Catholics prepare for changes to Mass

FRESNO, Calif.

Catholics are bracing for the biggest changes to their mass since the 1960's. The mandatory overhaul of the mass is designed to unify the more than one million Catholics worldwide with words as close to the Latin translation as possible.

Fr. Robert Borges, pastor of our Lady Of Perpetual Help in Clovis, said the Vatican changed the mass in the late 1960's to be more conversational -- more of a paraphrase of the Latin mass. But the Vatican now wants a more literal translation of the Latin for Catholics worldwide.

Fr. Robert Borges said, "One of the things that people are going to see immediately is the greeting that is used. The priest will say "the Lord be with you" and presently the people will say "and also with you." The response will be changed to "and with your spirit."

Catholic Jerrie Castro said, "Well I think everybody at first -- at least in our particular church because we have not done a lot of rehearsal people are going to be a little bit stunned because they're going to be hearing words that they haven't heard before."

Castro attends Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Northeast Fresno. She said despite the new wording young people may adapt more quickly to the new wording than the older generation.

Traditionalists like Matthew Nickels welcome the changes. "I just kind of like going back to ... Feel a little closer to the mass as it was in Latin."

"To me it's not about being formal or informal. It's not about being old fashioned versus new fashioned. It's simply about being accurate in our faith and expressing what exactly do we believe," said Catherine Cash.

Fr. Robert says the new translation is closer to the Latin, but he believes it also has a deeper spiritual meaning. "The lord be with you and also with you can be watered down a bit to 'good morning to you' and 'good morning' back. A general greeting rather than a call for the Spirit of God to be with us."

Many churches have been preparing for the changes for months -- offering classes and making announcements in church. Some bristled at the changes at first thinking the more formal wording would make them feel more distant from God.

"First I thought that too, but then I realized when you learn what's actually being said, it's more beautiful language. And once you understand what's being said, it brings you more into Christ," said Juan Contreras.

"I'm anticipating that first Sunday will be very interesting. We'll probably hear a whole plethora of responses coming back. But in time, they'll obviously get used to it," said Fr. Robert.

Fr. Robert said the changes have actually been tougher on priests than parishioners since they have much more to memorize. Fr. Robert says he probably won't have it all down for several weeks. "I'm anticipating having to have my nose in the book a lot more than I'm used to."

The changes become mandatory at all Catholic parishes across the country on November 27th -- the beginning of the Advent Season.

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