New Mass Settings and the New English Translation of The Roman Missal

On Friday, August 20, 2010, Cardinal Francis George, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced that we have received the final text of The Roman Missal in English.

Several changes have been made to the text. You can find those changes, as well as helpful information, by visiting the bishops' Web site here.
For continued updates, please visit "Gotta Sing, Gotta Pray," the blog of Dr. Jerry Galipeau, WLP's associate publisher. Tuesday and Thursday editions focus on the new translation of The Roman Missal:
The Mass is Changing?

It is a challenging and exciting time to be a part of the Catholic Church. As you prepare to introduce the new English translation of The Roman Missal in your community, you may have many questions about what will change and how to transition to using new texts during worship. WLP is here to help!

WLP wants to help you understand and navigate this time of change, successfully and prayerfully, and to assist you as you implement these changes in your parish or or worshiping community.  We also want to hear from you about your thoughts and your parish's plan for formation and implementation of the new texts, so please share your thoughts with us via this survey.

The Roman Catholic Church is one "organization" that is spread across the world. All of its official prayers and rites (like marriage, funerals, baptism) begin as Latin texts approved in Rome, and then are translated into the various languages used for praying them.

There was an update (mostly adding prayers for new saints) to the Latin Missale Romanum (the big book with all the prayers of the Mass) in 2000. The new English translation of that book was approved April 30, 2010. This does not affect the scripture readings; they will stay the same for the time being.

Now, the new translation has received the recognitio and a date of implementation has been set by the U.S. bishops: the First Sunday of Advent, 2011 (November 27, 2011). This is the date when parishes and other worshiping communities are obligated to use the the new English translation of The Roman Missal and the new texts.

Important: It is important to remember that this a new translation not a new Mass or a new Roman Missal. This is simply a new English translation of the Latin liturgical texts, using new translation rules.

Some FAQ's

What is changing? How different is it going to be?

All of the prayers the priest says will sound quite different, due to the change in translation principles that emphasize a more literal translation of each word from the Latin, as much as possible in the order of the Latin words. Present texts are more loosely translated to convey the same ideas in simple modern English.

The people's words will also have quite a few changes, such as in the Preface Dialogue and the Gloria

Do we have to change?

Change can be difficult. There may be people who are very content with the texts currently in use and don't see a need for the change. Others are very excited because they see this translation as being more faithful to the Latin and more prayerful. Regardless, this is the one prayer resource of the church; parishes will be expected to use it. No publisher will be allowed to provide the previous texts in worship resources since we must seek the permission and approval of the copyright holder and the U.S. Bishops Committee on Divine Worship for all our liturgical materials.

How is WLP handling this change in our worship resources?

We have been preparing for this change for several years. When the new texts are made available to us in teh next few weeks, we will begin to prepare them for our worship resources. We will update every worship resource as quickly as possible, and we will provide supplemental resources containing the newly translated Order of Mass to parishes as needed.

Is WLP updating your current musical settings of the Mass? Are you publishing new Mass settings?

We already have several of our current Masses revised and several new Masses in process (including recordings), ready for sale as soon as all final edits have been made to the texts therein.


Revised Settings:


New Settings:

You can learn more about each of these settings and about other helpful resources here.

Is there any reason not to buy a hardbound hymnal once the changes happen?

Although some parishes may decide to purchase a hardbound hymnal once the changes are implemented, no hardbound hymnal offers the flexibility of a renewable resource, nor the advantage of being able to continually grow and adapt your community's musical choices. In addition, the Lectionary, which contains the scripture readings for Mass, is also being revised right now, so any "permanent" resource with readings that a parish invests in will likely be out of date again in a few years.

Are the Mass texts in Spanish changing, too?

Not right away, but that same updated Missale Romanum in Latin has also been translated into Spanish. The United States is still working out how to compile a Spanish-language missal for use here in the United States. We have never had a U.S. Missal in Spanish before, so this will be a change for parishes as well.

Where can I learn more and keep up with this?

  • The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a website dedicated to this project, and to alerting parishes to resources and events that will help them prepare people for this change.
  • WLP Associate Publisher Dr. Jerry Galipeau, D.Min. posts updates on his blog twice a week, on New Translation Tuesday and New Translation Thursday. His "Gotta Sing, Gotta Pray" blog is found at

  • Rev. Paul Turner has authored the forthcoming book Pastoral Companion to the Roman Missal, a clear and user-friendly guide that includes a walk-through of the newly translated Entrance and Communion Songs, Collects, Prayers over the Gifts, and Postcommunion Prayers for Sundays and Solemnities. Helpful pastoral suggestions and historical background are also provided. Pre-order here.  

  • WLP has recorded the new English translations of Eucharistic Prayers I-IV as a resource for study and preparation for clergy and liturgy planners. Learn more and listen to samples here.