Understanding the sacraments: Misal Romano, Tercera Edición

Latest edition of Roman Missal’s Spanish translation may speed up approval of U.S. version

By Father Randy Stice

In recent columns I have discussed the new Order of Matrimony and the new translation of the Order of Confirmation. In this column I want to introduce the Misal Romano, Tercera Edición, the Spanish translation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition. The English translation was introduced four years ago on the First Sunday of Advent 2011. The text for the Misal Romano, Tercera Edición has been submitted to the Holy See for approval (recognitio).

The basis for the U.S. Spanish Missal is the Misal Romano, Tercera Edición produced by the Mexican bishops and approved by the Apostolic See. It is hoped that this will expedite the approval of the U.S. missal. The U.S. edition will differ from the Mexican edition in four ways. First, the proper calendar for the United States will replace the Mexican calendar. Second, the U.S. edition will have 21 Latin American patronal feasts to reflect the presence of many different immigrant populations among the Spanish-speaking faithful in the United States. A third addition is a Spanish translation of the “Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America.” Fourth, the U.S. edition will include the U.S. adaptations for the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM).

The Apostolic See asks each Conference of Bishops to formulate adaptations for their dioceses, subject to the approval of Rome. One of the guiding principles for adaptations is stated in the section on the gesture for venerating the altar, which in the United States is done by kiss. The General Instruction states: “where a sign of this kind is not in harmony with the traditions or the culture of some region, it is for the Conference of Bishops to establish some other sign in its place, with the consent of the Apostolic See” (GIRM, 273).

Let me give a couple of examples of adaptations granted to U.S. dioceses. In general, “the table of a fixed altar should be of stone and indeed of natural stone” (GIRM, 301). However, in the United States “wood which is dignified, solid and well-crafted may be used, provided that the altar is structurally immobile” (GIRM, 301). Another example is the color of sacred vestments. “Besides the color violet, the colors white or black may be used at funeral services and at other Offices and Masses for the Dead in the Dioceses of the United States” (GIRM, n. 346e). Adaptations in the GIRM are indicated by the phrase, “in the Dioceses of the United States.” The subject of adaptations is addressed in GIRM, 390.

The Misal Romano, Tercera Edición will follow the layout and content of the English-language Roman Missal, Third Edition. Unlike other Spanish-language editions, the U.S. edition will include music for all the dialogues between the priest and people and each Preface. The text with music will appear alongside the text, and an appendix will contain additional musical settings. The chant settings will follow the intonations found in the English-language Roman Missal.

The Misal Romano, Tercera Edición will have short pastoral biographies of American saints and blessed as well as an appendix with biographies of patronal feasts. It will have the same number of illustrations as the English-language Roman Missal, and the artwork will reflect the Hispanic culture. In order to encourage Marian devotion, it will include several Mass formularies and Prefaces in the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The American bishops plan to produce a series of catechetical videos in Spanish to introduce the new missal. Topics include a history of the Mass from the Council of Trent to today, an explanation of the process of translation, and instruction on the structure and historical background of the Mass. There also will be catechesis on notable changes, such as the change in the formula of consecration of the wine from “for all (por todos los hombres)” to “for many (por muchos).”

The goal is a translation and ritual book that “will serve as a unifying text for Spanish-speaking Catholics in the United States” and reflect the diversity of our Spanish-speaking population. ■

Father Stice is pastor of St. Mary Church in Athens and directs the diocesan Office of Worship and Liturgy. He can be reached at frrandy@dioknox.org.

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