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May 14, 2018

Introducing the changes in the Misal Romano, third typical edition

Introducing the changes in the Misal Romano, third typical edition


Perhaps many of you have already heard that the Church in the U.S. will have for the first time an official Misal Romano, Third Typical Edition, for use in Masses celebrated in Spanish. The Secretariat for Divine Worship of the USCCB (United States Catholic Conference of Bishops) has informed us that the new Misal Romano can begin being used on Pentecost Sunday of the current year, although mandatory use won’t be officially required until the First Sunday of Advent in December 2018.

In practice, I have observed that throughout the U.S., there are a variety of editions of the Misal Romano that are used, due primarily to priests who preside Spanish Masses who come from various countries in Latin America, and even Spain. It stands to reason that these priests will bring liturgical books from their own countries of origin. In my travels across the U.S., I have seen missals from Argentina, Colombia, Spain and Puerto Rico, and of course, the one that I have seen most is the Misal Romano from México., which is the source of the text for the official Missal in the U.S. There have also been new translations created of the proper texts for some of the celebrations that are unique to this country.

Given that it is common in this country for many parishes to celebrate Mass in English and also in Spanish -often by the same priest (or several) who are able to preside in both languages- the new Misal will be very similar in format to the already familiar third typical edition in English to facilitate ease of use.

Regarding the changes that we will find in the Misal Romano,Third Typical Edition, for those parishes who have been using the new edition from Mexico (or any other Latin American country that has a third typical edition), you will be familiar with some of the textual changes, since as stated previously, this is the source text. Even though there has been official permission from Rome to use “ustedes” in place of “vosotros,” this official change will now be included in the greetings, the introduction to the preface, the Eucharistic prayer, and in other places. Also, in the first invocation of the third form of the Penitential Act, the minister’s part changes to “contritos de corazón”, from what previously was “corazones afligidos.” There are changes to many of the prayers of the priest, such as the collects and the prefaces. And while these will have the same meaning, the texts have been adapted to be in conformity with the guidelines on translation in the document Liturgiam Autenticam. There will also be a noticeable difference in the Eucharistic prayers and the rest of the Misal, however the changes won’t be drastic.

You will undoubtedly, remember the many changes in the English-language Roman Missal in the people’s parts from the Ordinary of the Mass. In the new Spanish translation, there is only one change in the people’s response in the Ordinary of the Mass which is in the third mystery of faith. Now it will be “Salvador del mundo, sálvanos, tú que nos has liberado por tu muerte y resurrección,” where we previously used “Por tu cruz y resurrección nos has salvado, Señor”. Those of you who are bilingual will recognize that the new text is more similar to the change in the Roman Missal in the English language.

While we are on the topic of song, you will notice that the Misal Romano has many options for sung texts, both for the minister as well as for the people. The Misal contains many and different melodic options for the singing response of the people and for the singing parts of the priest and the deacon that are found in the Ordinary of the Mass. Some of these can be found in the Appendix, which will include not only settings for the Ordinary of the Mass, but other texts that may be sung for specific occasions, such as the Pronouncement of the Nativity of the Lord, the Proclamation of Easter and the Moveable Feasts, among others. At the same time, there are also tones (formularies) for the chanting of the gospel, the epistles and the readings of the lectionary. All of the prefaces have musicalized texts. The U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat for Divine Worship has provided a webpage to make the chants available as free PDF downloads in order to help support learning and usage by choirs and congregations.

A question that may surface after reading the previous paragraphs is what changes in the missals and other OCP publications as a result of the new Misal Romano? The answer: very little. There are three settings of the aforementioned mystery of the faith acclamation (Salvador del mundo, sálvanos, tú que nos has liberado por tu muerte y resurrección). The composers were alerted and have provided us with new settings of these for the three Mass settings that are affected in Flor y Canto. Other Mass settings that are not found in the missals of Flor y Canto, likewise have been addressed and have prepared the new setting. Little by little, other texts that have been affected will be addressed in those songs that have been taken from the official texts (for instance, the Exsultet and the Litany of the Saints). Please note that the editions of our missals that contain text from the Misal Romano will reflect the changes as found in the new third typical edition.

It has been said that our liturgy is musical. I believe that one of the fruits of the new Misal Romano for use in the U.S., will be to give a particular voice to the assembly –and of course, the priests and other ministers– to express the faith within, and at the same time, join in the action of Christ in the liturgy through song. With that end in mind, I inform you that with the blessing of the secretariat for Divine Worship, it is my intention to provide recordings of all of the chants of the Misal Romano and make them available for people so all will be able to learn and practice. Stay tuned for news on how to access these!

Pedro Rubalcava
Pedro Rubalcava


Pedro Rubalcava is a nationally known bilingual clinician and composer with expertise in various musical styles. He specializes in working with bilingual communities, speaking at diocesan events and leading liturgical music workshops. He is currently serving as the co-chair of the Liturgy Committee for the V Encuentro National Team of Accompaniment, as well as on the Episcopal Region XII V Encuentro Leadership Team.