potential, not only for our country, but for all English-speaking Catholics around the world. At the very least, your blessing and endorsement of this book would be most beneficial to this little apostolate of mine. Whatever you decide on the matter, I remain

Faithfully yours in Christ Jesus,
Jeffrey Pinyan
Today, I received a reply (dated October 1):
Dear Mr. Pinyan,

Many, many thanks for sending me the copy of your new book, Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People and also your wonderful letter.

In fact, on Monday I leave for the meeting of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. I will take the book with me and read it.

When I get back, we could arrange an appointment. I would be happy to meet with you.

God bless.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli, S.T.D., S.S.L., D.D.
Bishop of Paterson
I am quite excited.  My timing was great, thanks be to God!  Stay tuned for developments!

More book developments

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 12:27 AM

It's been a busy week of sales for Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People.  The book is already on Amazon.com, where it has sold 32 copies.  Including the order of 50 books from the Basilica Shrine book store in DC, my book has sold 122 copies (with an additional 22 copies given away).  I've already recouped everything I've spent preparing and promoting the book.

This evening, I sold several copies on "z-chat," the ustream.tv channel where people who follow Fr. John Zuhlsdorf's blog What Does the Prayer Really Say? hang out.  I also sold a copy to Dave Lozinger, a Catholic from eastern Pennsylvania who is working to bring Catholic radio to the Allentown-Bethlehem area.  Dave would like to interview me for a podcast for his blog Hearing God's Call.  Dave will be meeting with Bishop Barres (of Allentown) next Friday for an interview, and he'll be asking (among other things) about how the Bishop plans to implement the new translations!  I will also be in the Allentown next weekend, planning to meet with a local parish pastor, a local retired bishop, and possibly Bishop Barres as well!

Thank you for supporting me by purchasing this book.  You've also supported WFJS (my local Catholic radio station) and the Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations.  This month alone (really in a matter of only about ta week) both of these charities have been awarded over $60.  Please consider buying the book directly through me (through the PayPal "Buy Now" button) to maximize the donation to these two deserving charities!

Praying the Mass at the Basilica Shrine

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 4:58 PM

What great news!  The book store at the National Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, placed an order for 50 copies of Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People.  Look for it to be on the shelves in a couple of weeks!

Support a Catholic Speaker!

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 10:58 AM

This is from Matthew Warner's blog, Fallible Blogma:

I thought it would be really cool if we could do a joint promotion effort of a lot of the great Catholic speakers out there and the many Catholic blogs.  Introducing…Support a Catholic Speaker Month.

The goal is to create a rising Catholic tide on the internet that lifts all boats (websites, speakers, and all those who participate).  This giant, sudden influx of catholic material and interlinking between Catholic websites should get some attention and raise awareness about all of these great Catholic speakers while also promoting the many wonderful Catholic blogs out there that perhaps you haven’t heard of yet either.

The primary goal of our Favorite Catholic Speakers Poll of 2009 was not to find out who is better than somebody else.  It was to raise awareness about the many Catholic Speakers out there and to support them.  They are all sharing the same, one Truth.  And as talented and effective as the top favorites are at doing what they do, we need many more like them if we’re going to reach everyone.

That’s precisely the motivation for Support a Catholic Speaker Month.

How it works:
  1. If you have a blog or website, just request a speaker from the list below by emailing me here: speaker [@] fallibleblogma [DOT] com.  Please include your requested speaker and your blog/website (you don’t have to have a fancy, popular blog – just a desire to help the Catholic community).
  2. Next, simply write a short (at least a few paragraphs) post about your speaker. Link back to this page on FallibleBlogma.com and link to the speaker’s own website. Let me know when it’s up and I will link to your post from this post so people can find it on your blog and read it!
  3. The tidal wave of Catholic links and posts then flood the web raising awareness and promoting hundreds of Catholic speakers and blogs in the month of October.
To see the list of speakers, go to Matthew's post.

Reader Feedback

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 8:19 PM

I am very eager to know what readers of Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People think about the book, so this post is an open forum for all readers to provide public feedback, whether it be questions, comments, corrections, suggestions, etc.

Also, I would love for readers to write reviews for the book, posted on your own blog (which will be linked to from www.PrayingTheMass.com) and on Amazon.com!

Help these two good causes!

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 1:20 PM

These are the two charities that I contribute to out of my profits on Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People.

10% goes to my local Catholic radio station, WFJS 1260 AM, Domestic Church Radio.

Another 10% goes to the Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations, which assists men and women entering religious orders by helping them pay off their college debts.

In addition to supporting them by buying a book, please consider making supplemental contributions to them.  (Or, if you have local Catholic radio, support them!)

Welcome, Chanters!

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 8:48 AM

I spent Friday and Saturday in Washington, DC, at the National Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  The Church Music Association of America (CMAA) was co-sponsoring a Gregorian chant pilgrimage.  Here is my Facebook photo album of the event.

The weekend ended with Mass (in the Extraordinary Form) celebrated in the Crypt Chapel.  In addition to a schola which sang the propers, all of us sang the ordinary of the Mass (the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei) in Gregorian chant.  The organizers of the event allowed me to put one of my Praying the Mass "business cards" in each of the chant-materials bags, and I got a chance to speak with several other attendees about the book.

So, if you're from the Gregorian Chant pilgrimage, welcome to Praying the Mass.  I have a special discount code (15% off) for you, so if you email me (and can verify your presence at said pilgrimage...) I'll give you the discount code.

What sets Praying the Mass apart?

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 3:50 PM

What makes Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People different from other guides to the Mass already in existence?  There are a number of features in the presentation and content in Praying the Mass that clearly set it apart from books like it.  I will update this list as additional features come to mind.

  • It provides the new English translation of the texts of the Mass.  Praying the Mass is, to my knowledge, the first catechetical guide using the new translation.  Others will follow, for certain, but I hope the quality and content of my book sets a high bar for future publications.
  • It highlights the changed texts.  In the left margin of the text, changes to the current translation are marked with a clear visual cue (»).
  • It provides the Latin text along with the English text.  Faithful to the Church's call for the preservation of Latin in the Latin (Roman) Rite, the book includes the normative Latin text (with accents marks for assistance in pronunciation) above the English translation.  This is also helpful because it shows how accurately the new translation renders the Latin.
  • It provides an abundance of Scripture annotations.  Virtually every prayer of the Mass is supplemented with interlinear Scripture annotations, more than are found in the USCCB's study copy of the Ordinary of the Mass and every other resource I have come across.  A lot of the annotations are the work of my personal Scriptural research.
  • A catechesis on the Nicene Creed.  Every catechism I've read deals with the Apostles' Creed.  In my research for Praying the Mass, I sought out explanations for some of the phrases found in the Nicene Creed that are "overlooked" in catechisms, such as "Light from Light."

Quotes on Liturgical Catechesis

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 4:56 PM

One of these quotes randomly appears in the blue box at the top of the web site.

  • "With zeal and patience, pastors of souls must promote the liturgical instruction of the faithful..." ~ Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium 19
  • "Open your hearts, children of the Catholic Church, and come and pray the prayer of your Mother." ~ Prosper Gueranger
  • "Liturgical piety ... seeks to reform ... the spiritual dispositions and practices of the Catholic faithful." ~ Alcuin Reid, O.S.B., The Organic Development of the Liturgy, p. 67
  • "The most urgent task is that of the biblical and liturgical formation of the people of God..." ~ Pope John Paul II, Vicesimus Quintus Annus 15
  • "It is more necessary than ever to intensify liturgical life ... by means of an appropriate formation ... of all the faithful..." ~ Pope John Paul II, Spiritus et Sponsa 7
  • "Pastors should be committed to that mystagogical catechesis ... by which the faithful ... understand ... the liturgy..." ~ Pope John Paul II, Mane Nobiscum Domine 17
  • "Mystagogical catechesis should [make] the faithful more sensitive to the language of signs and gestures..." ~ Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis 64b
  • "Mystagogical catechesis must [bring] out the significance of the rites for the Christian life in all its dimensions..." ~ Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis 64c
  • "Part of the mystagogical process is to demonstrate how the mysteries are linked to the mission [of the Church]." ~ Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis 64c

Review by Fr. Tim Finigan

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 4:41 PM

Fr. Tim Finigan
Pastor, Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, Blackfen

Praying the Mass. The Prayers of the People, by Jeffrey Pinyan, is a guide to the new English translation of the Mass. ... Jeff has very kindly mentioned Fr. Zuhlsdorf and myself in the acknowledgments and I have followed the progress of the book for some time in its preparation.

The book goes through all the texts that are spoken by the people during the newer form of the Mass. (A second book is planned on the prayers of the priest.) The texts are given in Latin and in the new ICEL version with a catechetical commentary that is deeply versed in the sacred scriptures. The introductory chapter includes a refreshingly sound and balanced understanding of participation in the Sacred Liturgy and the whole book could justifiably be regarded as a significant contribution to the genuine renewal of the Liturgy promoted by Pope Benedict.

Praying the Mass is a valuable guide for Catholics who want to understand more of the texts of the Mass that they say every week, and a helpful resource for entering into the texts of the Sacred Liturgy actively and prayerfully. There is much talk of the need for catechesis and preparation for the new ICEL texts. As a resource for lay people, this book deserves a place on the book list for courses, training sessions and websites devoted to such preparation.

(This is an edited version of a review posted on Fr. Finigan's blog on September 23, 2009.)

Now in print!

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 6:24 PM

Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE as of Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009 You can purchase a copy through the link above and on the left. The price is $12.00. A percentage of the proceeds will be going to certain Catholic charities which I support (and think you should, too!).

Excerpt: Dalmatic

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 10:36 AM


The deacon does not wear a chasuble, but instead the dalmatic.  It is a short-sleeved tunic which came to Rome from Dalmatia (thus its name).  The prayer for the vesting of the dalmatic is:
Indue me, Dómine, induménto salútis et vestiménto lætítiæ;
et dalmática justítiæ circúmda me semper.

Endow me, Lord, with the garment of salvation, the vestment of joy,         
and with the dalmatic of justice ever encompass me.                                  
The dalmatic symbolizes the joy and happiness that are the fruits of dedication and service to the Lord.
The shortness of the sleeves is a reminder of the “practical” purpose of the deacon (cf. Acts 6:1-4), that they should be unencumbered in their ministry to the people.  The shape of the dalmatic is a closer match to the tunic which Christ wore at His crucifixion, so it represents the deacon’s participation in the suffering of Christ, as well as in the service of Christ.

Excerpt: Chasuble

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 10:36 AM


For the priest, the next vestment is the chasuble (from the Latin casula, meaning “little house”), a large garment that covers the others, with a hole in the center for the priest’s head.  As he puts on the chasuble, the priest prays:
Dómine, qui dixísti:  Iugum meam suáve est et onus meum leve:
fac, ut istud portáre sic váleam, quod cónsequar tuam grátiam.  Amen.

O Lord, who said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”:       Matt 11:30
grant that I might bear it well,                                                                  
so as to receive your grace.  Amen.                               Rom. 5:2; Heb. 12:15
The chasuble, more than the stole, is the symbol of the “yoke” of Christ.  A yoke is a beam that attaches two animals (often oxen) together to allow them to pull a load, such as a plow.
God liberated Israel from the yoke of slavery they endured in Egypt.  The Exodus of the Israelites foreshadowed the Exodus (cf. Luke 9:30-31) on which Christ leads us by His crucifixion:  “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1)  Christ frees us from the yoke of sin and offers us His own in return:  “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:29-30)  A yoke is never carried alone:  we are either yoked to Satan by sin, or we are yoked to Christ.  The yoke of Christ is above all a duty to love one another.  The chasuble represents His yoke:  the virtue of charity, that is, love of God for His sake and love of others for God’s sake.  The priest cannot love God nor his fellow man on his own; he cannot bear the yoke of charity alone, but needs Christ alongside him to help him.
In addition to writing about the “armor of God” in military terms in his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul told the Colossians to wear the virtues as clothing.  First he tells them to strip themselves naked of vices:  “put them all away:  anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.” (Col. 3:8)  Then he tells them how to dress themselves:  “put on the new nature.” (Col. 3:10)  This new nature is “compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience.” (Col. 3:12)  He also tells them to let their hearts be ruled by “the peace of Christ” (Col. 3:15) and to let “the word of Christ” (Col. 3:16) dwell in them.  Over all these things, Paul tells them to “put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Col. 3:14)
This divine love is represented by the chasuble.  The chasuble is worn over the stole, signifying that authority must be “covered” by love; that is, authority must be carried out with love, for, as St. Paul taught, if we have not love, we are nothing. (cf. 1 Cor. 13:2)  It is worn over the other vestments because “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10), because love exceeds all other virtues and brings them to perfection.
The chasuble is evocative of the seamless tunic worn by Jesus at His crucifixion. (cf. John 19:23-24)  In the Catena Aurea (“the golden chain”) of St. Thomas Aquinas, a compilation of Scripture commentary, Church Fathers and other commentators on Scripture saw the tunic, which the soldiers could not tear apart, as a symbol of the Body of Christ and the Church.  To St. John Chrysostom, the tunic which was “woven from top to bottom” is an allegory for Christ’s divinity (“woven from top,” that is, Heaven) and humanity (“to bottom,” that is, earth, in His Incarnation), which are united in one Divine Person.  To St. Augustine, the tunic is the unbreakable unity of the Church over the whole world; it is also the bond of charity which retains that unity, as God is love, and the tunic is woven from above.  Theophylactus interpreted the tunic as Christ’s body, which was “woven from above” when the Holy Spirit overshadowed the Virgin Mary and she conceived the Son of God.  He went one step further, alluding to the Eucharist, saying that this body is indivisible though it is distributed for us to receive in Communion, and each fragment of the Precious Body is the whole substance of Christ.
The chasuble also signifies the purple cloak He was dressed with in derision. (cf. John 19:2)  Purple is a color of royalty, and purple cloak was a mock-symbol of royalty (as was the crown of thorns), and the chasuble, usually the most elegant and decorated of all the vestments, shows forth the royalty and kingship of Christ.  Purple is also a color of penance (as we see during Lent) and so it speaks of the sadness and sacrifice of the Passion.  These two concepts, kingship and sacrifice, are united in the chasuble:  Christ’s kingship is, among other things, one of service in love, and the crucifixion shows us the lengths to which that love drives Christ to serve.

Excerpt: Stole

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 10:35 AM


Next comes the stole (from the Latin stola, meaning “garment”), a long and narrow vestment like a scarf, worn around the neck.  This vestment comes from the one worn by Roman magistrates when exercising their official duties (as a judge wears black robes on the bench).  The stole usually has a small cross sewn into it at the middle, which is kissed in an act of reverence before it is put on.  The prayer for the stole is:
Redde mihi, Dómine, stolam immortalitátis, quam pérdidi in prævaricatióne primi paréntis et, quamvis indígnus accédo ad tuum sacrum mystérium, mérear tamen gáudium sempitérnum.

Restore to me, Lord, the stole of immortality,              Rom. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:53
which I lost through the transgression of our first parents,          Wis. 2:23-24
and, unworthy as I am to approach your sacred mysteries,           Luke 17:10
may I yet attain to eternal joy.                                            Sir. 2:9; Isa. 61:7
In mentioning the “stole of immortality,” the prayer refers to one of the “preternatural gifts” with which our first parents were endowed.  When God created Adam and Eve, He made them incapable of suffering death, but this gift was lost when they transgressed the command which God gave them to test their obedience. (cf. Gen. 3:3, 22)  This immortality is restored to us in the resurrection (cf. Luke 20:36; Rev. 21:4) in which we will attain to “eternal joy.”  Because it is a sign of immortality, it reminds the priest of the immortal and eternal God, the One who instituted the “new and eternal covenant” which he celebrates at the altar.
The stole is worn by ordained ministers during administration of the sacraments as a symbol of the authority of their clerical office, as well as of the obedience and faithfulness with which they should carry out their duties.  It is not just a sign of his clerical authority, but a reminder that he is subject to God’s authority and His divine law in the fulfillment of his duties.
The stole, like the cincture, is evocative of the cords that bound Christ during His trials, so it is also a symbol of the burdens that come with ordained ministry.  It may be associated with the “yoke of Christ,” as it hangs over the shoulders of the priest, but that association is more explicit with the vestment which goes over it, the chasuble.

Excerpt: Cincture

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 10:58 PM


The priest fastens the alb around his waist with a cincture (from the Latin cingere, meaning “to gird”), although this is optional if the alb is made to fit close to the body.  The cincture is a rope serving as a belt or a girdle, like the “golden girdle” which St. John saw Christ wearing around his breast. (Rev. 1:13)  As the priest ties the cincture, he prays:
Præcínge me, Dómine, cíngulo puritátis, et exstíngue in lumbis meis humórem libídinis; ut máneat in me virtus continéntiæ et castitátis.

Gird me, Lord, with the cincture of purity,                                   Eph. 6:14
and extinguish in my loins all fleshly desires,       Gal. 5:16; Col. 3:5; 1 Pet. 2:11
that the virtue of continence and chastity may abide within me.        1 Th. 4:3
As the prayer indicates, the cincture is a symbol of the virtues of chastity (sexual purity) and continence (abstinence from sexual activity).  In an age where prime-time television is filled with sexually suggestive images and immodesty in dress pervades our schools, workplaces, and even churches, these virtues are especially important to Latin Rite priests who, ordinarily, are unmarried men.[1]  In this way, the cincture is an emblem of the need for bodily mortification.
Mortification is a form of Christian asceticism, the practice of self-discipline and penance to overcome sinful tendencies and grow in virtue.[2]  The word comes from the Latin mortificatio, which means “a killing; a putting to death.”  St. Paul wrote of the practice to the Romans:  “put to death the deeds of the body” (Rom. 8:13) and “make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Rom. 13:14)  To the Corinthians, he wrote:  “I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Cor. 9:27)  And to the Colossians, the same:  “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you.” (Col. 3:5)
It was a primary theme in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, in which he repeatedly contrasted living in the flesh apart from Christ with living in the flesh subjected to and renewed in Christ:
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God… (Gal. 2:20)
Are you so foolish?  Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? (Gal. 3:3)
[W]alk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. (Gal. 5:16-17)
Paul reaches the summit of this teaching by professing plainly that “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Gal. 5:24)  This crucifixion of the flesh, putting the flesh to death so that it may be brought to new life in Christ, is an identification of each Christian with Jesus in crucifixion; it takes on a deeper meaning for priests who are conformed in a special way to Christ by ordination.
Although the word may have fallen out of fashion in recent decades, it was mentioned in the Vatican II decree on priestly ministry and life:  “priests consecrated by the anointing of the Holy Spirit and sent by Christ must mortify the works of the flesh in themselves and give themselves entirely to the service of men.” (PO 12)  Pope Paul VI, writing in 1966 on penance, explained and promoted mortification to the whole Church:
True penitence, however, cannot ever prescind from physical ascetism as well.  Our whole being, in fact, body and soul … must participate actively in this religious act whereby the creature recognizes divine holiness and majesty.  The necessity of the mortification of the flesh also stands clearly revealed if we consider the fragility of our nature, in which, since Adam’s sin, flesh and spirit have contrasting desires.  This exercise of bodily mortification – far removed from any form of stoicism – does not imply a condemnation of the flesh which sons of God deign to assume.  On the contrary mortification aims at the “liberation” of man, who often finds himself, because of concupiscence, almost chained by his own senses. (Paenitemini, II)
The communion fast – abstaining from food or drink (save water and medicine) for an hour before receiving Holy Communion – is a form of mortification that teaches us to order our physical hunger to our spiritual hunger for God’s sustenance in the Eucharist.
The expression “gird your loins” is a Biblical phrase which means “make yourself ready.”  This was done by tucking the garment, usually a robe or tunic, into the girdle (belt) so that it would not impede physical movement.  God used the phrase when instructing Israel on how they should eat the Passover meal (cf. Ex. 12:11) and when commissioning prophets. (cf. Jer. 1:17)  Jesus used it when He admonished His disciples to remain ready and vigilant, saying “Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning.” (Luke 12:35).  The phrase has a military connotation as well, because the girdle was also the belt which held the sheath for a soldier’s sword. (cf. 2 Sam. 20:8; Nah. 2:1)  It is primarily in this context that St. Paul uses the phrase, speaking about the “armor of God” and the spiritual warfare which the Christian wages against the powers of evil:  “Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth.” (Eph. 6:14) 
The cincture calls to mind the cords with which Christ was bound at His arrest and scourging. (cf. Matt. 27:2; John 18:12)  The priest, because of the sacramental character he received at his ordination, acts in persona Christi (“in the person of Christ”) when he administers the sacraments of the Church; he is thus “bound” to Christ, and can expect persecution and ridicule rivaling that received by his Master. (cf. John 15:20)

[1] While the Latin Church, as a rule, only ordains unmarried men as priests, the Eastern Churches have retained the discipline of ordaining married men as priests, although neither the East nor the West permits priests to marry after they have been ordained.  There have been a small number of married priests in the Latin Rite in recent history, owing to the 1980 “pastoral provision” of Pope John Paul II which can permit a married minister of some other Christian community (e.g. the Anglican or Lutheran communions) to be ordained a priest after converting to the Catholic faith.  Even a married priest is required to exercise chasity in relations with his wife.
[2] St. Paul cautions that mortification could be taken to the unwise extreme of “self-abasement and severity to the body” without a spiritual goal of “checking the indulgence of the flesh.” (Col. 2:23)