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 CNS Story:

MISSAL-DIOCESES Sep-14-2011 (950 words) xxxn

Dioceses working diligently to prepare faithful for new missal

Literature is displayed on a table during a workshop to prepare priests for the implementation of the third edition of the Roman Missal. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

By Mark Pattison
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In real estate, the mantra is "location, location, location." When it comes to preparing Catholics for the introduction of the new Roman Missal, the mantra could well be "catechesis, catechesis, catechesis."

Dioceses are trying to leave no stone unturned when it comes to preparing everyone from clergy to "the people in the pews" when the new missal's use begins with the First Sunday of Advent.

"We started planning about five years ago," said Rita Thiron, director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Lansing, Mich.

Even before the plan was formally unveiled last October, the diocese started priming the pump early last year with a series of "very generic articles" about liturgy, the Mass and the liturgical year, Thiron said.

"Then later in 2010, we began a series of articles on the process of translation and on the new Roman Missal itself," she added. "Over the next 12 months, we did a series of articles about the Mass and the wording of different parts of the Mass and what would change." Those articles were converted into a series of parish bulletin inserts slated to run through November.

"In June of 2010, we did a series of workshops for the parish leaders, reached 750 parish leaders, and they in turn were trained to do things in their parishes," Thiron told Catholic News Service. "We did daylong workshops with them, gave them all kinds of resources -- tips, handouts."

She added, "We met with the musicians pretty early on in November 2010 to discuss the chant settings in the Roman Missal as well as the new single Mass setting that our diocese would use for six months."

Parish musicians are one key element to making the changeover work well. The St. Louis Review, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, posted on its website a series of musical settings for different parts of the Mass for use with the new Roman Missal. The settings are performed by a parish musician: Matthew Baute, music director at Holy Trinity Parish in St. Ann, Mo.

In the far-flung Archdiocese of Santa Fe, N.M., "we've done 19 regional workshops for our music people, introducing them to the (liturgical) dialogues, and three Mass settings that we're recommending -- not requiring, recommending" for use, said Linda Krehmeier, director of the archdiocesan Office of Worship and Christian Initiation.

The music of the Mass "is very close to people's hearts," said Jackson Schoos, music director of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville, Tenn., at an August symposium for diocesan music ministers, "and change can be a little disconcerting."

"I don't think it will be that difficult" for the people to adjust to the new musical settings, said Father Jerry Strange, a former music teacher who is associate pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Hendersonville, Tenn. "Most of the changes are on the priest."

Priests are another important constituency in making a smooth transition to the new missal.

Father Tom Dente, head of the Office of Divine Worship for the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., said the archdiocese "broke the ice" two years ago in having two priests well-versed in the new missal -- one of them being Msgr. James Moroney, former executive director of what is now called the Secretariat for Divine Worship at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops -- to get their fellow priests ready for the changes.

The Diocese of Orlando, Fla., used its clergy convocation in August to prepare priests in the use of the new Roman Missal, according to Father Richard Hilgartner, Msgr. Moroney's successor at the USCCB.

"We will need to learn new words ... but the deeper question is why," said Evan Stricklin, a pastoral administration and a parish liturgy director in the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J., at an Aug. 22 meeting of clergy in the Diocese of Nashville. "Our challenge is to look at the words sacramentally" to understand the meaning contained in them, he added.

Dioceses also have prepared compact discs for clergy to hear the music and prayers contained in the missal so they don't have to open the missal cold and be expected to recite new prayers flawlessly at first sight.

"They're the guys we really need to serve the most and they have to serve our people the best," Lansing's Thiron told CNS. "And throughout it, our bishop (Earl A. Boyea) had been extremely supportive and eager for it to succeed. And he's even buying all of our priests missals."

Even though Thiron said the cost is "not as much as you think," even for the 200 priests serving in the diocese, the list price of an "altar edition" of the new Roman Missal is $169 from USCCB Publishing. A "chapel edition," smaller in size but with all of the same prayers and rubrics, lists for $115.

In the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, "we did 10 eight-hour workshops around the archdiocese," Krehmeier told CNS." Originally they were intended for training the trainers -- like for liturgical leadership. But we ended up with people from the pews and just about anybody coming to those. We probably have had about 700-800 people who attended them -- two Saturdays -- using the FDLC material," a reference to the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions.

In the archdiocese's northernmost parish, parishioners are typically expected to make a four-hour trek to Albuquerque and back again for training. But when a missal workshop was made available at their parish, 80 people turned out, Krehmeier said.

It's been a massive undertaking, she added. "Based on what I've been told," Krehmeier said, "this by far has reached more people than any other single project in terms of liturgy.

- - -

Contributing to this story were Theresa Laurence and Andy Telli in Nashville.


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