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Lord I am not worthy…

English masses in Rome after the translation


“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter my table… roof… whatever…”

I actually heard these words at a liturgy a few months ago.  Some of the changed language has caught on beautifully: “Right and Just!” and “..and with your spirit!” were a little easier for everyone here to adopt, since these are in the Italian translation as well.

Because the Italians are not worthy to welcome the Lord at their table, rather than under the roof, however, and every language seems to have translated, rather than transliterated, this idiom previously, there are places where this one is not yet been received. Likewise, the Creed and the Gloria tend to still require the use of the convenient cheat-sheets included now in every church, but often enough, it will be the old Gloria, and an occasionally mumbled Creed.

Of course, it depends where you go. At the NAC-lead English station masses during Lent, you would never know there had been any other way to celebrate the mass. Each of the national colleges or parishes has their own quirks and adaptations, and the international English-language community, with regular worshipers from over twenty countries, probably gets the most variety.

In December, I was preparing for an evening liturgy in one of the Roman basilicas, as the rector proudly showed me the new English-language Roman Missal they had just purchased, our group being the first to use it. So concerned with navigating it, as it was my first use of it as well, I failed to notice the Lectionary was still the 1970 version…

Even in Rome, the biggest contingent of anglophones are those who were, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about the new translations. The second largest would be those who prefer we dump the translations entirely and stick to the Latin and Greek. Already there are rumors about the need for revisions…

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