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Online Edition: May 2010

Vol. XVI, No. 3

Pentecost

The Once and Future Preface;

Preface of the Most Holy Trinity in English -- 1957-2009

The Preface is the first part of the Eucharistic Prayer, just after the Sursum corda (“Lift up your hearts”) and just before the Sanctus (“Holy, holy”…). Masses within a special liturgical season or on a solemnity have Proper Prefaces specific to that day, for example, the Second Sunday of Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Christmas, etc. There are Proper Prefaces for solemnities such as the Annunciation, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, and the Assumption, among others; as well as special prefaces for Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for martyr saints, and several alternatives for Masses for the dead. In addition, there are eight alternative Prefaces for Sundays in Ordinary Time.

By contrast, in the pre-conciliar Missal and in the first official English translation after the Council, the Preface of the Most Holy Trinity is used for all Sundays; and there is a single “Common Preface” for all weekdays.

The Latin text of the Preface of the Most Holy Trinity is identical in all versions of the Roman Missal. Comparing several English translations of the Preface of the Most Holy Trinity reveals that the English translation that differs most from all the others is the 1973-74 ICEL version, in use for more than thirty-five years.

There is also notable similarity between the earliest English translations and the most recent one, approved by the US bishops in 2009 and awaiting recognitio (approval for use) from the Holy See.

****

Latin Text

Vere dignum et iustum est, æquum et salutare,
nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere:
Domine, sancte Pater, omnipotens æterne Deus:

Qui cum Unigenito Filio tuo et Spiritu Sancto
unus es Deus, unus es Dominus:
non in unius singularitate personæ,
sed in unius Trinitate substantiæ.

Quod enim de tua gloria, revelante te, credimus,
hoc de Filio tuo,
hoc de Spiritu Sancto,
sine discretione sentimus.
Ut in confessione veræ sempiternæque Deitatis,
et in personis proprietas,
et in essentia unitas,
et in maiestate adoretur æqualitas.

Quem laudant Angeli atque Archangeli,
Cherubim quoque ac Seraphim,
qui non cessant clamare quotidie, una voce dicentes:

****

St. Joseph Missal, 1957

Preface for Sundays — unofficial translation of Latin text for personal use only.

It is fitting indeed
And just, right and helpful to salvation,
For us always and everywhere to
give thanks to You,
O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, Everlasting God,

Who, with Your Only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit
Are one God, one Lord;
Not in the unity of a single person,
but in the trinity of a single nature.

For that which we believe on Your revelation concerning Your glory,
That same we believe of Your Son,
that same of the Holy Spirit,
without difference or discrimination.
So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead,
We shall adore distinction in persons,
oneness in being,
and equality in Majesty.

This the Angels and Archangels,
the Cherubim, too, and the Seraphim do praise;
day by day they cease not
to cry out as with one voice, saying:

****

St. Joseph Missal, 1964, 1966

Preface for Sundays. First official English translation, by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Bishops’ Commission on the Liturgical Apostolate.

It is truly right and just,
proper and helpful toward salvation,
that we always and everywhere
give thanks to You, O Lord, holy Father,
Almighty and eternal God;
For with Your Only-begotten Son
and the Holy Spirit
You are one God, one Lord,
Not in the unity of a single person,
but in the Trinity of one substance.
For what we believe of Your glory,
through Your revelation,
that we also believe of Your Son,
and of the Holy Spirit,
without difference or distinction.
So that in confessing the true and eternal Godhead,
we adore the distinction of Persons,
oneness in Being,
and equality in Majesty.
This the Angels and Archangels,
the Cherubim and Seraphim praise,
and unceasingly chant each day,
saying with one voice:

****

ICEL Sacramentary, 1973-74

First ICEL translation, still in use.

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
We do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.

We joyfully proclaim our faith
in the mystery of your Godhead.
You have revealed your glory
as the glory also of your Son
and of the Holy Spirit:
three Persons equal in majesty,
undivided in splendor,
yet one Lord, one God,
ever to be adored in your everlasting glory.

And so, with all the choirs of angels
in heaven
we proclaim your glory
and join in their unending hymn of praise:

****

ICEL Sacramentary, 1995

Proposed revision; approved by US bishops in November 1995; officially rejected by the Holy See on March 16, 2002.

It is truly right and just,
our duty and salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

With your Only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit
You are one God, one Lord,
not in the unity of a single person,
but in a Trinity of one nature.

All that you reveal of your glory
we believe also of your Son and of the Holy Spirit.

In confessing the true and eternal Godhead,
we adore three distinct persons,
one in being and equal in majesty.

And so, with archangels and angels.
with cherubim and seraphim,
we sing the unending hymn of your glory:

****

ICEL Green Book, 2006

The first official draft translation of the Roman Missal, third typical edition, issued in Latin in March 2002.

It is truly right and just,
our duty and salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God;

Who with your Only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit
are one God and one Lord:
not one single person,
but three persons, one in substance.

For what you have revealed to us of
your glory
we believe equally of your Son
and of the Holy Spirit,
so that, in confessing the true and
eternal Godhead,
we adore the uniqueness of each person,
their oneness in being,
and their equality in majesty.

Which Angels and Archangels praise,
Cherubim too and Seraphim,
who never cease to cry out each day,
as they sing with one voice:

****

ICEL Gray Book, 2009

Final version, accepted by US bishops in November 2009, as submitted to the Holy See for recognitio.

It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and
eternal God.

Who with your Only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit
are one God and one Lord,
not in the unity of a single person,
but in a Trinity of one substance.

For what you have revealed to us of
your glory
we believe equally of your Son
and of the Holy Spirit,
so that, in confessing the true and eternal Godhead,
we adore the uniqueness of each Person,
their oneness in being,
and their equality in majesty.

Which Angels and Archangels praise,
Cherubim too and Seraphim,
who never cease to cry out each day,
and acclaim with one voice:

***

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