For years, we've been working toward this day in Campus Ministry: the Big Roll Out of the Roman Missal, complete with a foretaste of Notre Dame's Newman Hymnal for our residence halls. The table was prepared: we had our website resource up and running, we had created (through the able help of Jenny Ubl, my superb colleague) a temporary pew edition of the four new World Library Masses which have been chosen for use in the residence halls. All that was needed was for the priests, rectors, liturgical commissioners and music directors of the dorms to show up!
And did they ever! We had, for the first time in all of my years in Campus Ministry, a 100% turnout for the residence halls – every single dorm sent a student representative. We taught three new masses: The Mass for Our Lady, the great rewrite of Michael Joncas' Sing Praise and Thanksgiving 2, and the Mass of Charity and Love. My long-time colleague, Fr. Peter Rocca, csc, went over all the changes – a careful overview of the differences between the old Sacramentary and the new, Third Edition of the Roman Missal. Here's a shot of our morning gathering, more than a hundred strong:
We haven't had to face this dynamic for a while – at least for a generation. We've actually had it pretty easy: Marty Haugen's Mass of Creation was the boiler-plate, one-size-fits-all mass setting, and it had rumbled along for more than a quarter of a century. We knew how to respond to everything – which meant, for better or worse, that we were on automatic pilot, scarcely thinking about the things we were responding to, acclaiming, or taking in.
This new Edition of the Roman Missal is going to change all that, whether we like it or not. Even pat responses that we know: "The Lord be with you!" ... (and its response is not what you think!) have changed. We'll all be more tentative. We'll all be making mistakes. But I'll wager that we'll also be thinking much more about what we say and what those words mean.
It's going to take a good, long time to own this new prayer. And it IS a new way to pray. The furniture of our sacred space is being rearranged, regardless of our comfort level. But I'll also guess that there will be a lot of good – maybe even good that our episcopal leaders could not foresee – that will come from this venture. We're going to be thinking a lot more about what we're saying "Amen" to. And that is always cause for celebration, and for song.