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Clergy Corner: Memorial Acclamation

Posted: November 23, 2011

This week we are looking at the Memorial Acclamation, the other new Mass part we will begin singing as part of the new translation of the Roman Missal.

The first thing you will notice is that after the consecration, rather than saying, “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith,” the priest will simply announce, “The mystery of faith”. Therefore, the new name for the Memorial Acclamation is the Mystery of Faith. As one writer explains, “This is not so much an instruction like ‘Stand up now’ or ‘Start singing.’ It is an exclamation of awe and wonder…Something is hidden in the bread and wine. Faith perceives it. As if in answer to the priest’s exclamation, the voice of the assembly rings out declaring what is perceived.” So after the priest’s exclamation and declaration about Who is now present on the altar, the people have a choice of three responses.

One of the old acclamations was, “When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.” This is only slightly changed to: “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.” Another acclamation option went, “Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory.” This has been substantially re-translated to now read: “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.” This reflects the original Latin’s emphasis on Christ’s own death and Resurrection. Both these two options are rooted in St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” (1 Cor 11:26).  

Another older acclamation was, “Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Savior of the World.” This now will read: “Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.” The title for Jesus in the both, “Savior of the world” comes from when the woman who met Jesus at the well is told by her fellow Samaritans, “we know that this is truly the savior of the world.” (John 4:42).

Finally, you will notice that a fourth acclamation option, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” is no longer available. This line, although powerful, is not found in the Latin. Secondly, all the people’s responses to the priest’s declaration are “acclamations”. An acclamation is addressed to someone; a proclamation is made about someone. The “Christ has died…” acclamation is really a proclamation; it is addressed about Christ, not to him present on the altar.

I hope these last three clergy corners have helped us all understand some of the changes we will see in the Mass. For more information, much of this material can be found on the USCCB website, http://old.usccb.org/romanmissal/, under “Sample Texts”.

God Bless
Fr. Lickteig