Have I greatly sinned through my most grievous fault?

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 5:00 PM

Less than a week into Advent, there are many comments being made about the new English translation of the Mass.  Many negative comments center around the new language in the Confiteor:  "I confess ... that I have greatly sinned ... through my most grievous fault."  Here are two recent negative reactions:

  • In another pew, fellow parishioner Mary Bucher was offended at the insertion of "I have sinned greatly" into the Introductory Rite. "I don't go around sinning greatly," she said. "I am not going to say this." 
  • I refuse to say how I have sinned so "greviously" (maybe this is appropriate for many priests to say) because it is not true.
Here is a positive reaction from the same web site:
  • Moreover, we have all "greatly sinned". Living in a afluent country like the US, I know that my sins of omission in particular are staggering!
Compare these reactions [source] to the parable Jesus tells of the pharisee and the tax collector, from Luke 18:
"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.'

"But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!'

"I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Notice the arrogance of the pharisee (essentially saying his sins, whatever they might be, are small in comparison to those of the tax collector) and the self-abasement of the tax-collect (who does not raise his eyes to heaven and beats his breast in penitence).

50% discount to parishes through Christmas

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 6:07 PM

I'm happy to announce a 50% discount on bulk orders of Praying the Mass for parishes through Christmas.  This discount is not available through Amazon:  the books must be ordered directly through me.

"From Words To Prayers"

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 2:23 PM

I am beginning a multi-lingual look at the Roman Missal at From Words To Prayers, my blog of free catechetical material on the new translation. See the first installment here.

I will be speaking at St. Gregory the Great parish in Hamilton, NJ, on Tuesday, December 6, from 7:30pm to 9:00pm.  The title of the talk is "From Words To Prayers".

Seal of Approval

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 9:14 AM

I'm happy to report that the first two volumes of my series on the Mass have received the Catholic Writers' Guild Seal of Approval.  As we move forward into the new liturgical year using a new translation, I hope that people find thorough and enriching resources to help them receive the new words and personalize them in their own prayer.

Introduction to Volume 3: The Eucharistic Prayers

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 2:57 PM

What is the Eucharistic Prayer?

ONE OF MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES of going to Mass is of kneeling during the Liturgy of the Eucharist whispering the words in unison with the priest as he prayed Eucharistic Prayer III. I was an altar boy; I paid close attention to the prayers of the Mass, and I knew the words of this Eucharistic Prayer by heart. I may have thought I was simply saying them in my head, just to myself, but during the Sign of Peace the woman in the pew in front of me asked if she had heard me during the prayer, and how I would probably end up studying for the priesthood.

It was probably a typical sort of remark to make: a young boy shows interest in the prayers of the Mass, so he must (if only subconsciously) want to be a priest. And while it is true that I considered a vocation to the priesthood during my adolescent years, I have come to realize in my adult years that an interest in the Mass and a desire to understand its prayers, even those said only by the priest, is something that all Catholics can have, not only those who have their sights set on the seminary. I also eventually realized not to equate my memorization of a prayer with actual comprehension. Being able to recite the words of the Our Father does not necessarily mean you understand what a radical statement you are making to God: that He should forgive you only to the extent that you forgive others. Equipped with these two realizations – that any layman can have an interest in the prayers of the Mass, and that those prayers are meant not only to be prayed but understood as well – I eventually set out to write this three-volume series on the Mass, on the occasion of the new English translation.

This third volume addresses the Eucharistic Prayers of the Roman Rite, which I included neither in the first volume (The Prayers of the People) nor in the second (The Prayers of the Priest). One reason why stands out to me above the others, that although the majority of the Eucharistic Prayer is said only by the priest, the prayer is our prayer. The priest prays the Eucharistic Prayer in the name of the whole Church and in the name of the local congregation. It uses the first person plural (“we” and “us”) throughout, verbal clues that the congregation is neither an intruder nor a spectator, but part of the whole priestly people of God offering to Him the sacrifice of redemption, the Body and Blood of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sadly, the Eucharistic Prayer is often a time when Catholics in the pews are the most tempted to let the priest do his thing and “check out” of the Mass. Perhaps bells are rung which briefly draw their attention to the Eucharist being made present on the altar, but soon after they go back to doing whatever it is they do while they let the priest pray. But the priest is not the only one who should be praying at this time, and the consecration is not the only time everyone else should be pay attention to the words of this prayer. There is so much action spoken of in the Eucharistic Prayer, but that action is mostly internal and spiritual, and so it can be easy to miss.

The Prayer of Christ, the Prayer of the Church
Long before the evangelists wrote down their Gospels, before St. Paul was writing to the Christians in Thessalonika, the Church was celebrating the Eucharist, the memorial sacrifice and banquet of Christ’s love for us. What exact words they prayed as they celebrated it is not known, but it is safe to assume that the Last Supper was the model: God was thanked, bread and wine were blessed, and the Body and Blood were distributed. The Didache, dating from the late first century or early second century, contains prayers of thanksgiving over the wine and the broken bread (in that order) unlike the words of Jesus as they are recorded in the Gospels. St. Justin Martyr in his First Apology (from the middle of the second century) reported the way the Eucharist was celebrated in Rome at the time, repeating the words of Christ, “This is my body” and “This is my blood,” and wroting that the bread and wine were “blessed by the prayer of his word.”

It was not long before Christians began elaborating the prayer over the Eucharist. Prayers for a fruitful reception of the Eucharist (grace and peace here and now, and beatitude in heaven) and intercessions for the Church throughout the world, for the local congregation and its leaders, for the sick or imprisoned, even for the dead, were added. In all this, the Church was still following the model of the Last Supper, for St. John records that Jesus prayed at length for His disciples and all throughout the world who would come to believe in Him, for the Holy Spirit to be active in them, and most especially for their unity. (cf. John 14-17)

Different regions developed their own traditions for these additions to the prayer’s primitive core, but certain elements eventually came to be common to virtually all of these variations: a dialogue between the priest and the people, a recapitulation of God’s saving work throughout history, the angelic song of “Holy, holy, holy!”, a prayer asking for the Holy Spirit to bring about a change not only in the bread and wine but also in those who receive these changed gifts, a liturgical repetition of the words of Christ over the bread and wine, an offering to the Father, intercessions, commemorations, and a concluding exclamation of praise. Not every prayer over the Eucharist – or anaphora (Greek for “offering up”) – had each element in the same form or the same order, or spent the same time on each element. Even the narrative of the Last Supper varied from one anaphora to the next, and none kept to a strict word-for-word repetition of one of the four scriptural accounts.

Despite these variations, there was a still a unity present to be found in the Church’s anaphoras. They all had the same purpose in mind: to do what Jesus told His disciples to do in His memory, to bring about Jesus’ sacramental presence offered for our sakes. Thus the prayer of Christ at the Last Supper became the prayer of the Church every day.

"And with your spirit" and the new Gloria

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 7:08 PM

Thursday morning at 8:10 AM (Eastern) tune into your local EWTN radio affiliate to hear me speaking with Brian Patrick of the Son Rise Morning Show about the new English translation of the Mass, specifically our response "And with your spirit" and the changes to the Gloria.

NEW Catechism Search

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 4:14 PM

I've spent the past two weeks developing a new version of my Catechism search engine.  You can see the results of my labors here: http://www.catholiccrossreference.com/tools/

The Compendium, Lectionary, and Document search engines will be similarly updated during the month of July.

Praying the Mass in Kalamazoo

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 1:49 PM

Newman's Bookshoppe in Kalamazoo, MI, will soon be carrying signed copies of volumes one and two of Praying the Mass.  I'm in Kalamazoo for the 46th International Congress on Medieval Studies (at which I presented a paper on geography in Tolkien's legendarium), so I stopped by Newman's to peruse their shelves and drop off a complimentary copy of volume two.

Son Rise Morning Show, Tuesday, 7:45 AM (ET)

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 5:15 PM

I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show on EWTN radio this Tuesday morning at 7:45, to talk about my second book on the Mass and the new translation, Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the Priest.

Book Signing at Ave Maria Shop

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 1:59 PM

Jeffrey Pinyan will be doing a
On Saturday, May 7, 2011, from 11 AM to 3 PM

Other Resources: Dr. Ted Sri's Biblical Walk Through of the Mass (DVD)

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 11:29 AM

Title: A Biblical Walk Through the Mass
Author: Dr. Ted Sri
Medium: DVD
Length: 3h 5m (3 discs, 6 episodes)

I. Introduction
Dr. Ted Sri begins by relating a personal anecdote about a conversation he had with a Pentecostal about the Mass.  She had been to a Mass once, and beyond all the sitting, standing, kneeling, and reading, she knew there was something deeper going on than met the eye.  This “something deeper” is something we can miss if we simply go through the Mass at a superficial level, doing and saying things from rote.  Our worship as Catholics is deeply rooted in Scripture, and Dr. Sri’s three-hour series is meant to be a liturgical Bible study that reveals the Scriptural origins and meaning behind the gestures, prayers, and rituals of the Mass.
Dr. Sri says that the Eucharist has three key aspects:  1) Sacrifice, 2) Real Presence, and 3) Holy Communion.  He takes some time to describe the “Real Presence” and “Holy Communion” aspects of the Eucharist; the “Sacrifice” aspect is discussed in sessions 3 and 4 (on the Liturgy of the Eucharist).  Dr. Sri explains what the Church means by saying that Jesus is “really present” in the Eucharist, that His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity are present in substance under the outer forms of bread and wine.
Next he explains how the sharing of a sacrificial meal in the Old Testament was a means of forming a covenant between two parties:  a sacrifice is followed by a communal meal in that sacrifice, which forged covenant union.  One example he uses is of Isaac and Abimelech, who, after sharing this sacrificial meal, consider each other brothers. (cf. Gen. 26:31, in a literal translation of the Hebrew)  Another example he gives us of Moses and the elders of Israel eating a covenant meal in the presence of God on Mt. Sinai. (cf. Ex. 24)  This same sequence of sacrifice-meal-covenant is found at the Last Supper, where Jesus applies sacrificial language (of a body being given up and its blood being poured out) to Himself, and then He shares a communal meal (in His Body and Blood) with the Apostles.  St. Paul describes this pattern in 1 Cor. 5: 7-8, where he says that “Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed” and therefore we should “celebrate the festival [feast].”  In John 6, Jesus speaks of Himself as “the bread of life” which “comes down from heaven,” and that the bread He gives is His flesh, offered “for the life of the world.”  This language implies a sacrificial offering and a communal meal.
He concludes by mentioning the other materials provided for the study course, and how they can best be used.

II. Session 1 – Introductory Rites
Dr. Sri begins this session by looking at the Sign of the Cross:  the words and the ritual of signing the cross.  The words ("In the name of the Father…") invoke the name of the Lord; we call upon God's name for worship, for protection, and for help.  The ritual of signing (or sealing) oneself with the cross is foreshadowed or prophesied in Ezekiel 9:4, when God has an angel seal the faithful in Jerusalem with a "mark" (the letter tav, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which looks like a cross or X or T) on their foreheads.
Then he examines the greeting, specifically the words "The Lord be with you."  This greeting is not the Catholic way of saying "good morning," but rather a prayer for God's presence with a person.  Old Testament heroes like Joshua and Gideon, whom God had chosen to carry out some mission for the protection of His people, were told "The Lord is with you" or "The Lord will be with you."  He also looks at the response of the congregation, "And with your spirit," which is a more faithful rendering of the Latin and which brings us into union with Catholics of other languages who make a similar response in the Mass.  This response acknowledges the special working of the Holy Spirit in the priest, in virtue of his ordination.
Next, Dr. Sri looks at one form of the Penitential Act, the Confiteor.  In this prayer, we acknowledge that we sin in thought, word, commission, and omission.  Dr. Sri draws our attention to what our sins produce (or fail to produce) in our relationships and in the world:  we are called not only to avoid sin, but to imitate Christ.  He mentions the new translation, "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault," which he says helps us better express our heart-felt contrition.
Looking at the Kyrie, Dr. Sri compares a popular notion of mercy with the Catholic notion of mercy.  The childhood game of "mercy" involves two people trying to bend the other fingers back to the point where the one losing will cry out "mercy!"  But this is not how Christians view the mercy of God; God's mercy is not simply about a powerful being pardoning a less powerful one, but about God expressing His love for His creation, for His children.  Sri provides a few examples from the New Testament where people come to Jesus and ask Him to show mercy on them and to help them or someone close to them.
After the Kyrie comes the Gloria, which Dr. Sri describes as not coming from any ordinary hymnal:  the opening words come from the angels who announced the birth of the Lord.  Because the Introductory Rites are about preparing ourselves for an encounter with the Lord, it is fitting that we sing what the angels sang to welcome the Lord and to prepare the shepherds for their encounter with the newborn King.  Sri looks at some of the particular expressions in the Gloria:  Jesus is the "only-begotten Son" of the Father and the "Lamb of God" Who takes away the sins of the world, two phrases evocative of the prologue of John's Gospel.  Those phrases, along with "seated at the right hand of the Father," make the Gloria a summary of salvation history.
Sri concludes the session with a brief mention of the Collect prayer, which collects the prayers of all the faithful and offers them to God.

III. Session 2 – Liturgy of the Word
The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist are the "two main pillars" of the Mass, flanked by the Introductory Rites and the Concluding Rites.  The Introductory Rites serve to prepare us for the whole Mass, and for hearing the word of God in particular.
In the Liturgy of the Word, God comes to speak to His people through the sacred Scriptures.  Because the Scriptures are the inspired word of God, they are fully human and fully divine, just as Jesus (the Incarnate Word of God) is fully human and fully divine.  This divine element of the Scriptures means that the lector at Mass is not simply reading the Bible aloud at Mass, he is lending his voice to God so that God's word may be proclaimed to His people today.
After Vatican II, the one-year cycle of readings was replaced with a three-year cycle on Sundays and a two-year cycle on weekdays.  The readings for each day are not decided by the celebrant of the Mass, but by the Church as a whole, which provides a unity of worship among Catholics.  The First Reading is usually an Old Testament reading that is thematically connected to the Gospel for that day.  The Old Testament is read in the liturgy because all of Scripture is inspired and important; knowledge of the Old Testament is necessary to understand the New Testament.
At the end of the First and Second Readings, the lector says, "The word of the Lord," and the congregation responds, "Thanks be to God."  We offer this thanks to God because the Scriptures reveal to us God's plan of salvation.  After the First Reading is a Responsorial Psalm:  we respond to God's word with God's word.
While we sit for the other readings, we stand for the reading of the Gospel.  The Gospel is preceded by the singing of Alleluia, a procession with the Book of the Gospels to the ambo, prayers of preparation by the priest or deacon (invoking the imagery of Isaiah 6:1-5), and additional gestures of blessing.  The Gospel is given extra attention and reverence because of its pre-eminence over the rest of Scripture. (cf. Vatican II, Dei Verbum 18)  After the Gospel, the Scriptures are explained through the homily, a special catechetical moment in the Mass.
After the homily comes the Creed.  Dr. Sri asks why we repeat this profession of faith week after week.  Is it just a test to see if we remember the core contents of the faith?  No, he says, it is about affirming our belief.  Referring to the Catechism, Dr. Sri explains that belief is both an act of the mind (giving assent) and an act of trust (entrusting yourself to God). (cf. Catechism 150)  The Hebrew word amen means "I take my stand on this" – in other words, it means that you believe, you trust in something.  We must strive to move beyond the mere mental act of giving assent (as one can believe that 2 + 2 = 4) and enter into the deeper act of entrusting ourselves to God (as a man and woman entrust themselves to another in marriage).
The first word of the Creed in Latin is Credo ("I believe") and English was the only major language to translate the word into the first person plural ("We believe") rather than the singular.  The new translation uses the first person singular; one effect of using the singular is that it reminds the person that the faith must be personally assented to, and that the faith is a personal act of trust in God.  The new translation also uses the word "consubstantial" (consubstantialis) to describe the relation of the Son to the Father:  the Son is "of one substance with" or "of the same substance as" the Father. (cf. Catechism 242)
After a brief mention of the Prayer of the Faithful, the session concludes.

IV. Session 3 – Liturgy of the Eucharist: Part 1
The third session begins with a visual overview (from the workbook) of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, which has three components: the Preparation of the Gifts, the Eucharistic Prayer, and the Communion Rite.  The first two components are covered in this session; the third component is covered in the next session.
One of the parts of the Preparation of the Gifts is the Presentation of the Gifts, in which people bread and wine to the priest.  Dr. Sri explains that in the early centuries of the Church, people brought forward bread and wine that they themselves had made, along with other offerings.  The act of presenting these offerings was an external manifestation of the internal offering of our time and labor and lives to God.  Today, the presentation of bread and wine represents our offering of our whole selves to God, joining ourselves to Christ and His sacrifice.  After the priest receives and prays over the bread and wine, the priest washes his hands.  Dr. Sri points to Exodus 30:17-21, where Levitical priests would ceremonially wash their hands before entering the tabernacle for their service.  In the Mass, this washing is not a matter of hygiene, but a matter of spiritual preparation.
Next Dr. Sri moves to the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer, the Preface dialogue.  The call of the priest to “Lift up your hearts” comes from Lam. 3:41, and is evocative of the words of St. Paul in Col. 3:1-2, where we are instructed to set our minds on things that are above.  Sri also quotes the fifth mystagogical catechesis of St. Cyril of Jerusalem to the same effect: at all times, but especially at this moment of the liturgy, we should have our mind on the things of God, and we must avoid being hypocrites whose lips confess that our hearts are with God, but whose hearts betray those words.
After the Preface comes the Sanctus.  By calling God “Holy, Holy, Holy,” we are using a Hebraism which denotes a superlative:  God is the absolute holiest.  These words come from the heavenly liturgy depicted in Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4, where Isaiah and John the Evangelist see angelic beings bowing in worship before God and continually praising Him as “holy, holy, holy.”  Our use of these angelic and heavenly words reminds us that our participation in the liturgy on earth is really a participation in the liturgy of Heaven.  After these angelic words come the words which are sung when Jesus entered Jerusalem in the week that He died.  Just as those people welcomed Jesus with those words, so do we welcome Jesus into our souls in Holy Communion by these same words.
Next, Dr. Sri covers the words of consecration:  “This is my body … This is my blood … Do this in memory of me.”  By looking at them in their original context, we can learn how the Mass (and the Eucharist) is a sacrifice.  In the Mass, we do not see the external signs of sacrifice found in the Old Testament:  priests with knives cutting the throats of animals and burning their bodies on the altar.  But the context of the words of consecration, the Last Supper, reveal the sacrificial character of the Mass.  The Last Supper was a Passover meal, and the Passover was a “memorial” in the Hebrew sense of the word (zikaron, Greek anamnesis).  A zikaron did not just recall a past event, but mystically made that past event a present reality.  What is curious about the account of the Last Supper is that there is no mention of a lamb, a necessary element of the Passover meal.  But Jesus identifies Himself with the Passover lamb by applying sacrificial language to His Body and Blood.  After offering His Body and Blood, Jesus says “Do this in memory of me.”  Jesus is telling His Apostles to make the sacrifice He is offering present for future generations, carrying out a memorial in the biblical, liturgical sense.  The Catholic Church does not teach that the Mass is another sacrificing of Christ or a mere representation of Christ’s offering, but a re-presenting of Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross.
Dr. Sri addresses some of the changes in the new translation.  The word “chalice” is used instead of “cup” for calix, drawing our attention to what makes this vessel special and different.  The words “for all” have been re-translated as “for many” (pro multis), a change which has left many wondering what that means.  These words are faithful to the Latin and to the Scriptures.  Quoting Francis Cardinal Arinze, Dr. Sri says that while Jesus’ death on the cross is redemptive for all, not all choose to accept it, and so it will be fruitful only for many.  In addition, these words of Christ (“for you and for many”) are evocative of the language in the prophecy of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53, where the words “for many” or “of many” are used three times.
This session by considering the “Amen” which concludes the Eucharistic Prayer, by which we give our faithful assent to what has taken place on the altar.  Our “Amen” should be a resounding celestial thunderclap, as St. Jerome said; it should be our signature under the words of the priest, as St. Augustine said.

V. Session 4 – Liturgy of the Eucharist: Part 2; Concluding Rites
Dr. Sri concludes the walk-through of the Mass by looking at the conclusion of the Liturgy of the Eucharist (the Communion Rite) and the Concluding Rites.
The Communion Rite begins with the Our Father:  as we make our final preparations to enter into intimate union with God, we pray the very prayer taught to us by God the Son.  The priest's introductory words remind us that we "dare to say" this prayer.  We "dare" to call God our Father; the Jews viewed Israel as the Father of Israel, but not so much as their Father individually, but Jesus taught us to call God "Abba", a word for "Father" that denotes a close and intimate relationship.  God is not just like a Father to us, He is truly and really our Father. (cf. 1 John 3:1)  We are sons and daughters of God by His grace, by the divine life of Christ dwelling within us:  we are "sons in the Son." (Aquinas)  As St. Paul said, it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us. (cf. Gal. 2:20)  We do not simply God "Father" or "my Father", but "our Father."  The communal character of this expression means that we are brothers and sisters through that same grace that makes us children of God.
After the Our Father and a prayer by the priest, the congregation prays a concluding doxology: "For the kingdom…"  While many Protestants consider these to be the Scriptural conclusion of the Our Father, these words do not appear in Scripture originally, and they are not from the mouth of Christ, so we do not include them as part of the Our Father in the liturgy.  These words do appear in early Christian writings and liturgies, such as the Didache (8:10, 9:9, 10:10).  The words are also found on the lips of King David in 1 Chronicles 29:10-11.
Dr. Sri next considers the title "Lamb of God" in the Agnus Dei.  We know Jesus as the true Passover lamb as well as the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 who is led away to slaughter like a lamb.  We also know Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, as John the Baptist declared Him to be on the shores of the Jordan. (cf. John 1:29)  This title of Jesus as the "Lamb" comes up again in the liturgy immediately after the Agnus Dei, when the priest holds up the Host and says "Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb."  These words come from an angel in Revelation 19:9 (with the omission of the word "wedding").  This chapter contains a blend of Passover and nuptial imagery:  the Lamb is coming as a bridegroom, and the Church is the bride.  The bridegroom-and-bride imagery is found throughout the Old Testament:  Israel is the bride of God, but Israel is often unfaithful to her husband.  But the prophets maintained that though Israel was unfaithful, God would remain faithful, and so the scene in the book of Revelation is the eternal re-union and union of God and His bride.
Holy Communion, then, is a wedding banquet, and the acclamation of the priest "Bless are those who are called…" is a wedding invitation.  The members of the Church are then individually and collectively the Bride of Christ, and Holy Communion is the intimate union of Bride and Bridegroom.  Dr. Sri then relates Pope John Paul II's words about the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Eucharist at the end of his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, how Mary bore the Body of Jesus in her womb, and how she would receive that Body into herself again when she received Communion at the Church's first Eucharistic liturgies.  Sri urges us to spend time with our Lord in thanksgiving and reflection after receiving Him in Holy Communion.
Dr. Sri moves to the dismissal of the Concluding Rites, when the priest says "The Mass (missa) is ended."  He looks at the word missa, which means not just "dismissal" and "sending forth" on a mission (missio).  With that, the session comes to an end.

VI.  Information Session
The final chapter of the DVD provides information about the new translation, which is an occasion for a great catechetical movement, to re-examine what we are saying and doing in the rituals of the liturgy.
Dr. Sri begins by answering a few general questions.  Is the Mass changing?  No, but the translation of the prayers is changing.  Why do we need a new translation?  The first translation in the late 1960's and early 1970's was "dynamic equivalence", but after a few decades of use, it has become apparent that many biblical allusions are not as clear as they should be, the rich imagery of the Latin is not conveyed, and there are other areas for improvement; so the new translation will be more faithful to the Latin and to the Scriptures.
What are some of the new theological terms in this new translation?  In the Gloria, we will call Jesus the "only-begotten Son", not just the "only Son."  We are all sons and daughters of the Father, so Jesus is not the "only Son", but He is the "only-begotten Son."  Jesus' Sonship is unique:  He is the Son by nature, we are sons and daughters by grace.  In the new translation, we will say "and with your spirit" instead of "and also with you."  The greeting of the Mass (and the other times when we use this phrase) are not just about a mutual exchange of pleasantries, and so the phrase "and with your spirit," we are acknowledging the working of the Holy Spirit in the priest, by virtue of his ordination.
Biblical quotations and allusions will be much more clear in the new translation.  Instead of "Happy are those who are called to his supper," the priest will say "Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb."  These words are straight from Revelation 19:9.  Our response was "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you…" but now we will say "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof," from Matthew 8:8.  We are using the words of the centurion who approached Jesus and asked Him to heal his servant; we trust that Jesus can heal our souls and make us worthy to receive Him into our bodies.
The tone of the language in the Mass will be more elevated, more formal.  Dr. Sri uses the example of the Confiteor, where we will say "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault."
What can we do to better prepare for the new translation coming in Advent?  Contact your parish or diocese for news about seminars and programs.  Study the Mass and the new translation on your own.  Books and booklets (like "A Guide to the New Translation of the Mass") and web sites (like www.GuideToTheMass.com) are available for additional education.  Dr. Sri has a study that contains a workbook (and leader's guide), this DVD series, and a book ("A Biblical Walk Through the Mass").  Above all, grow in devotion to our Lord especially in the Eucharist, by participating more deeply in the Mass now:  read the readings ahead of time, arrive early and stay afterward to pray, spend time in Eucharistic adoration.

Where is Praying the Mass being used?

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 1:45 PM

Visitors to PrayingTheMass.com might be wondering where people and parishes are using the Praying the Mass series for catechesis. Not only are individuals buying the book, but there are parishes and prayer groups that are ordering copies for group study and discussion. And so, I've decided to give some details about where around the world people are using The Prayers of the People.

  • Apex, NC: a women's group ordered 30 copies of the book.
  • Charlotte, NC: 12 copies were sold after I gave a "Liturgy & Lager" presentation on the new translation.
  • Collierville, TN: 19 people bought a copy after a retreat I gave at their parish. The same parish ordered 75 copies previously for their catechists.
  • Fuquay-Varina, NC: a catechist bought 23 copies for the parents of her students
  • Hamilton, NJ: 15 people bought a copy after a presentation I gave at their parish.
  • Marathon, FL: a woman bought 10 copies for sale at her parish bazaar.
  • St. Paul, MN: a priest at a seminary bought 25 copies for his students.
  • Steubenville, OH: 24 copies were sold at a catechetical conference in July.
  • Washington, DC: the Basilica National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception carries my books in their bookstore.
  • Birmingham, England: the Maryvale Institute carries my book in their bookstore.
  • Melbourne, Australia: the Central Catholic Bookshop carries my books in their bookstore.
  • Ohope, New Zealand: 30 copies were bought for the parish RCIA program.

Free preview of Praying the Mass books

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 11:11 AM

I've decided to put a chapter of both The Prayers of the People and The Prayers of the Priest online as a free PDF preview.  I've chosen the chapter on the Liturgy of the Word from both, so that the two together represent a complete unit of liturgical catechesis.

  • The Prayers of the People, Chapter 6 ("The Liturgy of the Word")
  • The Prayers of the Priest, Chapter 4 ("The Liturgy of the Word")

Parishioner testimonials from Collierville, TN

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 9:29 AM

The following are two "thank you" notes I received from parishioners at Incarnation Catholic Church in Collierville, TN.

I write heartfelt thanks for your conference at Incarnation Church in Collierville, TN. The celebration of the Mass came alive for me in your talks. My intimate union with Jesus has been growing in all dimensions. It is exciting to be able to "see and experience" all the angels and saints at Mass. It is most exciting of all experiences to recognize that I am being transformed by Christ in the Eucharist. All that you shared that day brought it home for me. I am eternally grateful. Peace be with you!
Deb R.

Jeff, thank you for sharing your extensive knowledge of the Mass with us. Through your presentations, you have made the words and actions of the Mass come alive and become meaningful to my life. I look forward to developing a stronger relationship with God through His Eucharistic celebration. May God shower His blessings upon you as you continue to spread your wonderful knowledge of the Mass.
Marsha K.

The Prayers of the Priest now in print!

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 4:01 PM

The second volume of the Praying the Mass series is now in print!  I am thrilled to announce that The Prayers of the Priest is available for sale as of February 23, 2011.  The book is 250 pages and is $16.00 plus shipping.  Orders in the USA and Canada can be made through PayPal.  Details on purchasing the book are found here.  The book is not yet available overseas

The book's foreword was written by Fr. Tim Finigan (of The Hermeneutic of Continuity).

Buy The Prayers of the Priest

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 3:58 PM

Prayers of the Priest
Prayers of the People | The Eucharistic Prayers

Now available: digital download (as a PDF) for 50% off and no shipping!  Own a digital copy of Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the Priest for 8.00 USD by clicking here:

The print edition is available for purchase (16.00 USD/copy + shipping) as of September 22, 2009.  This price is only guaranteed in North America.  Prices for international orders will vary, especially regarding shipping.

If you are a bookseller and would like to place a bulk order (10 or more copies) at a discounted rate (9.60 USD/book, 40% off), email me directly with a purchase order:  jeff [at] prayingthemass [dot] com.

For people in North America, there are three ways to order the book.
  1. Buy it through Amazon.com
  2. Buy it through CreateSpace.com
  3. Buy it directly from me via the Paypal "Buy Now" button (with a fixed $3.61 shipping charge)
Option 3 is the most beneficial for me (I get the largest amount of royalties that way) which means it is the most beneficial to the charities I support from my book's sales.  No matter how you buy the book, please consider writing a review for it on Amazon.com.

For everyone else (e.g. outside North America), please email me directly for purchase information:  jeff [at] prayingthemass [dot] com.  You will most likely have to pay more than 3.61 USD in shipping costs.

Buy from me!

"Praying the Mass" at Incarnation Catholic Church in Collierville, TN

Posted by Jeffrey Pinyan at 10:35 AM

Here are the four talks (and Q&A session) of my recent parish retreat on "Praying the Mass" at Incarnation Catholic Church in Collierville, TN.

First Talk (33:28)

Second Talk (49:36)

Third Talk (53:10)

Fourth Talk (58:18)

Q&A Session (27:03)