Preparing for Mass changes

By Michelle Martin | Staff writer
Sunday, October 9, 2011

When Catholics stand to greet the priest at the opening of Masses for the First Sunday of Advent on Nov. 26-27, they will see changes in wording from the very beginning.

After the Sign of the Cross, when the priest offers them the Lord’s peace, they will respond, “and with your Spirit.” They will repeat that response in the concluding rite, after making small but significant changes to the words they use throughout the liturgy.

John Thomas, director of Liturgy Training Publications, 3949 S. Racine Ave., has been steeped in the changes to the missal for over a year, he said, as the archdiocesan publisher of liturgical materials has been preparing resources for priests, parish staff and parishioners.

Based on the response, Thomas said, some parishes will be very well prepared.

“We’ve sold more than a million copies of ‘Understanding the Revised Mass Texts,’” he said, referring to a popular booklet about the changes. “Some parishes around the country are buying 3,000 or 4,000, one for each family.”

Kids and teen versions of the booklet have also sold well, he said, and LTP produced a series of bulletin inserts to help parishes educate their parishioners.

But he also runs into people who still are unaware about the changes that are coming.

“It’s a little strange when you’ve been immersed in it for over a year and someone doesn’t know anything about it,” he said.

Surprise to many

Rosemary Lane, the social media coordinator at Loyola Press, agreed that the changes will come as a surprise to many people. “A lot of the people in the parishes don’t really know what’s going on,” Lane said.

That’s despite the North Side publisher’s efforts, which include a micro-website devoted to the changes — including free access to several articles written by Todd Williamson, director of the archdiocese’s Office for Divine Worship, and a three-part webinar on the revised translation. Loyola Press also has updated all of its religious education curricular materials, she said.

Lisa Bagladi of World Library Publications said the Franklin Park-based publisher aims its products more at clergy and parish leaders who will be helping their parishioners through the transition.

In addition to the missal itself, top sellers have been the “Pastoral Companion to the Roman Missal” by Father Paul Turner and recording of Archbishop J. Peter Sartain reading the new eucharistic prayers.

“He reads them very well,” Bagladi said, noting that some of the sentences are long and priests might want help figuring out the proper phrasing.

Greater understanding

Thomas said he hopes the changes will help Catholics understand the significance of the Mass.

“One of my hopes about this change is that the fact that the texts have been revised will make us think more when we say them,” he said. “There’s a lot of depth in the texts, and I hope people will go deeper and explore their meaning.”

Resources available

In addition to the new Missal itself, Liturgy Training Publications is offering:

“The Order of Mass: A Roman Missal Study Edition and Workbook” by Michael S. Driscoll and J. Michael Joncas. ($29.95). The book is “a fundamental resource for priests and liturgists as they prepare for the implementation of the revised Roman Missal,” according to LTP’s website. For parishioners, there is

“Understanding the Revised Mass Texts, Second Edition” ($1.25), by Rev. Paul Turner, a priest of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. The booklet provides a brief yet deep explanation of how and why the prayers and responses of the Mass are changing. More materials, pew cards with the new responses and other worship aids are also available. For more, visit

Loyola Press’s website ( has a series of articles by Todd Williamson and Joe Paprocki on the missal, along with a free three-part webinar offered by Paprocki. The site also includes a PDF showing the changes to the text.

“My Own Mass” booklets, appropriate for children up to fifth grade, are available for $3.95 each.

World Library Publications, the music and liturgy division of J.S. Paluch Company, is offering two editions of the revised Roman missal itself — deluxe and value editions — along with some resources for parishes.

“Leading Through Change (Your Parish and the Revised Roman Missal)” by Kathleen Felong ($5) is aimed at parish committee members and leaders. It offers examples of successful, “real-world” methods of preparation for, education about, and implementation of the missal.