SIKESTON -- Catholics continue this weekend to adjust to Mass changes formally implemented last Sunday.
Joan Chinnadurai, a longtime member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Sikeston, said she thought the changes were a wonderful idea.
"I love it," Chinnadurai said. "It's gotten to a point where the text doesn't mean anything if you say it without really thinking about the words.
The Mass itself -- the central ritual of the Catholic belief -- hasn't changed, but the English translation has, in the largest shakeup to the everyday faith of believers since the upheavals that followed the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. A year-long process of revision and negotiation led to an updated version of the Roman Missal, the text of prayers and instructions for celebrating Mass, which originally was written in Latin in the first centuries of the Western Church. (The early Eastern branches of Christianity celebrated their Divine Liturgy in Greek.)
The new translation was rolled out across the English-speaking Catholic world last weekend after months of preparation.
"What's good about it is we're looking at the text and appreciating it and looking at it with a new meaning -- kind of like a renewal," Chinnadurai said. "We're looking at how beautiful these words are. We've been letting them roll off our tongue and not meaning them. We're being slowed down and making sure we're absorbing all of it now."
These new changes have caused Catholics to slow down and think about what they're saying, Chinnadurai said.
"The whole purpose for this change is they're trying to get that meaning back to how beautiful it was to begin with," Chinnadurai siad.
For example, when the priest says: "Peace be with you," the new response is "And with your spirit," instead of "And also with you."
Most of the changes are actually to prayers recited by the priest, but some of the changes for prayers spoken or sung by the congregation revise familiar words that for some people are spoken almost automatically after years of churchgoing.
Along with the new response and unfamiliar words, the affirmation "We believe" has been replaced with "I believe" in the Nicene Creed. Some of the language seems more formal or poetic: the word "cup" has become "chalice."
Church goers were provided with a new Missal and pamphlets, or pew cards, featuring the new wording.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
For the entire story, see the Dec. 4 Standard Democrat or click here to log on to the electronic edition.