From reading certain newspapers before the adoption of the first of the new changes in the English translation of the Mass this week end, one could have concluded that the alterations would be retrograde. The reality as experienced in the maytrees' local parish of the Sacred Heart Wimbledon, during Saturday night vigil mass at 6:30pm was quite different.
The changes and so far only those of the Order of the Mass directly affecting the congregation have been put into effect with the remainder being due to start in Advent, seemed well received by the men and women in the pews.
Following the words from the newly distributed Mass cards also make for real reflection on what the mass and the newly translated words mean. There were of course some times when we appeared collectively to get it wrong. For example by reverting almost automatically to the previous response "Also with you" rather than "And with your spirit", just before the Gospel, which caused the Father Michael the parish curate who was saying the mass to smile broadly at us all. Overall my impression is that the changes align the Order of the Mass more directly with the biblical words of God and add to the holiness of the celebration.
Chatting to friends and to the parish priest afterwards outside the church yesterday night, the reactions were all positive though today a local catholic school head mentioned that he wondered if the positive reactions were largely from an older generation so that perhaps younger mass going catholics might be more critical. We shall see...
The changes provide a good talking point as the conversations after mass continued for quite some time and amounted to rather more than the quick hello that on occasion can be all that is said.