November 18, 2011

Parishes use a variety of means to prepare members for implementation of new translation of the Mass

Father Eric Augenstein, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Albany, prays the eucharistic prayer during a Sept. 17 Mass at his parish’s church. Our Lady of Perpetual Help and other parishes across central and southern Indiana have taken many approaches to preparing archdiocesan Catholics for the new Mass translation to be implemented on the weekend of Nov. 26-27. (Submitted photo)

Father Eric Augenstein, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Albany, prays the eucharistic prayer during a Sept. 17 Mass at his parish’s church. Our Lady of Perpetual Help and other parishes across central and southern Indiana have taken many approaches to preparing archdiocesan Catholics for the new Mass translation to be implemented on the weekend of Nov. 26-27. (Submitted photo)

By Sean Gallagher

In a little more than a week, parishes across central and southern Indiana will be using the new translation of the Mass for the first time.

It is the first major change to the words prayed at Mass in a generation. Many parish leaders have been hard at work preparing their parishioners for the new Roman Missal, and trying to help them come to a greater appreciation of the Mass at the same time.

But because of the diversity of parishes, a variety of approaches have been implemented to prepare archdiocesan Catholics for the new Mass translation.

SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral Parish is in the heart of Indianapolis, but, with 157 households, it is a relatively small parish community.

At the same time, Father Noah Casey, the cathedral’s rector, says its parishioners come from more than 50 zip codes.

“I have to get them when they’re here,” Father Casey said. “They’re not just going to drive over in the evening and come to extra stuff. They may be driving from miles away. I’ve got to do it in a user-friendly manner, and get them while they’re here.”

The pastor planned three “15 Minutes with Father Noah” sessions after Sunday Masses in August and November to explain the new Roman Missal. A fourth session will take place in December to answer questions after the new missal has been in use for a few weeks.

Cathedral Parish has also used pamphlets inserted in its weekly bulletin and letters in the bulletin from Father Casey to help parishioners prepare for the new Mass translation.

Many of the parishes in the Tell City Deanery are small as well. But their members live closer to their parishes, and still maintain a strong tradition of having Wednesday evenings free to attend parish events.

So Benedictine Father Anthony Vinson, pastor of St. Boniface Parish in Fulda and St. Meinrad Parish in St. Meinrad, helped plan presentations on the new missal on Wednesday evenings that were open to Catholics across the deanery. They were held in three of its parishes—St. Augustine in Leopold, St. Boniface and St. Paul in Tell City.

In his own parishes, Father Anthony preached a series of homilies on liturgy and the new Mass translation during last Advent and Lent. His parishes have also been using new musical settings of the new translation since September.

For Father Anthony, the Wednesday evening workshops were “the last piece” to help get Catholics in the Tell City Deanery prepared.

More than 250 people of various ages from more than six parishes, including some from the nearby Evansville Diocese, attended the workshop on Oct. 19 at St. Boniface Parish.

“I was shocked that fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders had some really good questions,” Father Anthony said. “They really did listen. I was amazed at what people were drawing [from the presentations].”

Unlike SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral Parish and the small parishes in the Tell City Deanery, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Albany is one of the archdiocese’s largest parishes with more than 1,300 households.

Because so many families call the New Albany Deanery parish their spiritual home, Father Eric Augenstein, the parish’s pastor, used a variety of means to help parishioners prepare for the new Mass translation.

Like Father Anthony, Father Augenstein preached a series of homilies on liturgy, and recordings of all of them are available as podcasts on the Internet.

“Of those who attend Mass regularly or at least occasionally, I would say that virtually everyone is aware of what’s happening,” Father Augenstein said. “It has been mentioned often enough at Masses and in bulletins that I would think that everyone would know what’s coming.”

But for those who attend Mass less often, the August issue of the parish’s

bi-monthly newsletter—which is mailed to all registered parishioners—was entirely dedicated to the new Roman Missal.

A session of Our Lady of Perpetual Help’s intergenerational catechetical program “Week One” was dedicated to the new Mass translation as was a session of its adult faith formation series, “Soup and Soul Food.”

And Father Augenstein planned to have parishioners practice the new prayers prayed at each Mass on Nov. 16.

“The idea is to have a core group of parishioners who are familiar with the prayers and the text,” he said. “We’ll have some confidence with them in that first weekend.”

Lori Hamilton, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish’s director of faith formation, sees the implementation of the new Roman Missal as an excellent chance to help parishioners learn more about the Mass and the Church’s liturgy.

“This is a great teachable moment,” Hamilton said. “It’s an incredible opportunity to enlighten parishioners, and to see the beauty of the Mass. I think anytime you are able to understand a bit more about why we do what we do, it just enhances that worship experience.”

Father Casey was a seminarian at the time that the initial liturgical reforms following the Second Vatican Council were implemented. He sees a big difference between the catechesis occurring now in preparation for the new Mass translation, and what happened in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

“We didn’t do a thing—literally,” Father Casey said. “There were just a few parishes that might have had some explanation in the context of Sunday Mass. But you came one weekend and the Communion rail was there, and then you came the next [weekend] and the Communion rail was gone.

“We did a very poor job of catechizing people for all those changes. And those were much more dramatic than what we’re experiencing now.”

(For more information about the new Mass translation and what parishes can do to prepare for it, log on to www.archindy.org/worship or www.usccb.org/romanmissal.)

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