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Language of Catholic mass changes from Sunday

delhi Updated: Nov 26, 2011 01:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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If you're a Catholic, don't be surprised to hear some unfamiliar vocabulary at the mass this Sunday. The language of the Roman Catholic Mass will change — first time in 36 years — as a new missal translation debuts throughout the world on November 27.

The missal, a collection of texts and prayers, is the formula for how mass is carried out. This new translation, cleared by the Vatican, is the first update since 1975. While the Archdiocese of Delhi says this will convey "a deeper understanding of god's word", the changes are going to take 17.3 million Catholics across India by surprise.

Even parish priests are confused. A common service phrase like "one in Being with the Father", which refers to Jesus, becomes "consubstantial with the Father" and "Born of Virgin Mary " changes to "Incarnate of Virgin Mary".

"It's going to be chaotic. There will be a lot of slip-ups but then it’s a Vatican directive," said Father Elias Dungdung who has been prepping parishioners in Pushp Vihar, south Delhi with mock prayer sessions. "Worse comes to worst, we might stick to the ... old routine.”

The only saving grace is that Delhi — unlike other parishes in India — has still got time till January 8 to get its mass right, thanks to a publishing delay. "We still don't have enough material to pass on to all the 83 churches in Delhi," said Father Wilfred D'souza.

But church-goers don't agree. "A majority of people have no idea about words like consubstantial, incarnate.... It's like narrowing my chances to salvation," said Priscilla Mooken, a regular at central Delhi's Sacred Heart Cathedral (SHC).

But the Delhi Archdiocese is not taking any chances. It has launched a viral campaign through meetings and even Facebook to perfect the mass before Christmas.

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