Catholic Mass Changes (Don't Worry: There are Cheat Sheets)

Advent, the time when the Catholic Church begins a new liturgical year, begins this weekend. This year, churches across Canada and the United States will be introducing changes in the revised Roman Missal. The essentials of the Mass will not change, but there will be changes in the posture during Mass (i.e. bowing before receiving communion), in the English translation of the text (i.e. a change from “and also with you” to “and with your spirit”) and in the calendar of saints approved for Canada (i.e. the addition of St. AndrĂ© Bessette on January 7).

In 2000, Blessed Pope John Paul II announced that there would be a revision of the Missal. One of the purposes of the revision was to ensure that translations of the Latin text would make more effective use of the imagery and language of the Sacred Scriptures and early Church writings.

The Diocese of London has been preparing for a full year on the implementation of the revised Roman Missal. Resources have been distributed in churches across southwestern Ontario for a number of months and most churches have a healthy supply of “pew cards” (aka cheat sheets) to help them with the new changes.

Bishop Ronald Fabbro, Bishop of London, has been pleased with the preparation and feedback so far.

“I am heartened by the positive response of our people.” Bishop Fabbro said. “It demonstrates a desire on their part to deepen their understanding and appreciation of the Eucharist. I am very grateful to our people for their collaboration and support, and to our parish choirs and musicians for their hard work in learning the new music that will be used at Mass.”

An enormous amount of work was done in preparing materials and in organizing workshops to help with the changes. Sister Loretta Manzara, Liturgy Specialist for the Diocese of London, headed the committee to implement the changes.

What Is The Roman Missal (Sacramentary)?
All of the prayers during Mass come from the Roman Missal (known as the Missale Romanum). It contains the prayers the people use and the directions for priests, readings and chants. This book is issued by the Vatican in Latin and translated into other languages.

What’s Happening To The Previous Missal?
The previous edition of the Roman Missal had been in use in churches for more than 40 years. Thousands and thousands of baptisms, weddings, funerals, confirmations, weekday Mass, Sunday celebrations, Holy Weeks, Christmases and more were celebrated using that one volume. At the end of the last Mass using the old Missal, the following words will be spoken: “For everything there is a season. At the closing of this book, we look to the opening of a new season of grace.”

The Diocese of London serves 444,000 Catholics in Elgin, Essex, Huron, Kent, Lambton, Middlesex, Norfolk, Oxford and Perth counties in southwestern Ontario. Additional information about the Diocese of London is online at