A draft translation

of the

Missale et Lectionarium, O.P (1985)


NOTE:  The manuscript has been privately printed and is distributed for purposes of consultation. Dominican Liturgical Commission, U.S.A. Chicago, 1986


Pro manuscripto cum permissione superiorum

Imprimi potest: Donald J. Goergen, O.P.

Prior Provincial of the

Central Dominican Province


Translations of certain prayers and prefaces from The Sacramentary, 1985. 8 1969-1985, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.


8 Dominican Liturgical Commission, U.S.A. July, 1986.

All rights reserved.




The Contents


1.               In 1985 the 'editio typica' of the Dominican Supplement to the Roman Missal and Roman Lectionary was published under the title: Proprium Ordinis Praedicatorum: Missale et Lectionarium. The Dominican Liturgical Commission, U.S.A. was charged with the task of providing an English translation of the Missale. Work was begun using preliminary drafts of the Latin texts, but it was only with the publication of the 'editio typica' that a definitive Latin text was available to the Commission. This manuscript represents the first step in fulfilling the mandate given to the Commission.


2.               The translations in this manuscript represent the collaborative work of men and women of the Dominican Family over a period of several years. The Commission presents these. translations to English-speaking Dominicans as a draft for consultation and experimental use. After a period of time the Commission will ask for observations and comments on the texts. These observations and comments will provide the basis for further revision before a final text is submitted to the Congregation for official approval.


3.               This manuscript does not include all the material in the Missale. Translations of the official decrees, the General Instruction, the Order of Mass, the Lectionary (this has already been published in an interim version by the Commission), and some of the material in the appendices giving references to plainchant settings for the Latin texts are not included.


Approach to Translation


4.               At the outset the Commission was guided in its work by the following three documents:


a.   Instruction on Translation of Liturgical Texts, January 25, 1969 (hereafter referred to as Instruction);


b.   ICEL Statement: The Problem of Exclusive Language with regard to Women, 1980; and


c.   Guidelines on the Preparation of English Liturgical Texts, ICEL, 1981 (hereafter referred to as Guidelines).


The above three documents set the parameters within which various translators were asked to work. These guidelines are open to interpretation and attempts have been made to address the concerns of various groups and individuals. At its meeting of January 31 - February 2, 1986, the Commission made the decisions which resulted in this manuscript. The translations represent the work of no single translator or group of translators. Final editorial decisions were made by the Commission.


5.               The fundamental liturgical principle which guided the final decisions of the commission is simply stated: the criterion for judging a liturgical text is how it sounds when proclaimed in the assembly. What may be quite acceptable on the printed page is not necessarily acceptable when proclaimed. Thus, ease in proclamation and in understanding were considered essential for good translations. As the ICEL 1981 statement notes: "Liturgical texts are meant to be sung or said aloud in the liturgical assembly. Their intelligibility and effectiveness when heard is of crucial importance." [1]


6.               Theological considerations also guided the Commission. Many of the prayers from the former "Dominican Rite" represented a eucharistic theology that was not always in harmony with that of the revised Order of Mass. This was particularly true of prayers over the gifts. Care has been taken to use the "language of offering" in a way consonant with the revision. Opening prayers usually speak of the virtues or special characteristic of a particular saint or blessed. Care has been taken to assure that such virtues or characteristics are clearly viewed as gifts of God for which the assembly praises God.


7.               As the Instruction points out, a translation is not a transliteration. [2] This has certain practical applications:


a.   Translations following the exact Latin sentence structure and phraseology may not convey (1) the meaning of the prayer or (2) be effective in spoken proclamation. Employing several dependent clauses, frequent use of the subjunctive mood, and periodic construction are characteristic of Latin syntax, but do not work well in spoken English. [3]


b.   Transliterations of certain Latin terms -- e.g, "hostias," "holocaustas," and even "sacrificia" -- may not convey the correct meaning of the Latin term in English. [4]


8.         Considerations regarding English style also led to certain editorial decisions, e.g.:


a.   Certain expressions and uses of language, either because they are archaic or because of the way they sound when spoken, may impede proclamation and understanding and were therefore generally avoided, e.g., "Grant, we beseech you" and "that we may," infinitive constructions, "O God, who," etc. While such constructions are part of Latin syntax, they have been avoided in the translations; rather direct sentence structure has been the rule.


b.   Sometimes the Latin prefaces (and also some of the prayers) present an overabundance of images, so many in fact that simply bringing them over into the English will hinder the proclamation and hearing of a particular text. The Commission believes that such an overabundance or images in English vocal prayer actually decreases the effectiveness of the prayer. Thus, at times a judicious choice had to be made regarding the number and the kinds of images and metaphors which were used in a single text. [5] Some images are more or less satisfactory on the printed page, but inappropriate in oral delivery. When the Commission judged this to be the case such images and metaphors were avoided. [6]


c.   In Latin syntax phrases are often found in inverted order. As a rule such inversions have been avoided in the translations.


d.   For some of the opening prayers, prayers over the gifts, and prayers after communion two English versions have been provided. In these cases the first usually represents a rendering of the Latin original. The second version may represent either another rendering of the Latin original or a new and freely composed text.


e.   When referring to saints and blesseds in the presidential prayers, the Commission decided to use both the traditional terms of "Saint" or "Blessed," which refer to their present status in terms of the canonization process, and the terms "our brother" or "our sister," which emphasize their member ship in the Dominican Family. Celebrants may interchange these terms, depending upon their preference.


9.         Throughout this document inclusive language has been used. This was fairly easy when referring to human beings individually or in groups ("horizontal language"), but more difficult when refer ring to God ("vertical language"). We believe we have achieved an acceptable balance in this regard.


Models of Holiness


10.             It has been traditional in Christian usage to associate a descriptive title of holiness with each saint/blessed in the calendar. Current, practice uses martyr, pastor, doctor of the church, virgin, holy man or woman, etc. The Commission has decided to add secondary titles to most of the saints and blesseds of the Dominican Calendar to emphasize their place in the Dominican Family and to provide more specific models for holiness. Thus, titles such as friar, nun, sister, and lay Dominican have been added.




11.             The Missale attempts to incorporate elections from the plainchant of the Order wherever this is appropriate. This is particularly true for some of the ceremonies of Holy Week and on those days when, according to our custom, a procession may take place. In these instances, where it is intended that the plainchant be used, the actual chants (when readily available) have been printed in place. A translation of the Latin text has been given for convenience, but the Commission does not intend that such translations replace the Latin text with its plainchant.


12.             Finally the Commission wishes to thank those who have labored over the translations and the production this manuscript. All are members of the Dominican Family who have other full-time ministries. Their generosity in giving of their time is deeply appreciated.


July 15, 1986


1          Guidelines 4.


2          See Instruction 9-29.


3          The 1981 ICEL statement notes: "The syntax of the Latin cannot usually be transferred to English . ...elaborate subordinate clauses and participial phrases are often unsatisfactory in translation." -- Guidelines 8.


4          See Instruction 17.


5          See the Instruction in general; also the Guidelines 2,8.


6          See Instruction 24.


Abbreviations used in the Manuscript


AOP    Antiphonarium S.O.P., ed. S. Gillet, Romae 1933 [Add. 1948, 1949 and 1961].

GOP    Graduale S.O.P., ed. E. Suarez, Romae 1950 [Add. 1962].

GR       Graduale Romanum, Abbatia Sancti Petri de Solesmis, 1974.

MOP    Missale et Lectionarium O.P., ed. V. de Couesnongle and D. Byrne, Rome, 1985.

MR      Missale Romanum. Editio Typica. Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis,         1970.

OHS    Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae O.P., ed. A. Fernandez, Rome, 1965.

POP     Processionarium S.O.P., ed. E. Suarez, Romae, 1949.