19 April, 2011

Statement of the Bishops' Conference


Bishops welcome the new edition of the Missal


The new edition of the Roman Missal will be introduced at Mass from the first Sunday of Advent, 27 November 2011.  The changes to the current text that affect the congregation are relatively small in number but Mass will sound different.  The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has developed a number of resources to assist the faithful in familiarising themselves with the new text.

These resources are now available on www.catholicbishops.ie and www.liturgy-ireland.ie:

From September:

New edition of the Roman Missal

The publication of the new edition of the Roman Missal, the book of prayers used at Mass, is an opportunity to deepen our understanding of all that we are doing as we, the Christian community, gather to worship.

The use of a new edition of the Missal is not simply about words or translation.  The new Missal will enable us to come to a deeper understanding of the Eucharist, which is the source and summit of the life of the Church.  The new text is the result of the work of many people over the past ten years.

Since it was published in 1975, much has been added to the Missal currently prayed at Mass.  Bishops welcome the new edition to be published later this year as it will provide Mass prayers, the Masses of our National Calendar and three Eucharistic Prayers which have all been approved since the current edition was published.  Some of this material has been available but the new edition gives us an up-to-date Missal.

While the order or structure of the Mass is not changing, and readings remain the same, the edition of the Missal will be in a new translation.  It uses new norms for translation which call for a fuller and more faithful translation of the Latin.  The new edition of the Missal will bring a freshness and beauty to the language used at worship, capturing the biblical resonances of our prayers more clearly and the rich words and phrases of the prayers, many more than 1200 years old.

Catechesis on the text of the new Missal

Bishops are acutely aware of the impact of these changes in prayers that have been used and loved for almost forty years.

The preparation for the new Missal takes place as we prepare for the International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Ireland in June 2012.  Many resources for the Congress will serve as resources for an understanding of the Eucharist and its celebration.

While the new Missal will be used from 27 November next, the changes in the people’s parts will be explained and introduced from September.  This is in order to make the change to the New Missal as smooth as possible.

Preparation for the publication and use of the new edition of the Missal has already begun. Our National Centre for Liturgy in Maynooth has conducted workshops for Diocesan teams around the country.  This will greatly assist priests and diocesan teams with special responsibility for the preparation and celebration of the Mass.  Many dioceses have already scheduled workshops to take place over the next three months.

Explanatory sessions for diocesan and parish liturgy committees, parish and pastoral councils, pastoral workers, diocesan advisers (primary and post-primary), chaplains, those with responsibility and leadership in music will take place at a local level as we prepare to use the Missal towards the end of the year.

The use of the new edition of the Missal towards the end of the year will also mark a continuation of the catechesis that is now underway.   It will provide priests and faithful with the opportunity not only to explore further the changes in words but also to continue to make our celebration of the Eucharist ever more reverent and beautiful, as the worship of God in thanksgiving for the gift of Jesus the Lord should be.


The publication and use of a new edition of the Roman Missal is the culmination of a project launched in the Jubilee Year, 2000, when Pope John Paul II announced the third edition of the Missal.   The Latin Missale Romanum was published in 2002 and the agency established by Bishops in countries where English is spoken was entrusted with the specialist work of translation.

This agency, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), always intended to revisit the translation given in the Missal we have used since St Patrick’s Day, 1975.  Working with norms for translation given in the Instruction Liturgiam authenticam, ICEL began their work in 2002, sending the Missal to bishops’ conferences in twelve segments.

Irish bishops reviewed and commented on each segment, assisted by our Irish Commission for Liturgy.   ICEL received the Commission’s detailed comments and those from the other eleven English speaking bishops’ conference it serves.

Revised texts were then placed before the Irish Bishops’ Conference and approved over a period of six years, making it possible last year to forward the complete Missal to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in the Vatican for its approval or recognitio.   The Congregation made changes, ensuring that a common text will be used throughout the English-speaking world.  It was assisted in its work by Vox Clara, a committee of senior bishops formed in 2001.


There are many resources available to support the changes introduced and here is a list of the home produced: