I’m glad it was us and not me.

Joy to the world, the New Translation is here! Truly, though, after months of fretting, prepping, practicing, and explaining, November 27th arrived and congregations across the English-speaking world proclaimed in one voice “And With Your Spirit!” Well, at least most did.

Over the next weeks and months, we will continue to slowly adjust to the new wordings of prayers that we have habitually recited for decades; priests will get more comfortable with the different rhythms of the prayers and accompanying gestures; and our fellow C-n-E Catholics will catch on that something has changed. Through it all, this experience has been a once-in-a-generation moment; a significant change to the central aspect of our Catholic experience – the Mass, and it feels refreshing to bask in it.

Mass at St John Vianney Parish, Goodyear, Ariz

As pastoral minister at St. John Vianney Parish, liturgy is one of the areas that I work in and when I came on board a year and a half ago, I was informed that I would become the point person for the parish’s preparation efforts. I still remember one of our parish staff members saying to me, “I’m glad it’s you and not me.”

However, a year later, the new translation arrived, and, as I reflect on the journey, I have come to realize this was not the work of one person in preparing the parish, but became the collaborative work of the parish pastoral team and is a great example of how the ordained ministers and lay ecclesial ministers work together.

When our new pastor, Fr. Tom Eckert, C.S.C. came on board this summer, he took the lead in our parish’s preparation efforts, which helped immensely because it encouraged our parishioners to realize the importance of this change. His leadership also paved the way for conversations to happen and be well-received within our Religious Education program, RCIA/RCIC, parish school, liturgical ministers, music ministers, and ministry heads. We quickly sold out the 1000 plus copies of Edward Sri’s A Guide to the New Translation of the Mass, and six weeks of bulletin inserts were read thanks to the encouragement of both Fr. Tom and our parochial vicar Fr. Paul Ybarra, C.S.C.

When November 27th arrived, our parish was ready and I could honestly say in response to the comment from a year ago, “I’m glad it was us and not me.”

The collaboration between the ordained ministers and the lay ecclesial ministers is a daily reminder that each of our vocations complements the other in fulfilling the mission which Christ entrusted to us, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” In our own small way, we continue that work every day and our parish is truly blessed to be filled with individuals who answered the call to serve, who are living out God’s dream for them.

Mr. Rob Curtis is the Pastoral Minister at St. John Vianney Parish in Goodyear, Ariz. He and Mr. John Soisson, the Special Assistant to the President at the University of Portland in Portland, Ore., team up to contribute to the Spes Unica blog the perspective of our lay collaborators in Holy Cross. Our lay collaborators not only join us in what we do, but they also help make us who we are. It is impossible to imagine our lives, our mission, or our vocations without them, and so to help those discerning with our community, we include their voices on our blog as well.

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