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Roman Missal Glossary



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Roman Missal Glossary


The liturgical assembly is all of the faithful – priest, assisting ministers, and congregation – gathered for the celebration of the Mass or one of the other liturgical–sacramental rites of the Church.


The one, normally a bishop or priest, or in certain circumstances, a deacon, who officiates and presides over the celebration of the liturgy.

Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDWDS)

The department of the Holy See responsible for regulating and promoting the Church’s sacred liturgy and sacraments; the CDWDS also reviews, revises, and approves liturgical texts and translations.

Dynamic Equivalency

A translation principle which aims to translate basic thoughts rather than words.  The original words and form are important only as a vehicle for the meaning; therefore, it is the meaning alone that is truly important in the translation.  This method was used during the preparation of the first and second editions of the Roman Missal, but was replaced in 2001 in favor of formal equivalency (see below).

Eucharistic Prayers

The Eucharistic prayer is the words used for consecration, the changing of bread and wine to the body and blood of Christ (transubstantiation).  In the third edition of the Roman Missal, there are 10 different Eucharistic prayers.

Formal Equivalency

A translation principle approved by the CDWDS in its 2001 document Liturgiam authenticam for use in the third edition of the Roman Missal and all future liturgical books.  This method aims to translate texts “integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content, and without paraphrases or glosses.”  The original Latin text is thus rendered into English more literally.

International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL)

Committee chartered to prepare English translations of liturgical texts on behalf of the conferences of bishops of English-speaking countries.  Currently, 11 conferences of Bishops are full members of the Commission: the United States, Australia, Canada, England and Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Scotland, and South Africa.

Editio Typica ( Typical Edition) –

Latin text of the Roman Missal from which vernacular translations are written.  The editio typica tertia is Latin for “third typical edition,” the version of the Roman Missal being implemented in late 2011.

Liturgiam Authenticam

Document produced by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Vatican) which discusses the use of vernacular languages in the publication of the books of the Roman Liturgy, providing the guiding principles for translation.

Recognitio –

An authoritative approval of texts which grants permission for their use.

Roman Missal/ Missale Romanum

The ritual text for the celebration of the Mass, which contains the words and actions completed by the assembly and the celebrant during Mass.  Missale Romanum is the Latin name of Roman Missal.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal

The introductory material in the Roman Missal, containing the general outline and ordering of the celebration of the Mass, including detailed instructions about what the priest, the deacon, the other ministers, and the congregation do during the various parts of the Mass.


Parts of the Roman Missal
The Roman Missal is comprised of 7 major sections, plus introductory material (various decrees and Papal letters, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and the liturgical calendar) and appendices (additional chants, various blessings, sample General Intercessions, and optional prayers by the priest before and after Mass).  This list defines those major sections:

Order of Mass

The overall structure of the mass and the “fixed” parts of the Mass (those that are the same at any Mass), including the responses and acclamations of the people, the introductory Rites, the Eucharistic Prayer (including the collection of Prefaces), the prayers leading up to Holy Communion, and the concluding rites, including Solemn Blessings and Prayers over the People.

Proper of Saints (and the Commons)

Prayers for the feast days of the various saints commemorated throughout the year, and a collection of prayers for use to honor a saint for whom no proper prayers are included.

Proper of Time

Mass formularies (containing the opening collect prayer, the prayer over the offerings, and the prayer after communion, and sometimes a solemn blessing) for the Sundays and Weekdays of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter, the Sundays of Ordinary Time, and major feast days.

Ritual Masses

Prayers for Masses that are celebrated with particular rites: e.g., the Dedication of a Church, Marriage, Holy Orders (Ordination), Religious Profession, Christian Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation), etc.

Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions

Prayers for Masses celebrated for particular religious or civil needs, e.g., for the Pope, for Vocations, for Promoting Harmony, for Peace and Justice, for elected officials, to avert storms, etc.

Votive Masses

Prayers for Masses for particular devotions such as Masses in honor of the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Apostles

Masses of the Dead

Prayers for funeral Masses or other commemorations of those who have died, particularly on the anniversary of death.


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