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Let God’s Word Reach Everyone

An evangelizing activity in honour of Mr Matthew Dou …

My New Knee

In September I did a total knee replacement surgery and shared in the Lord’s suffering …

My Earthly Father

On Father’s Day, Sr Grace remembered her father and the legacy he left her …

Lent Retreat with Anglican Clergy

It was a very novel experience for Sr Grace to lead a short retreat for 18 Anglican clergy…

Welcome Lent 2019

Sister Grace recalls what she did during Lent when she was a secondary schoolgirl ….

Christian Unity Week - In Action

The Sisters were invited to make a book display in the Anglican church, All Saints Cathedral

Hong Kong Community Vacation

The HK community had been trying to go for a community holiday but …

Easter Blossoms in Spendour in Singapore’s Garden by the Bay

The wonders of the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore filled Sister Grace with Easter joy …

Lent and the Bible

Sister Grace tells us the different versions of Bible available …

Why do Catholics pray the Rosary?

Sister Grace shares an article to answer this question.

Lenten Project for Poor Children

Sister Grace was inspired to look for sponors to buy books for poor children to read ….

Apostolic Sharing with East Asia Delegation

Sister Grace tells us her apostolic experience in the St Paul Media Centre ….

To Spend the Best Advent This Year

Sister Grace tells us how the Sisters spend the Advent.  We can do the same too …

Celebrating the Golden Jubilee

Sr Mary Grace Lee returned to Rome in 2013 to celebrate her Golden Jubilee ….

Revised Changes in the English Missal

Sister Grace Lee talks about the Revised Missal 2012 ….

My Experience of Vatican Council II

Sr Grace Lee was a novice in Rome when the Vatican Council opened in October 1962 .…

Cherish our Faith

See how the Daughters of St Paul use the mass and social media to help people conserve and nourish their faith life...

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“I am the way and the truth and the life”  John 14:6



Sr Grace Lee


The Mass or the Eucharist is the highest form of worship that we can give to God.

Worship is a sacred form of communication with God. Our community and personal prayers are also forms of communication with God, and they are very necessary for salvation. Jesus tells us to pray always. But as a human family and as children of God, and as baptized Catholics we participate in the Mass to show our unity and our response to the God who made us, who loved us until death and who continues to walk with us in our journey to the Father.

How does this communication take place in the Mass?

In the liturgy of the Word, we listen to God’s Word in the Holy Readings, then we respond in adoration, petition and awe. These are structured in the rituals and prayers and other liturgical actions, thus effecting communication with God.

From this we understand that the Mass is such an important and effective way to worship God our Father together with all our fellow brothers and sisters in an environment of holy peace and joy. Hence we give our maximum attention to what is taking place in the Mass. And we avoid all kinds of non-relevant devotions during this sacred ceremony. (eg lighting candles to saints, saying the rosary, making novenas etc- these are private devotion to be done outside of the Mass.)


After Vatican II concluded, the Roman Missal underwent revision and came out in the vernacular languages. The Holy See approved the 1969 English translation, which was implemented in 1973. This translation was a translation from the Latin form but taking the sense of the meaning, not a literal translation. And this is the translation that we have been using for the past 40 years.

Now in 2010, the Vatican commissioned another revision and this new translation is now in force for the whole English speaking Church. It was implemented last year in 2011 but in Hong Kong it will go into effect only this Advent 2012, one year later.

And this new translation is a Literal translation from the Latin.

The Vatican wants a more faithful translation from the Latin text, with more references to the Scriptures and some prayers may be more poetic. It is also said that some rich spiritual metaphors and images are now in evidence, and some theological concepts brought out more clearly.  However, some people are not very happy with some parts of the translation. Some literal translations are stilted and awkward, not in tune with our modern life and language usage, eg and with your spirit. Even some of the Synod Fathers (the Synod of Bishops just closed last month) objected to this part of the translation because there is the prevalent allusion to bad spirits, spirits of the souls roaming in the world etc.

Opinions differ but both translations contain the right doctrinal text.


As loyal Catholics obeying the voice of the Magisterium, we shall accept the new translation and seek to understand the motivation for the changes as well as giving our full consent to this new way of participating in the Mass.

As we have been told, this is a good time to renew ourselves in the practice of our faith, and above all, to come to understand the meaning of the Mass and to fully enter into deep communication with the God who calls us every day to himself in the Liturgy.

With deep love for God whom we meet in the Mass, and greater understanding of the Liturgy, we shall be more eager to come to Mass, if not every day, at least on Sunday, the day of the Lord. At least one can be called a “practicing Catholic’ because one attends Mass faithfully.

So no more OUTSTANDING CATHOLICS, people who come very late for Mass and have to STAND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH because the church is full.

No more going out to smoke a cigarette (to burn incense to your god of smoking) during the Homily.

No more playing with infants and ignoring what is going on in the Liturgy.

No more easy excuses for not attending Mass because it is so boring.

No more arriving late and departing early.

No more watching the time, and grumbling because the priest is taking more than an hour for Mass. (have you ever been to a Christian service of reading the Bible, singing all the time, talking endlessly by the pastor and the service of more than 2 hours?)

No more shoddy, casual and even disgraceful attire fit for the market place or the beach, instead of dressing appropriately to meet the God who is our Father and who is waiting to welcome us.


The initial greeting. The Lord be with you.

1973 translation: And with you also.

2010                      And with your spirit

The most important idea here is that the Spirit of God is in the celebrant who makes Christ’s presence visible in the Mass.

Greek philosophy recognizes three levels of being in a human person: the body, the soul and the spirit. So the spirit is the noblest part of the person. But modern thinking feels that “you” is a better translation because it embraces the total person.

However we must note that the priest’s greeting THE LORD BE WITH YOU is a statement of faith. He proclaims that the Risen Lord is present in the assembly at Mass. We meet Jesus in the person of the celebrant and in each other. The voice of Christ is also present in the Readings.

Penitential Rite: Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault

In the 1973 translation, only one “through my fault” is used but in the literal translation from the Latin text, all three are used.

There may be idle discussion about the valid use of Through my fault. Are there instances when one commits a sin without being at fault or through the fault of another? Sin is a personal responsibility because we choose it freely.

One good thing about striking the breast and acknowledging our faults can remind us that there is sin in the world and we can revive the sense of sin too. Sometimes people think that everything is good and hence no more sinning. It is this fallacy which throws people into sin without thinking at all.

In this penitential service we are also reminded that sin is personal as well as communitarian. When we do not speak out against social sin, we are also part of this communitarian sin eg exploiting the poor and oppressing the voiceless.


2010 translation: on earth peace to people of good will.

In the original Greek the text in Luke 2:14 is literally translated as “people of God’s favour or people of God’s goodwill. Favour or goodwill is the correct translation but  in Latin it is bonae voluntatis which is good will. Actually these two terms are entirely different in meaning in English. Goodwill refers to God and good will is about people who have good intentions.

Peace is God’s gracious gift to the fallen world, we cannot claim it. So when we pray or sing this wonderful hymn on a solemn occasion we should keep in mind that God’s peace is not a reward granted to people who possess good will, rather, it is the benevolence of God, a goodwill gift, a divine favor bestowed on our unworthy selves.

But as Christ worked and died for peace, we too need to exert our best efforts to make peace possible in our hearts and in our community. Our song of peace must help us be more worthy of God’s peace to us. This peace of Christ calms our anxious spirits and restless hearts and drives away the demons of terror that dwell in our souls.

As Christ gives his peace freely, we too must give peace to those around us.


On a Sunday there are 3 Readings. The current statement after the Reading is THE WORD OF THE LORD. Initially there was the “This is the Word of the Lord” which was reduced to WORD OF THE LORD which is from Latin Verbum Domini.

New translation: follows the old form even though the Gospel Reading also has the Latin Verbum Domini.

The reason why the new translation states THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD rather than literally translating it into the WORD OF THE LORD, is because it recognizes the special importance of the Gospel reading. In fact the priest incenses the Book, and candles are lit and held at the ambo=lectern.

We remind ourselves that when the Scripture is read, it is the voice of God and Christ is present in the Word. People should listen reverently because the reading is a sacrament. We need faith to believe that God’s Word is the voice of Christ. So when we listen with the right dispositions of faith, the Word will touch our hearts and move us to action.

The Letter to the Hebrews says “The Word of God is alive and active, it sifts the purposes and thoughts of the heart” Like the disciples at Emmaus we too will experience our hearts set on fire.

Hence a great responsibility on the part of lectors to read and proclaim God’s Word clearly, reverently and worthily so that listeners can understand and get into the right mood and spirit. To achieve this, it requires preparation and inner disposition of humility of heart.

THE CREED – NICENE CREED from the Council of Nicene-Constantinople

The new translation has the beginning I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD whereas we used the WE BELIEVE before. The Greek version was in the plural but the Latin form has the singular. WE means the Church, the faith of the church and we are part of the Church. It should be used during very solemn celebrations as during a Council Meeting or a Synod.

“I” means a personal expression of faith. The Baptism Rite has the personal pronoun to confirm our faith in the Holy Trinity and in the Church. When we recite the Creed, we should say from our heart – I embrace the faith of the Church, I commit myself to live this doctrine in my word, thought and action every day.


The Latin text uses the preposition “in” for the Trinity but not for the church, this is a theological distinction because we believe in God but we believe the Church to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, thus showing our submission to the authority and to the nature of the church. However, in both translations, this distinction is not made.

Our faith in God is not on the same level as our faith or belief in the church. We accept the authority of the Church because Jesus instituted it and guaranteed the presence of the Holy Spirit in her, but we could be disappointed in some aspects of church life, and even by scandals in her. But behind all the stains of sin and ugly face, we know that the Holy Spirit continues to lead and guide her as evidenced by the holy lives of so many of her members.


Latin: descendit ad inferos

1973 translation: he descended to the dead.

2010 translation: he descended into hell.

The Latin inferi was identified in the past as the “limbo” of the ancestors before Christ. There they awaited Christ to deliver them. The old translation does not capture the real meaning of this tradition and article of faith.

However, the new term Hell needs some explaining. During the Easter Triduum we commemorate holy Saturday as the time Jesus went down to the place of the dead where his ancestors were found, he delivered them and brought them to heaven with him. An ancient homily also depicts Christ as the Good Shepherd who went to search for the lost sheep in “hell”.

Actually we can use the word hell in a metaphorical or idiomatic way, eg ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE meaning great uproar and disorder. Hell can also mean great suffering in life. Jesus tasted the hell of poverty, betrayal, bodily pain and his last moments on earth in excruciating pain on the cross when he cried MY GOD MY GOD WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?

So, just as Christ descended into hell to deliver our ancestors and bring them salvation, he will also descend into our earthly hell, to bring us relief, hope and optimism.  Hell is not the only reality in our life. In our faith in Christ, we know that he will not only deliver us from our hell but he will keep us company and walk with us towards the Easter and to our Heavenly Father.


Prayer over the gifts

Latin text: ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium

Old translation: that our sacrifice

New translation: that my sacrifice and yours

This new translation is ambiguous. The Latin affirms that there is only one sacrifice, that of Christ, so we unite our sacrifice to that of Jesus, and this is the sacrifice – the Eucharistic Sacrifice offered by the priest as representative of Christ. The Latin text uses words to say  “my sacrifice which is also your sacrifice” meaning our sacrifice, even though there are different ministries and different manners of participation. The new translation seeks to make distinction between the different forms of sacrifice, the priestly sacrifice and the assembly’s sacrifice – this is not supported by the Latin text.

 In this Invitation to offer our small sacrifices with that of Christ, we remember that “sacrifice” is the language of generosity, to share with others and to serve them.


Introductory Dialogue

Latin: dignum et iustum est

Old translation: it is right to give him thanks and praise.

New translation “ it is right and just.”

The word “right” means our duty to do the right thing in our relation to God but also to realize that God deserves to be thanked. The next part tells us that God is just or righteous. He imparts this justice and righteous to us through the spirit of adoption. This acclamation means that God is worthy to be thanked and his justice makes us holy.

The Liturgy is the source for achieving this human sanctification and God’s glorification. The Liturgy is therefore the supreme act of the church in making us holy through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.


Latin text: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth

Old translation: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might

New translation: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.

Notice the capital letters in the Holy. The word HOLY is not a modifier, adjective to the word Lord, it stands on its own, so it is important.. The Latin uses the word DOMINUS EXERCITUUM = LORD OF ARMIES, but it adds the Deus = God so we have Lrd God of hosts.

In the 1973 translation, we have the God of power and might, thus avoiding the military nuances of armies and hosts but it fails to communicate the prophet Isaiah’s vision of Yahweh Sabaoth= Lord of heavenly armies. So the new translation is more accurate. Even though the word HOSTS is somewhat archaic and military, it has a poetic quality. But we must absolutely refrain from thinking HOSTS means the Eucharistic bread for consecration.

The Sanctus has a reference to Sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary by which Jesus gave glory to the Father. And in this prayer we have a foretaste of Christ’s glorious Body at God’s right hand in the heavenly Jerusalem. There “we hope to enjoy forever the fullness of your glory when you will wipe away every tear from our eyes. For seeing you, our God, as you are, we shall be like you for all ages and praise you without end” – Eucharistic prayer III.



Latin: Hoc est enim Corpus meum, quod pro vobis tradetur

1973 translation: This is my body which will be given up for you

2010 translation: FOR this is my Body which will be given up for you

In both translations the English GIVEN UP FOR YOU does not carry the weight of the real meaning of the Latin TRADETUR  which means betrayed. To imagine God the Father betraying his Son in order to save us, is a  horrendous thought and beyond our understanding. The word tradetur evokes the painful reality of betrayal even among close friends often for selfish motives. The liturgy uses this verb to express the mystery of  the immense love of the Father who could hand over his Son to a violent death for our sake. We in turn should ponder the meaning of betrayal, the breaking of bread which means to share with others and our part in this mystery of betrayal in our life.


Latin text: accipiter et bibite ex eo omnes: hic est enim calix Sanguinis mei.

Old translation: Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood.

New translation: Take this, all of you, and drink from it: for this is the Chalice of my Blood.

The new translation wants to bring us back to the sacred language of worship and liturgy. Cup seems too secular. But in the second acclamation after the elevation of the Host, the word Cup is again used – WHEN WE EAT THIS BREAD AND DRINK THIS CUP” although the Latin has the word calicem. The explanation may be that in English it seems awkward to say DRINK THIS CHALICE.

The change to more appropriate and sacred language is to recall us to the reality of the sacred character of liturgical celebrations. At Mass we participate in a divine worship. We should not forget the Sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary that we bring to effect. Hence our attitudes and our actions should be reverent. Even all the vestments, furnishing and decoration of the altar should reflect our sacred purpose and show dignity and decorum.

An aside for reflection: at this most solemn moment of the Consecration, what are we thinking of, what are we doing? I have even seen some people answering their phone.


Latin text: qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur

Old translation: It will be shed for you and for all (men).

New translation: which will be poured out for you and for many.

Actually the old translation of SHED with reference to pain and hurt has the greater impact of conveying the horrible reality of the cross. It has a sacrificial undertone as in the Latin text. The new translation POURED OUT FOR YOU is rather weak.

At the altar as we hear these words, we bow our heads in humble adoration and pray that the Blood shed for us may take away our sins and allow us to be united to this Christ who has given his life to save us.


On Oct 17, 2006, the Congregation for Divine Worship asked all the bishops of the world to correct the current translation of FOR ALL MEN to the more accurate translation of the Latin PRO MULTIS which means FOR MANY. When we say FOR ALL it means that Jesus died on Calvary for all men and women but actually the word MANY is a collective word, not a restrictive word, and it means ALL.

Many bible scholars agree that even though in English, MANY is not the same as ALL but Jesus intended his salvation to be universal. Whether or not everyone will welcome Jesus’ universal offer of salvation ultimately depends on human freedom. So even when we say ALL it does not mean that everybody will automatically be saved.

Our Pope as Joseph Ratzinger wrote that both formulations are found in the scripture and Tradition. Each expresses one aspect of the matter – salvation is for all but freedom to accept or refuse. So in the end we know that FOR ALL is not the literal translation of the Latin but it is the correct interpretation of the message. So why to change now? Because of the instruction to adhere faithfully to the Latin text.


Latin: Mysterium fidei

1973 translation: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.

New translation: The mystery of faith.

In English a verb is often needed to make a statement or announcement as in LET US PROCLAIM THE MYSTERY OF FAITH but the Latin text does not contain a verb which is actually implicit. The old translation was correctly interpreted with the verb Proclaim, both versions are correct.

What is the Mystery of faith? It is the paschal mystery, the death and resurrection of Jesus. And this mystery is made visible for us on the altar through the action of the priest who changed the wine and bread into the Body and Blood of Christ.


Latin: Per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso….

New translation adds the AND to all the parts of this doxology –


But the prayer to the Father is reversed so that we turn to the Father first and then we unite ourselves to the Holy Spirit.

New translation: Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory is yours, for ever and ever.

The Eucharistic Doxology is like a grand finale of an orchestral work. It concludes the prayer not only with elegant words but with the dramatic action of lifting up the sacraments of Christ’s Body and Blood. This act of lifting up the Body and Blood of Jesus also includes all creation, the immensity of space, the ever-flowing time, in an act of  praise, thanksgiving and worshiping the almighty Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit.

The people answer with a resounding AMEN, in full agreement to all that has been done and said at this point of the Liturgy. It is reported that in old times, the Amen was so loud that the walls shook. But in some of our churches we too sing out a very thunderous Amen which move our hearts and set them on fire.


Latin text: Praeceptis salutaribus moniti……

Old translation: Let us pray with confidence to the Father…

New: At the Saviour’s command and formed by divine teaching we dare to say.

The old translation has 3 options to invite people to pray the Our Father but the new translation gives only one choice. But all four options are not literal translations of the Latin text. But the meaning is there in both old and new.

We can focus our attention on the meaning of the Our Father which is placed just before Holy Communion. As we prepare to receive the Eucharistic food of our soul, we turn to the Father to ask also for material and earthly food. And we do not forget those people who have no food. And we should resolve to share what we have with others. We also ask for forgiveness of sin. But the condition for obtaining forgiveness from God is that we forgive others too. We cannot approach the table of the Lord and receive his peace unless we first break the fetters of anger and hatred that chain us.

So it is meaningful to give the Sign of Peace when there is mutual forgiveness.


Latin: ab omni perturbatione securi

1973: protect us from all anxiety

2010:  safe from all distress

Historians trace the origin of this petition to Pope Gregory I who introduced it as an urgent deliverance of the city of Rome from the threat of the barbarian invasion. The Latin text suggests public disorder and turmoil, not just a psychological disturbance.

The old translation of anxiety makes some celebrants add the word “useless or unnecessary anxiety” because anxiety is a normal and even necessary ingredient of the human condition. Now with “distress”  it can refer to both psychological and physical situations. So it seems the new translation is closer to the mark.

The only time this petition is omitted is during the wedding Mass when it is replaced by the nuptial blessing.


Latin: Domine, non sum dignus ut inters sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea.

1973: Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

2010: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

The reference to Enter under my roof is taken from St Luke about the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant. There is no connection between this story and Holy Communion but we can imitate the faith and the humility of the centurion in our attitude to receiving Communion. Hence this new translation is merely a literal translation with no added enhancement.


Latin: Ite, missa est

1973: Go in the peace of Christ, or The Mass is ended, go in peace, or Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

2010:  Go forth, the Mass is ended, or Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord, or Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life, or Go in peace.

The word Mass occurs only at this Concluding Rite when the people are told that the Mass is ended. And we wonder how the Eucharistic Celebration came to be called Mass. The Latin word missa is mittere meaning to send, so it means the assembly is sent out and the current thinking is that Mass is ended but people are sent out to continue their Christian mission of serving people and bringing peace to them.

We are told that service should complement worship in sanctifying Sunday as the Lord’s Day. So when we leave the church we bring this mission of living the Gospel and witnessing to all that Christ had done for us, thereby glorifying God and prolonging the effects of the Mass.

Do you know that

starting from this new Advent

on 2 December 2012, there would be changes

in our Missal?

Let Sr Grace Lee

tell you about our

Revised Missal.

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