The new text of the Catholic Mass doesn’t call for the priest to give his congregation an
appreciative thumbs up, but the Rev. Jerome Rodenfels couldn’t help himself yesterday.
The packed Church of the Resurrection in New Albany had largely nailed the first test of the
Mass switchover by responding, “And with your spirit,” when Rodenfels said, “The Lord be with
This weekend, the script of the Mass changed dramatically for the first time since the 1960s.
Laypeople and priests, long accustomed to memorized prayers, had to read along with books and pew
cards to say the right thing.
The new translation of the Roman missal, or the book of prayers that makes up the Mass, is more
formal and closer to the original Latin than the version that’s been used for decades.
The new version was put into effect during the weekend, starting with Saturday evening Masses.
The weekend marked the start of Advent and the new church year.
In churches across the Columbus diocese, parishioners stumbled a bit over the new wording. “And
also with you,” the old response to “The Lord be with you,” was a common error.
At times, both the old and the new could be heard simultaneously. People caught themselves and
giggled or shook their heads.
Priests and deacons read their missals closely, instead of reciting mostly by heart. The tunes
to the sung prayers were clearly unfamiliar.
But all in all, it was a good start, said Bishop Frederick F. Campbell, who celebrated the new
Mass at 5 p.m. Saturday at St. Timothy Catholic Church. The Northwest Side congregation was
celebrating its 50th parish anniversary.
“The response was wonderful. The people were well-prepared,” Campbell said after the Mass. “Once
they started, they realized it’s not that extraordinary a change.”
For his parts, Campbell’s voice was strong and confident.
At St. Dominic Catholic Church on the Near East Side, the Rev. Joshua Wagner celebrated his
first new Mass at 8 a.m. yesterday.
Wagner gently reminded his parishioners of the pew cards throughout the Mass, and he even
offered a word of encouragement at the start of his homily: “Morning, folks. So far, so good,
At times, he read the people’s parts along with them, in a loud voice. If he stumbled a bit on
his own parts, he simply backed up and reread the passage.
“I just want to say you all did a very nice job with the new responses,” he told the
congregation at the end of Mass. “In six months, we won’t even remember we had a hard time with
At St. Timothy, Edna Whitacre, who lives within walking distance of the church, loved the new
Mass because it’s “more Scriptural.” Having to pay close attention is a good thing, she added,
pointing out, “It’s so easy to sit there and plan your meals for the next week” when you’ve got it
Her granddaughter, Maddy, 11, was visiting from Manassas, Va. Maddy found the new version “very
confusing,” she said. Sometimes she forgot to check the pew card and said the old responses.
Rosemary Osborne, 70, another St. Timothy parishioner, said she isn’t crazy about change and
doesn’t understand why the new text was necessary.
She had a hard time switching from the Latin to the English Mass nearly five decades ago.
Still, “I adjusted,” she said. “And I will adjust to this.”
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