Being certain of the English
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 127
    Hello all - I have unexpectedly been given a fun but slightly mystifying project. I live abroad, and have been asked to teach a short course of English at a seminary. To make things more engaging we are using the Ordinary of the Mass as the text to work with, and learning to chant the texts (in English). I have rarely been to an English-language Mass (I converted while already living abroad), but I know there are older and newer versions of the Mass texts. I am not completely certain how to figure out if a given version of Our Father or Holy, Holy, Holy or Glory to God in the Highest is the old version or the new one. The US Bishops Conference site seems to have a lot of articles ABOUT the Order of Mass, but not the texts themselves (at least so far I haven't found them). The CMAA resources site has versions of the Mass or Ordinaries in English, but I do not know if they are all of the most recent English versions, or if some might be out of date.

    I just want to be sure I teach the correct English texts, so that they can sing a Mass in English at the end of the semester (if we get that far with the project) and have it be liturgically correct.

    Suggestions? Does anyone have a link to/PDF of a handy reference document so I can double check?

    I'm also assuming that for non-liturgical texts I can do as I please? That is, if I want thee and thy in the Anima Christi, I am free to use that instead of you and your? Devotional/non-liturgical pieces have no 'official' versions, correct?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,650
    You can find booklets with the congregational parts of the Mass at
    https://musicasacra.com/music/rm2011/
    and further materials, including links to music for the priest, at
    https://musicasacra.com/recordings/
    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 45
    The link chonak gave will indeed have the most up-to date English translations, across the board. So the "Order of Mass" linked there, https://media.musicasacra.com/pdf/missal-chants-letter.pdf is all you should need I think.
    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 6,616
    Yes. For the mass itself, that is to say for all ritual texts of the mass you must use the official translation. For non ritual or extra-ritual prayers or music you may use any translation you like. So, for the Anima Christi and other extra-ritual prayers you may use any language you wish.

    This is a very interesting and honourable project which you have been elected to pursue. Godspeed!
    Be sure to let us know the results of your labours - how it all turns out.
    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,252
    If there is anything missing that you want, look at the ICEL chant webpage. As it is a seminary, the students may like at least to see some of the Prefaces or Eucharistic Prayers.
    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,252
    Incidentally, the texts are not all good models of English. In English I would not start 'We adore you, ' and not identify you until nine clauses later with the last word of a very long sentence. Okay, I know the Book of Common Prayer does that with the Gloria too, but for the same reason and not as a model.
    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 127
    Oh, thank you all for the pointers! So far they are really having fun with it, if only because they've been in class since 7:30 am and the English section is right before lunch. By then they are good and ready for a change of pace. They are joyfully enthusiastic about singing and the texts give many opportunities to talk about vocabulary (host has three different meanings!) and spelling (choir...buyer...tire...; through...threw...; prophet...profit). Besides the interaction in English in the general teaching (what's this? where is that? who knows what this means? move over there, write down this word, etc.). I split them in half often to keep up a competitive spirit and attentiveness, pointing to 'choir 1' and 'choir 2' and 'everybody!' to recite or sing alternating. I'll see how it progresses over a few sessions and give an update!
    Thanked by 1WGS
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 743
    In English I would not start 'We adore you, ' and not identify you until nine clauses later with the last word of a very long sentence.

    I don't think anyone hearing or singing the text is confused about who this "you" refers to (especially after hearing it dozens of times) - since he is mentioned in the first line of the text - "Glory to God in the highest." In the liturgy, as in the Scriptures, "God" (without qualification) normally refers to God the Father.

    Similarly, the "you" of "For you alone are the Holy One" is not identified immediately, but again, is anyone confused about who this might be? It would seem utterly pedantic to render this as, "For you, Jesus Christ, are the Holy One." "Jesus Christ" comes as the climax of the sentence, in both Latin and English, otherwise the rhetoric of the passage is otherwise completely lost.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 127
    I think the point was it's not the kind of English you use for conversation or writing day to day. But I think in this context - seminarians - learning the English of the ritual (along with English for daily use) is quite helpful.

    Also, I've never seen a textbook that teaches anything to do with religious life, so spending time on things like the Catechism in English, Church architecture, vestments and so on is also relevant.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,252
    @rich_enough - I don't want to bang on about this, though it does concern me when people say this text with each clause separated from the next by an identical comma pause, even at the end of the stanza.
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 265
    I'm sure this is a well-meant endeavour. But it worries me.

    Recently I attended a Mass presided over by a priest who had enough English to do so by reading the words aloud. But he could not preach: instead a very brave young man (possibly a seminarian, possibly not) did an apparently on-the-fly sentence by sentence translation. We can but trust that what Father meant to say was what was conveyed to us.

    Thiml about what this means for ministry in general: If Father hears a confession, he won't have a clue what was confessed to him. If someone greets him in the street, he can say "hello" and nod and smile affably, but cannot respond with any kind of understanding. If someone says "My dad is dying, please come and anoint him" - he won't even know what was asked. Etc.

    The text of the Mass is not necessarily a good starting point for priests who are going to be working among speakers of any language.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 127
    Fear not. They also have English (the usual grammar out of a lesson book) several other days of the week. The singing on Fridays is a diversion/variation in the routine. And they have 8 more years to go...