Journeys to new life
I got a new car a few months ago. There was really nothing wrong with my old car, but it was time to trade it in. I have become such a creature of habit. I didn't go out shopping for something daring and different, slick and shiny, sporty and sexy. No, I went to my dealer and bought the latest model of my previous car. It's the same car, right down to the color. There's only one problem — I miss my old car. You might wonder how that could be. It's the same car, right? Well, yes and no. It looks the same, but there are subtle changes that are driving me crazy, no pun intended. The interior is a much lighter color; it shows every speck of dirt. All the little bins and cubbies that were in my old car are gone; I have very little space to store my sunglasses, electronic devices, and spare change. The audio system has been updated and "improved"; it's hands-free now — more like hands-off, if you ask me (I still can't figure out what all those buttons and knobs do). Oh yes, one more thing: my car talks to me. It tells me what I can and cannot do. Despite all this, I had to prepare to share new journeys with my new car.
As ML continues its own year of journeying, this month we explore journeys to new life. The life of the church is about to begin anew. We know that the changes in the Roman Missal that we have been anticipating and preparing for are close at hand. Some parishes have been planning for these changes for months; others have barely acknowledged that a change is about to take place. In this issue, Pat Chuchla offers sound advice and solid ideas for a smooth and less chaotic transition for all of the faithful — even our "occasional Catholics." Jeff Korgan provides an overview of pastoral planning and outlines the importance of evaluation to parish growth. Denise Gannon tells a touching story of how the life and death of one young man provided the impetus for a liturgy that wedded sacred and secular worlds. Timothy Backous reminds us about Jesus's kind of kingship and the new life he offers to all who follow him.
When I drove my brand-spanking-new car off the lot, I started a new journey, but I admit I felt like I was leaving an old friend behind. I can't help but think of all the journeys my old car and I took together and all the people who traveled with us. I felt comfortable with my old car, and I miss it. I suspect that in the coming months, many Catholics are going to experience similar feelings about the new translation of the missal. The Mass will be the same but different. We'll have to think about prayers and responses that previously rolled off our tongues. Perhaps at first, some will find it difficult to enter into prayer at all. They'll be edged out of their comfort zone a bit. They'll recall the weddings and funerals, first communions and confirmations that they prayed so comfortably, and they'll question what was wrong with the Mass before. Others may even experience a period of grieving, a deep sense of loss and yearning for words and prayers that were so familiar. Change is difficult. Experience has shown us, however, that with time we adapt, we adjust, and we adopt the new translation of the church's prayer as our own.ML