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Elsa Thompson, a 30-year parishioner at St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill, expressed excitement about the changes.

“With the new translation, the words are straight from the Gospel,” Ms. Thompson said. “The young people, the old people, me we’ll start looking at the words again.”

In an e-letter sent to Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington, Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl explained that the content of the Mass will remain the same and that the “translation we use to pray the Mass will be somewhat different, providing us with new words that have a deeper meaning.” Although the third edition contains prayers for the celebration of recently canonized saints and additional prayers for the sacraments, the fuss remains focused on the retranslated texts for the Mass.

The attitude in the U.S. remains hopeful, however. Father Knestout said the new translation offers a chance for Catholics to “look at the Eucharist in the same way, but with different eyes.”

“There’s a great deal of excitement for the coming of the new Roman Missal,” Father Knestout said. “There’s an excitement and an appreciation for it. People are looking at it as an opportunity to reawaken their lives through the Eucharist.”

Ms. Thompson, who has been attending St. Joseph’s since the 1980s, said that after attending a workshop on the new Roman Missal led by Father Knestout, she was “fascinated” by the language of the new prayers.

“The one that’s my favorite right now says, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed,’ ” she explained.

Once the new translation is released, the response will be prayed as “Lord, I am not worthy that You may come under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed.”

“That’s true, because our soul is healed,” Ms. Thompson said. “Now, the other prayer is beautiful, but perhaps we aren’t going to get a physical healing.”

Resistance in the pews

Others are less enthusiastic.

A website — What If We Just Said Wait? — features a few comments from more than 22,000 people who have signed a petition protesting the “systematic dismantling” of Vatican II.

“When one turns to the orations used by the celebrant, the incongruities of image and symbol, along with the tongue-twister syntax will all but sever any connection between priest and people,” said Martin Singer, a Catholic in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

“The only people who will find new meaning in these changes are the ‘liturgy’ police, who will have new fodder and fuel to ignite their passions and send off letters to bishops, cardinals, priests, and, of course, like-minded websites and publication, all of them on a divine crusade to tell us what it really means to be ‘Catholic,’” he wrote.

Cheryl Broussard of Las Vegas wrote to the website that she fears the new translation “will discourage full and active participation, especially among our youth.”

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