Friday, November 04, 2011

New Missals arrived today!

Oh what a relief!

I ordered six new missals--the book of prayers used at the altar by the priest for Mass--several months ago. At that time, the expectation was delivery in October. When October was almost out of days, I emailed Magnificat, and got a cryptic, worrying reply, to the effect of, we're looking for our delivery from the printers soon, then we'll ship them out as we can...

So as soon as I got word that the box had arrived, I scurried downstairs like a boy on Christmas day.

I invited the staff to "come see the new missals"; I ripped open the box, to find...

Those styrofoam peanuts--what do you do with those?

We cleared those out...another box. And inside there: our six, new, "chapel edition" missals.

In case you're wondering, the chapel editions are smaller and less expensive; I decided I would hold off investing in larger, more elegant missals, until I could see them for myself, and to wait and see how things shake out. For example, would there be printer's errors, in the rush to get things ready? Would there be second thoughts about how things were done, once we all started using the missals?

While I'm not complaining about the missals that arrived, I can already say I'm glad I did that. Having seen this missal, I can see features that I'm not sure I will prefer; now that all the publishers' missals are available for inspection, I will be able to make a better judgment.

OK, so what do I think about the new missal?

> It's a lot thicker; my assistant isn't sure it will fit in the Mass kit.

> The pages are thin; I wonder how that will work out for turning.

> This chapel edition gives me tabs to affix; they aren't very substantial so I don't expect them to last. I've affixed the tabs to one edition; I'm thinking about looking for tabs I can buy that might work better.

> There aren't enough tabs. As much as it pains me to say a good word about Catholic Book Publishing's outgoing "sacramentary," it did have a series of tabs for the Eucharistic prayers. This is helpful because it makes turning the pages much easier.

Also, this edition will involve more page-turning during the Eucharistic prayer, which is not ideal. I predict that the 2nd Eucharistic Prayer will get more use, because it involves the fewest page turns.

I will be interested to see, with the larger editions, if there are fewer page-turns.

> The artwork in this Magnificat edition is very good. It's simpler than in the higher-price "altar" edition, but there's nothing wrong with this artwork. It's one-color, but very pleasing to the eyes. Some of the other editions had jarring artwork that, when it combined black and red, seemed cartoonish.

> There is more music and that is good. I think some were hoping all the collects for Sundays would be notated for music, but in this edition they are not (are they in any missal?).

> The prayers are organized in some different ways, but so far I think it will work fine.

> I am not happy that Latin was omitted. It would cost about $400-500 to buy a Latin missal, and then it would be necessary to flip from one to the other, in order to offer Mass with the ordinary parts in Latin, but the proper parts in English--which is not only something envisioned by Vatican II, but a very sensible way to use both the vernacular and the Church's own language. I am planning to salvage the Latin pages from the old missals, and create a booklet for this purpose; but unless I have it bound, it will look flimsy and cheap on the altar.

> There are some prayers that have odd wording, and I wonder if anything can be done about it. I think the overall work is very good, a major improvement. Nevertheless, some things make me wonder: did native-English speakers carefully read--aloud--each of these prayers?

Here's an example, and perhaps someone can tell me, yes, this is proper English:

(for St. Bede, May 25...)

"O God, who bring light to your Church through the learning of the priest Saint Bede..."

Why shouldn't that be, "who brings..."

Is that the long-lost subjunctive mood? I'll have to look that up...

Here's one "For the Election or Enrollment of Names"--i.e., when those preparing for baptism at Easter are accepted, by the bishop, as Elect:

"O God, who though you ever the cause of the salvation of the human race now gladden your people with grace in still greater measure, look mercifully, we pray, upon your chosen ones..."

"Who though you"?

I am not working from the Latin, but I suspect it is trying to say something like:

"O God, you are already the only and ever cause of the salvation of the human race; and now you gladden your people with grace..." etc.

Or is it:

O God, who--although you are the cause..."?

I was trying to figure out how to chant it; then I had a happy realization: only the bishop offers this particular Mass! Let him figure it out!

> I was hoping that all the special "inserts" for the Eucharistic prayers--those that are usable when there is a baptism, or a marriage, for example--would all be placed with the Eucharistic prayer; but in this edition they aren't all, only some. This is actually no change from before; and it's understandable--as noted above, there are already a lot of page-turns, and this would make more. In short, there's no way to square the circle.

> The proper of saints seems to have more proper prayers and texts for the saints, which is good.

> A good change: the Gospel proclaimed at the beginning of Palm Sunday is included in the missal; this will make things easier for priests at that Mass. Good job!

> Some of the rubrics, I'm noticing, are clearer than I recall them being in the outgoing missal. For example, the rubric for the priest's gesture during the nuptial blessing was ambiguous: is he merely extending his hands upward, in the usual "orans" posture; or is he extending his hands over the couple? The latter, in the new missal.

Well, I could go on, but I'll stop there. I'm enjoying flipping through this! I'm glad they are here!

15 comments:

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

If you're speaking about God in the third person (no pun intended!), then "God, who brings..." is correct.

But the collects are speaking TO God in the second person, so "God, who bring..." is correct. The "who" is taking the place of "you"; or, imagine a "you" immediately before the "who", but without thinking "yoo-hoo!"

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

And I share your sadness about the lack of Latin in the English Missal.

As for poorly (or confusingly) worded prayers, the first gaffe is the Post-communion for the first Sunday of Advent. The way it's worded, the casual hearer (or reader, honestly) will think it's saying that we learn from the passing things of earth to love the lasting things of heaven. That's even what the USCCB web site offers as catechesis on the prayer. The problem is there are two plural nouns in the prayer, and the pronoun "them" towards the end of the prayer naturally relates to the most recent plural noun, which is, in this case, the wrong one!

But the Latin is clearer than the new translation. We learn from the mysteries we frequently celebrate to love the lasting things of heaven, even as we are walking amid these passing things on earth.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Jeff:

Yes, I realize that about the implicit "you"--but that's the thing: we don't normally do that in English. Why not say, "O God, you who bring..."?

That said, I think it would be a bit much to expect no glitches, so I'm not all bent out of shape about this.

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

Because "you who" sounds like "yoo-hoo". I don't know if that was the official reason for avoiding it, but it's a practical one.

Just like "the dew of your Spirit" was changed to "Spirit ... like the dewfall", because "dew" might be misunderstood as "doo".

Anonymous said...

Father Martin,

I am glad that you are happy with the new translation. However, I truly don't understand people's love affair with Latin. Jesus didn't speak in a language that no one understood. He spoke in the language of His day, and in the language of His people. He didn't pray in a foreign language from what I can tell from the Gospels. I don't find listening to and/or singing in a language that I don't understand beautiful or inspiring. I only find it confusing. When I attend Mass I want to understand and be a part of it.

You are right to ask if "native English speakers carefully read aloud each of the prayers". From what I have read, ICEL the International Commission on English in the Liturgy) spent many years working on the translation using over 7000 consultants. The final draft approved by the USCCB was sent to Vox Clara ( the Vatican's Advisory Committee). In a short time Vox Clara made 10,000 changes, and they came up with a translation that has no resemblance to the ICEL final draft. I have read that Vox Clara put a lot of effort into making sure each Latin word was translated as correctly as possible while ignoring the meaning and the flow of the words in English. I am sure you know more about this than I do. Maybe you can correct any misconceptions that I have about this.

I have read your previous comments on this blog about the people in the pews being a distraction to you while you preside over the Mass. Add to that the now confusing prayers and your desire to say some prayers in a foreign language, and I am not sure where the people in the pews fit in. I am very troubled about this, and I hope that you can explain to me how I can fully participate in the Mass and be nourished by it.

Thank you,
Sarah

Fr Martin Fox said...

Sarah:

Thanks for your questions and comments. I cannot respond adequately in one post, so I'll offer several in response.

I truly don't understand people's love affair with Latin. Jesus didn't speak in a language that no one understood. He spoke in the language of His day, and in the language of His people.

Well, when Jesus was teaching, or having conversation, no doubt you’re right; he would likely have spoken to people in Aramaic; and it’s very possible he conversed in Greek, because Greek was a very prevalent language in that part of the world--after all, the entire New Testament was written in Greek. Our Lord may even have conversed in Latin, insofar as he did speak with some Romans, including Pilate--that may have been in Latin or in Greek. (continued...)

Fr Martin Fox said...

He didn't pray in a foreign language from what I can tell from the Gospels.

Actually, he may have. Assuming he prayed the psalms and participated in the ritual prayer of his people, then that would be in Hebrew, which wasn‘t a commonly spoken language--it‘s not the same as Aramaic; in some ways it's relation to Aramaic is akin to the relationship of Latin to English!

Also, the language and vocabulary of ritual prayer, for Jews of his day, was not common, everyday language, but structured and formal.

But let’s take this a step further; we’re not merely doing what Jesus did. Jesus prayed in the synagogue; should we? Jesus would likely have worn a prayer shawl--should we?

The Mass we celebrate has developed--faithfully--from what our Lord handed on to the Apostles; it is not meant to be a re-creation, in every detail, of only what they did, but rather a continuation of it.

Our Mass, like our Faith, has developed and been enriched by the centuries that have elapsed.

And for good or bad, most of that history took place in the context of Roman culture and the Latin language. That’s why we’re the Roman Catholic Church, not the North American (assuming you’re in North America) or American or Ohio Catholic Church.

So the fact that Latin wasn’t there in the beginning is irrelevant; it was there in so very much of the life of the Church. That’s why it’s still with us.

What’s more, like it or not, Latin is part of us--we cannot avoid it.

When you take part in a Mass that is entirely in the vernacular, Latin is still there; because it’s from the Latin that the prayers are translated.

My homily, today, about “consubstantial” is a case in point. The Creed, adopted by the Council of Nicea, was written in Latin and in Greek. The choice of words was no casual matter; everything hung on it.

We all want truly to understand our Faith, don’t we? So we really want to understand the Creed, which is such a central statement of our Faith. Then how do we understand “consubstantial” without dealing with Latin? Or shall we deal with it in Greek: homoousios? (Continued...)

Fr Martin Fox said...

I don't find listening to and/or singing in a language that I don't understand beautiful or inspiring. I only find it confusing. When I attend Mass I want to understand and be a part of it.

Well, let me ask this question: when you hear the readings, do you understand them? Really?

I have had years of training in Scripture and theology, and there is quite a lot of the Scriptures I don’t understand.

There are prayers at Mass that make statements about God and us that I can’t claim to understand. What does it mean to say the Son is at the right hand of the Father--they are one (“consubstantial”); and the Father has no hands whatsoever. What does it mean to say God is holy?

My point is this: even in your own language, there is a lot that I would say most people would admit, “I don’t understand what that means.”

Yet your comment suggests “not understanding” = not being part of it. And that means that the Mass fails almost everyone, almost always!

May I suggest that it would be a mistake to say, unless I comprehend what is being said, I cannot participate or take part in Mass.

I took part in Mass in Mexico a couple of years ago.

Sometimes I had a booklet that translated the prayers, sometimes I didn’t. I don’t speak Spanish, but for a few phrases.

Yet I knew what was going on; I took part as best I could. And that was true of the laity who were with me. They recognized the various parts of Mass from various cues. Would I have liked to have understood more? Of course! But had I walked away, saying, I wasn’t part of it, that would reflect more my approach than any actual barrier.

Also, let me challenge you a little bit. I don’t quite buy the statement that when you hear a prayer sung in Latin, you can’t understand it. I think you can, if you choose to. You have a choice.

Let’s say we sing, at Mass, the “Sanctus” or the “Agnus Dei.” Those prayers (which Vatican II wanted all the faithful to be able to sing or say in Latin) occur at the same point in every Mass.

They aren’t long prayers.

If I paid you $5 a word for translating those prayers into English, I bet you could give me a nearly perfect translation, simply by mentally comparing them to the prayers as you are familiar with them--and which I bet you could recite by memory: “Holy, Holy” and “Lamb of God.”

My point? I think with a little effort, you’d be very able to recognize, and sing, and know the meaning of, the Kyrie (which is Greek), the Gloria, the Sanctus, or the Agnus Dei--which are prayers you are most likely to hear, at Mass, in other than English.

Of course, you can choose not to make that effort. But it's not like memorizing the table of elements in chemistry. I'll bet you know a lot of songs by heart. How hard was it to learn them?

Let me give other examples.

In a few weeks, we’ll hear some Christmas music, such as: “Adeste Fideles” and “Angels we have heard on high”--which includes the refrain “Glo-o-o-o-or-i-a in excelsis Deo!”

It may be that you likewise do not enjoy these, because of the Latin, but if so, that’s too bad, and a loss for you.

As you must have noticed by now, lots of people, not just Catholics, love those hymns at Christmastime, and sing them, in Latin.

Likewise the Ave Maria--it gets sung quite a lot at weddings and funerals.

I have never been asked if we can do that in English--always in Latin. Do people know that it’s the “Hail Mary”? Some do, some don’t. Either way, people find it beautiful and powerful. (Continued...)

Fr Martin Fox said...

There is beautiful, haunting music that was written in other languages--and it suffers from translation.

“Panis Angelicus” and “In Paradisum” simply don’t work in English--that’s why you never hear them, except in Latin.

But they are, by any objective standard, among the most beautiful pieces of music that exist.

And this applies to other languages: “Stille Nacht” (Silent Night) and "Cantique de Noel" (O Holy Night), are two beautiful Christmas hymns that cannot be fully appreciated except in their original languages. “O Holy Night,” in my opinion, is far more dramatic and moving in French. And I don’t speak French; but I have made the effort to grasp what the hymn says, in French, and it makes me realize the English is much poorer.

This applies to non-religious music. Think of opera.

There are awesomely beautiful arias from various operas that are always sung in the original language--no attempt has ever been made, as far as I know, to render La Boheme or Pagliacci in English. It would be ludicrous to try.

Instead, you have a program, and many times there will be a translation projected on the wall somewhere near the stage--but otherwise, you hear that transcendent music in French, or Italian, or German.

Of course, you are perfectly free to say, I don’t like that; but it is a shame to cut oneself off from so much beauty simply because of language. With effort, one can come to appreciate and understand all the music I’ve cited, without speaking the language, if one chooses to.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I have read that Vox Clara put a lot of effort into making sure each Latin word was translated as correctly as possible while ignoring the meaning and the flow of the words in English.

I think that misunderstands or misstates the process. Let me be candid, and say I haven’t read extensively about the process.

But the people involved were not robots--it defies reason to think they would “ignor(e) the meaning and the flow of the words in English.”

What is correct is that they did indeed pay closer attention to a more direct translation from the Latin.

And while I think that was the right way to go, what I think doesn't matter; it was how Blessed Pope John Paul II said we would go. Even so, no matter how the prayers are translated, it is inevitable there would be difficulties. All translation, no matter what, involves difficulties.

Again, look at what I addressed today in my homily: the Creed. The Latin couldn’t be clearer: it begins “Credo in Unum Deum”--I believe. Not “Credimus” which is “we believe” (and which, interestingly, was one version of the Creed from the early Church).

So why was it translated “We believe”? That’s not a translation at all--it’s an editorial judgment.

Another example from the outgoing translation of the Creed, which is more concerning--and thankfully it is going away: “by the power of the Holy Spirit, he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.”

That is being corrected to, “was incarnate.”

Now, if you prefer, they could have translated it, “was enfleshed” or “took on human flesh,” or “became human” or so forth. I’m not sure that those are really better than “was incarnate,” especially since we so often use the term, “incarnation” anyway.

But there is no question, this is a much-needed corrective to a very misleading line in the old translation--because the outgoing translation says, straight out, he was born… “and became man”--and that’s wrong!

Jesus obviously was human before he was born! Did his humanity not unite to his divinity until the moment of birth? Of course not!

In any case, it’s true that a translation will have difficulties. That I or anyone else can notice unevenness or awkwardness is no big news; that would happen in any case. (Continued...)

Fr Martin Fox said...

I have read your previous comments on this blog about the people in the pews being a distraction to you while you preside over the Mass.

I think that is a distortion or at least a misunderstanding of what I said.

What I said, in a post about offering Mass “ad orientem,” is that at a particular point in the Mass, when my focus is not the people, but the sacrifice, my posture of facing the people does, indeed, involve distractions for me. But that’s different from the statement you attributed to me.

Add to that the now confusing prayers--

I think you’re being overly dramatic.

If you really find the newly translated prayers “confusing,” then in all honesty you’d have to admit you didn’t understand the versions we’re using now.

That they were loosely translated doesn’t mean you actually understood their content; it only means nothing seemed jarring.

I mean, if you want, we could test this: pick any prayer with more than 25 words, from the outgoing translation, post it here, and tell me what it means. And then I’ll post the Latin, and the new translation, and what I suspect is that both of us will learn that the prayer means a lot more than we realized.

and your desire to say some prayers in a foreign language--

It‘s not a question of my “desire“--it‘s a question of what the Church herself says.

Vatican II gave the option of the Mass being offered, in part, in the vernacular; but it was never mandated that Latin be done away with.

The bishops at Vatican II were clear: Latin should be preserved, and the faithful should continue to sing or to say certain parts of the Mass in Latin, even after the vernacular was introduced. Priests were to continue to know Latin and be able to offer Mass in Latin. Vatican II intended the vernacular to be an added option; it never intended, and never called for, the elimination of Latin.

Vatican II called for Gregorian chant to have “pride of place” in the liturgy. That can only mean that we actually use it at various points--and Gregorian chant is in Latin.

A document issued a few years ago by the U.S. bishops, called “Sing to the Lord,” called for the parishes to use the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei, in Greek/Latin, as a minimum repertoire, and encouraged going beyond that.

So my "desire" is irrelevant; if I loathed Latin, I would still be obliged to do exactly what I've been doing. And the truth is, while don't loathe it, I do find it a challenge. It doesn't come easy for me. I wasn't a particularly good Latin student in high school, I didn't have Latin in the seminary. (Continued...)

Fr Martin Fox said...

and I am not sure where the people in the pews fit in. I am very troubled about this, and I hope that you can explain to me how I can fully participate in the Mass and be nourished by it.

Again, I think you're being dramatic about this.

The real issue is the decisions you make, and the approach you take--not just toward the Mass, but more broadly than that.

Mass won't be the only place where you have the experience of something being challenging, demanding or hard to understand. It won't be the only place you encounter a barrier of language, or context.

There's a whole wonderful world of the present beyond where English is spoken, and beyond our familiar milieu--it would be a shame if you never entered into that bigger world, because you can't readily grasp it.

And then there's the vast treasury of all that has come down to us--not just in our Faith, but in art and music and learning and culture--that, again, are not easily accessible.

I don't know too many people who can read Shakespeare, for example, without difficulty. But what a poverty to bypass Shakespeare because of the issues of comprehending much of his vocabulary!

So the decision is yours. (Continued...)

Fr Martin Fox said...

You can, if you wish, make barriers where there need be no barriers, or where they can be overcome.

Are you saying that unless the prayers and readings of the Mass are presented to you entirely in language--and vocabulary--that you deem accessible, you cannot benefit from the Mass? You cannot be nourished?

Do you believe that you need not make any effort to grapple with readings, and prayers, that even in English, are demanding and challenging to comprehend?

The truth is, the Church simply cannot adequately translate it all, in such a way, as to overcome all those barriers.

To some degree, each of us must do our part to grapple with the profound mysteries being presented us. We must make our effort to understand; and also, we must face the inevitable fact that some portion of it--probably greater than we realize--we are far from understanding.

In truth, the real difference between our understanding, as adults, and that of infants, is negligible, in relation to the reality we're approaching!

If you go to Mass and the priest, when giving you holy communion, says “Corpus Christi” or “Sanguinis Christi,” would you honestly say you have no idea what that means? Would you say you weren’t nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ?

If you attend Mass in a church where the altar can only be approached from one side (and while they aren't common in this country, they are more common in Europe)--and as a result, the priest and you are facing the same way during the liturgy of the Eucharist; but you can hear his words, and you know exactly what he is doing, are you seriously saying you cannot participate?

Unless you see his face or his hands? Why is it so important to see the priest's face and hands?

(Continued...)

Fr Martin Fox said...

And what about people who are blind--as far as they are concerned, the priest is never facing them. Can they not participate fully in Mass?

What about children?

Clearly, most of what is said and done at Mass is over the heads of children. Do they not participate? Do they not draw fruit from the Mass?

There is a little fellow at St. Mary who sings "Alleluia"--at least he tries (it comes out "Ahhhhh!" a lot of the time)--throughout Mass.

He is far from "understanding" in the way you describe--but he seems not to be bothered or prevented by this difficulty.

What about folks who are Alzheimer’s patients, or have mental disabilities? What about parents whose children are wiggly and noisy--or just folks who cannot hear well. Are they not participating? Is it not fruitful for them?

And, of course, those are all real difficulties, and we'd all like all those difficulties to be overcome.

But to say that these difficulties = no participation, no fruitfulness--which is where your idea of "participation" is tending--is very cramped.

There is a girl who comes to Mass at Saint Boniface with her mother every week. She is in a wheelchair, she never says or sings that I can tell. I don’t know her disability, but when I talk to her after Mass, I don’t get much response other than, she moves her head and smiles.

Yet the way you talk about participation would force me to say, she doesn’t participate in, and doesn’t benefit from, the Mass. But I disagree, and I suspect you do too.

In fact, no one--not the priest, not a bishop, not the pope, not the most brilliant theologian or most focused saint--ever “understands the Mass.” You might as well say you know the exact value of pi. No one but God knows that.

I would argue that anyone who thinks s/he understands the Mass is in a far worse position than the person who feels overwhelmed. You--and I--should feel overwhelmed!

I firmly believe that everyone who is present at Mass, unless that person puts up a barrier, is touched by and nourished by the Mass.

That’s why I always encourage parents to bring their children, no matter how young.

The Mass will affect them; they will grow into it. It will touch them, in ways no one can understand; very much in the way that the voice, and presence, of their parents and family affect infants, even in the womb.

And in the case of the Mass, this is doubly true, because the supernatural reality of the Mass is the vast expanse of the iceberg that lies out of sight. (End!)

marleythedog said...

Sarah,

I'm not Fr. Martin, and have only a Catholic K12 education, but I felt compelled to comment on your comments.

re: Latin
Yes, Jesus likely told most of his narratives in Aramaic. But, as a Jew, he would have been versed in Hebrew. Even Jews today know enough Hebrew to navigate the Tanakh. It's tradition. Likewise, the Catholic deposit of faith is made up of sacred tradition AND sacred Scripture. By the Church's wisdom, Latin is the language of her tradition. To throw the "I can't understand" card is to miss out on a depth of faith that even I know, reading only a slight bit of Latin, is incredibly rich and profound.

Ecclesial Latin, unlike classical Latin, is not that difficult to learn. The Church's Latin is gramatically an antiquated Italian. If you learn Spanish, you'll see a lot of cognates in Latin. That said, it's hard to find anyone who teaches Latin these days. But, like the Mystery of Faith, we aren't going to understand everything all the time. Taken appropriately, it's an opportunity to investigate and grow in our faith, not a cause for anxiety.

re: Vox Clara
English is a difficult language to express ideas in. Examples such as "one in being" vs "consubstantial" show that what "flows" well in English glosses over important details. Unfortunately, I think that has made a difference in the perception of the gravity of the Mass for Engish-speaking people. If every Catholic understood and internalized the meaning of the Mass and the sacrifice that happens there, every Mass would be standing room only. "One in being" is about the most ambiguous way possible to express that aspect of faith; what does that even mean? "Consubstantial" is a head-scratcher at first, but once you understand it, you can convey to yourself and to others what exactly it is you believe about the Trinity.

The other big problem with English is that it's a moving target, a so-called "living language." Suppose some word used in the Mass changes meaning and becomes controversial over a few decades; there would be a frenzy to fix it and reteach everyone! Latin, for all its "dead"-ness, has been kept very clear in its meaning by the Church. The so-called Tridentine Mass (the pre-1962 rite) went basically unrevised for nearly 500 years. 500-year-old texts in English would predate Shakespeare, and he's half-unreadable to many modern English natives. Using big, Latinate words in the vernacular also has the bonus of making the Mass somewhat understandable even if it is being said in another language.

re: Participation
This is a hard question to address. You have to keep in mind that a large part of participation is internal, readying yourself for the fact that you're here for a sacrifice, a re-presentation of Jesus' last supper. You know the rite and what's going to happen when, so don't let yourself get too hung up on that. Focusing too much on saying the right thing at the right time or trying to sing along with every word brings about this attitude where the Mass just becomes this weekly play, and the congregation are just actors reciting their lines. And really, what's the point of that? That's why Protestant services are usually so different from ours. That's also the problem that priests have with offering toward the people. You have to keep in mind as a lay person that the priest is here with you, not for you. He has to work toward salvation, too! I myself like Mass offered ad orientem because I feel it makes clearer the delineation between the priest's offering and the offering of the faithful (and, contrary to popular misconception, the priest still turns and faces the people at various times during an ad orientem Mass).

I'm wordy, I know. It's good to ask these questions, and I hope my insight has some value. I pray you find these changes and adjustments an opportunity to explore and grow in your faith.

- Chase
St. Mary