Nearly a year ago, New Zealand was the first to implement the new Roman Catholic English Mass translation by beginning to use the responses and common texts (Confession, Gloria, Creed). Now it looks like it will be one of the last to complete the transition. Other countries will introduce the new translation in full in Advent starting 27 November 2011. NZ was going to be introducing the rest of the texts at that stage also. That will now not happen.

The Maori translation of the Mass was approved (and I look forward to seeing how it deals, for example, with the inclusive-language issues that have so disturbed the English-language discussions; eg. will “father” be “matua” ie “parent” or “pāpara”). This new Missal will be the first ever bilingual Missal approved for NZ.

The printing of the new Missals concluded last week. The pages for the Eucharistic Prayers, being more frequently used, are on heavier paper. These pages do not lie flat when the book is open. Hence the Missals will be reprinted, and the current format of old translation for most of the Mass with new responses and some texts will continue until the Missals are ready.

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At a recent Mass in a full church, one of the four concelebrants finally gave in to constantly getting the words wrong and picked up a book to follow. There were no books for those in the congregation. People would launch with vigour into a section (eg. Confession, Gloria, Creed) and then reduce to a hesitating mumbling as the authorised text wove away from familiarity.

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