Catholics will be praying in a new way this weekend.

The most significant changes in language used at Mass in nearly 40 years will be implemented in Catholic churches across Canada and throughout North America as priests lead their congregations using a new translation of the Roman Missal, the book of prayers used at Mass.

The product of more than a decade of consultation and collaboration with translators, theologians and bishops around the world, the updated text is intended to be more faithful to the original Latin translation. More than 3,000 prayers are contained in the Third Edition of the Roman Missal. While all the elements of Mass remain the same, the English text will change significantly for priests presiding at Mass and, to a lesser extent, for churchgoers responding to the prayers. Visit our Missal Changes Quick Guide page to see some of new responses.

In a letter to the faithful of the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton, Archbishop Richard Smith noted that pew cards and booklets will be available in the pews to help parishioners learn the new responses and sung prayers that flow from the revised translation. Priests will offer guidance as well.

“This moment of change is a wonderful occasion for a renewed appreciation of the mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist,” Archbishop Smith said. “May the Lord bless all of us with not only greater understanding of the Eucharist but also, and most importantly, an ever deeper love for and reverence before this most sacred mystery.”

Clergy, parish pastoral staff and musicians have participated in numerous workshops throughout the Archdiocese to prepare for this transition. The introduction of the new Roman Missal coincides with the start of the Advent season, which marks the start of a new church year as Christians throughout the world prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas

The document that gives overall direction for the celebration of the Mass, the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM), and has also received approval from the Holy See for implementation in Canada. For worshippers in the Archdiocese of Edmonton, the most obvious change is a directive to kneel rather than stand during the Consecration part of the Mass.

“These directives have as their intention to assure consistent practice in the Archdiocese and conformity with the universal law of the Church,” said Archbishop Smith. “This is very important. The oneness of our faith is to be apparent in the unity of our gestures and posture at the Sacred Liturgy.”

Archbishop Smith will preside at the 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, November 27, at St. Joseph’s Basilica, 10044 – 113 Street, Edmonton.

The Archdiocese of Edmonton is home to 370,000 Roman Catholics, and covers a geographic region stretching from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the Saskatchewan boundary in the east, from Olds in the south to Villeneuve in the north. Each week, Mass is celebrated in 90 churches in 15 different languages, including French, Spanish, Polish, Chinese, Croatian, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Italian, German, Hungarian, Korean, Eritrean, Latin and American Sign Language.

Additional resources and background information on the Third Edition of the Roman Missal can be found online at .