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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Goings-on at the Knoll

Here are some brief snippets of things happening around the Knoll these days:

The eastern region Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) is meeting here this week. Much of their discussions will center around the Presidium workshop. (Either I'm getting old or these superiors are getting younger each year.) It is nice to have an almost full house again.

At the monthly house meeting yesterday, we spent most of the hour bracing ourselves for the imminent changes to the English Mass. First of all, even the smaller chapel edition weighs a ton. How the older men serving as acolytes will be able to hold this for any length of time will be a challenge. Fr. John Kaserow, our house liturgist, suggested we may have to set up a stand in front of the presider's chair to hold the book.

But that's the least of its drawbacks. The committee who translated this may be experts in Latin, but they know squat about the English language. Here's the basic error with literal translation from Latin: it sounds awkward at best and stupid at worst in English.

I made this point when I met with the Sunday school teachers last weekend to prepare them for the changes. "Gamsa hamnida" translates from Korean as "Thank you." The response is: "Chun maneyo" but the literal translation is not "You're welcome" but rather "Ten million." Makes absolutely no sense in English.

Ergo we get stuck with "consubstantial" in the creed. And don't get me started about the Spirit descending like "dewfall." (Cat Stevens, call your publicist!)

Anyway, the burden falls on the celebrant to make the Mass prayerful, perhaps requiring a greater miracle and mystery of faith than Transubstantiation.

Lastly there was a moving, one-woman performance in our Asia Room on the life of Dorothy Day, entitled "Haunted by God." The show was sponsored by the Armistad Catholic Worker house in New Haven, Conn., in memory of Fr. Tom Goekler who worked there and who passed away a year ago in Honduras.

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