Musicians prepare for new missal

Music director John Dawson showing his stuff at the conference.


Music director John Dawson showing his stuff at the conference.

June 13, 2011

TORONTO — Some 500 parish musicians from across Southern Ontario came together May 28 for a crash course to prepare them for the implementation of the third edition of the Roman Missal.

The new missal, which will be used in English-speaking churches around the globe beginning on the first Sunday of Advent, contains changes in almost all parts of the Mass — changes especially important to musicians, said event organizer Bill Targett.

"The musicians are on the front line," said Targett, director of the Toronto Archdiocese's Office of Formation for Discipleship.

Parish musicians need to know the changes and their reasons as leaders of the congregation, Targett added. Parishioners will come to them with questions before they go to the priest.

"The challenge is moving beyond something we've been working with for 40 years."

These changes include alterations to almost every part of the Mass, from the greeting to the closing, and are the culmination of an 11-year effort since 2000, when Pope John Paul II issued the third edition of the Roman Missal.


The new, more formal missal fixes errors from the second edition and is a more accurate translation of the Latin.

Msgr. Murray Kroetsch, the moderator of the Diocese of Hamilton's pastoral offices, explained the changes in the Mass to the musicians.

The response to "The Lord be with you" is no longer, "And also with you." Instead, Kroetsch explained, it is more loyal to the Latin, "And with your spirit." Meanwhile, the Apostle's Creed is currently nine sentences. In the new missal, it's only three.

Similar changes can be found throughout the Mass — and for musicians, most notably in parts that are traditionally sung, such as the Gloria. These modifications called for new music to accommodate the third edition translations, which the musicians began to learn after Kroetsch's workshop.

English-speaking parish musicians will have about six months to become familiar with the new music before Nov. 27, when the switch takes place.