Skip to content

Four tips for adapting to the “new” Mass

We’re going on a field trip again today, over to the Huffington Post. Do you have your signed slip permission slip? I’m over there trying to help people adapt to the new language of the Mass. I’ll start you here and link you there:

By Mary DeTurris Poust
Having come of age in the years after Vatican II, I never knew the Catholic Mass in Latin. In fact, the only version I know is the one that’s been celebrated for the past 40 years. So I didn’t take too kindly to the idea that the words and responses of the Mass would be changing, and I’d have to look at a written guide to get me through the prayers that have rolled off my tongue since childhood.

The impending changes to the English translation of the universal Roman Missal have sparked controversy among Catholics, to be sure. Some wonder why we need a new translation when the old one seemed to be working just fine. They see the new language–which brings the English more closely in line with the original Latin–as a return to a harsher time, a past that no longer fits our modern way of thinking. Others see the changes as a long time coming, a correction of a translation that was always slightly “off.” Whatever side of the fence you’re on, the changes are less than one month away. It’s time to adapt and move forward. The new translation of the Roman Missal will go into effect on the first Sunday of Advent, November 27, which is the beginning of the Church year for Catholics.

So what will these changes mean for you? They will probably feel somewhat strange at first, and no doubt there will be some things that may never feel right. I’m not going to try to convince anyone that referring to Jesus as “consubstantial with the Father” in the Nicene Creed where we once had the almost-lilting “one in being with the Father” is ever going to feel normal, let alone be an improvement. But, if we approach the changes with an open mind and, more importantly, an open heart, we just might find our connection to the Mass reinvigorated for the first time in years, something Catholics in this country could sorely use.

Here are four basic guidelines for making the new Mass your own:

Get to know the Scriptural references behind some of the changes. When I first heard that the short prayer said before Communion was changing, I balked. Continue reading HERE.

We are all meant to walk ‘The Way’

I rarely go to the movies and almost never with Dennis, but last weekend I decided we were going to find the time — make the time — to see The Way with Martin Sheen. In recent years, pilgrimage has become an important part of my spiritual journey. And not just because I finally got the chance to go to Rome last year. Nope. In fact, my focus on pilgrimage began long before I’d ever renewed my passport, and that, as it turns out, is as it should be. We are all on a pilgrimage, whether we walk the 800 kilometers of the famed Camino de Santiago de Compostela, or never get past our neighborhood church. Read more

Archbishop Dolan endorses my book on the Mass


If you’re looking for something to guide you or your parishioners through the new translation of the Mass, be sure to check out my latest book, “The Essential Guide to Catholic Prayer and the Mass,” which has an imprimatur and has been endorsed by Archbishop Timothy Dolan:

“We Catholics believe in the power of prayer to change lives and the world. In her engaging new book, Mary DeTurris Poust lovingly walks us through many of the Church’s rich and diverse traditions of prayer, breathing new life into ancient, beloved devotions, and pointing the way toward more modern methods of prayer as well.

Perhaps most valuable of all, Mary breaks down the parts of the Mass – the ultimate prayer – to enhance the reader’s understanding and appreciation of this Sunday banquet at which we are all called to gather regularly as a family, united with the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. As Saint Paul confessed, ‘none of us know how to pray as we ought.’ This book is sure a help.”

+Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

For more information on my books, visit my website.

Come with me if you want to pray

We’re going on a field trip today. Over to Huffington Post, where you’ll find me writing about prayer. Just call me HuffPoust. Why the foray so far afield? Well, HuffPo invited me to write about prayer in connection with my newest book, The Essential Guide to Catholic Prayer and the Mass. So today I’m covering “What’s the Point of Prayer?” I’ll start you off here and let you continue over there:

By Mary DeTurris Poust

Most of us, at one time or another, send up a prayer and hope against hope for the answer we want. And more often than not, we wait and wonder, as we continually check our spiritual inbox for some sort of sign, if perhaps our prayer fell on deaf ears, or on any ears at all. Hello? Is this thing on?

Unfortunately, prayer is not like a gumball machine. We don’t put our prayers in and then wait with cupped hands for the correct response to come pouring out.

Prayer can be a tricky thing, even for those who do it religiously, so to speak. We can get the feeling we’re not doing it right or that we have to be holier in order to pray. Not the case. Blessed Pope John Paul II once said: “How to pray? This is a simple matter. I would say: Pray any way you like so long as you pray.”

So on that note, let’s look at the five most common questions people ask me about prayer:

1. My life is already so jam-packed with responsibilities. How can I add daily prayer to the list?

Prayer is not meant to be a chore and certainly shouldn’t become one more stress. Continue reading HERE.


A book that became a spiritual journey

Here’s my latest Life Lines column from the April 7 issue of Catholic New York:

Growing up in a traditional Catholic household — one where my mother strictly adhered to Church teaching and even added a few rules of her own (Thanksgiving was a holy day of obligation at our house) — I entered adulthood with a fairly substantial repertoire of Catholic devotions under my belt.

Grace Before Meals. Check. Monday night novena. Check. Stations of the Cross. Check. Rosary, litanies, Triduum services. Check, check, check. Ours was a life marked by the rhythm of the Church year, and I grew to love the passing spiritual seasons in much the same way I looked forward to autumn and spring.

So when I decided to write my latest book, “The Essential Guide to Catholic Prayer and the Mass,” I had the basics down. But as I explored and researched, I realized how much more there was to learn and love in the beautiful treasury of Catholic prayers and devotions. Chapter by chapter, as I plumbed the depths of prayer methods that were often hauntingly familiar and sometimes refreshingly new, I found myself awed by the many and varied ways Catholics try to connect with God. Whether we like to pray out loud or in silence, with music or in motion, alone or in a crowd, there truly is something for everyone.

It’s a blessing to do a job that rotates around worship. Spiritual exercise is built into my day. Even when I am not actually praying, I am often writing a prayer or writing about prayer. This latest book, however, allowed me to enter into that world full time for several months, sitting before my computer with the words of the saints and the poetry of prayer filling my ears and my heart almost around the clock. From the desert-style prayer of silence and fasting to the fullness of the Rosary and popular novenas, I basked in the glow of Divine conversation.

Perhaps the best part of this particular writing job, which ultimately became a spiritual journey, was the time I spent writing about the Mass, including the new translation of the Roman Missal that will become the norm for Catholics in just a few months. I went from my initial aversion to changes that seemed foreign to my ears to a real appreciation for some of the changes that will take us back to our scriptural roots. Although the official translation will not be in place until Advent, I already hear the words of the new translation echoing silently in my head as I pray at Mass each Sunday.

In some ways, writing this book on prayer was like going on a pilgrimage. I traveled from one sacred place to another—the Novena to the Sacred Heart one day, the Jesus Prayer the day after, contemplation the next. And just like any pilgrim, there were days when the journey wore me out, when I wondered if I wanted to go on. Then I would reach my destination and feel renewed by a prayer practice that calmed my frazzled nerves and made my weary spirit soar.

My pilgrim heart struggled with some prayer methods while others felt as natural as breathing, but every prayer took me one step further down my spiritual path and left me hungry for more. My hope is that my book will do the same for every reader, from the most devoted Catholic to those who may have only a passing familiarity with our prayers and devotions.

Our faith is rich in ancient traditions that can be adapted to modern lives, giving deeper meaning and spiritual rhythm to even the most mundane moments of our days. When we lace our lives with prayer, whether it’s private or communal, recited from memory, spoken spontaneously, or perhaps not spoken at all, we experience transformation—in our hearts, in our homes, in our world.

Tune in to Archbishop Dolan’s show today

I’ll be talking about my newest book, “The Essential Guide to Catholic Prayer and Mass,” with Archbishop Timothy Dolan on his weekly radio show, A Conversation with the Archbishop, today, April 7, at 1 p.m. EST. Tune in to The Catholic Channel, Sirius 159/XM 117.

The show will be repeated on Saturday at 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. and again on Sunday at 6 p.m. and midnight ET.

This was my third time on the archbishop’s show, which manages to be funny, informative, uplifting and spiritually nourishing all at once. To give you a clue, I get to talk about everything from the Liturgy of the Hours and the Last Supper to the New York Yankees- Boston Red Sox rivalry. Where else can you find that on Catholic radio?

Of course, there’s lots more to the show than just my segment, so be sure to stay for the whole thing.

Review says my book could be a ‘textbook’ for Catholics. Cool.

I just came across this amazing review of my latest book, The Essential Guide to Catholic Prayer and the Mass.” I have to say, it’s my new favorite review. Check it out.

Blogger BobZ says this:

To title a book ”The Essential Guide to Catholic Prayer and the Mass” takes either courage or hubris. This new Alpha paperback by Mary DeTurris Poust lives up to its name.

Just over 300 pages and just $16.95, it could be a textbook for those on the journey to enter the Catholic Church, but even cradle Catholics will find it valuable when looking for a spiritual refresher course or a source of comfort in time of need.

What I liked best about this prayer guide was that it wasn’t dogmatic. It was authoritative without being authoritarian, often a lost trait in Catholic life in the 21st Century…

…She solidly explains why Catholic prayer is different, and goes on to take a closer look at basic Catholic prayers and prayer life. None of it is ideologically slanted; it’s not liberal, it’s not conservative, it’s just Catholic. And it’s extremely education oriented. Throughout there are pull-outs labeled “Definition,” “Prayer practice,” “Wisdom for the Journey,” and “Misc.” that add knowledge, flavor, and practical ideas to try, plus quotes from the famous and note-so-famous that bring a topic to life and make it real for anyone who sits in a church pew.

…Six full chapters explain the greatest Catholic prayer, the Mass. This portion of “The Essential Guide” is so well done, taking readers from the historical perspective through the gestures and postures, explaining the three basic parts of the Mass and the prayers in each, and helping readers understand the “why” behind the words and actions of the Eucharistic Liturgy.

This is an up-to-date primer on the Mass that explains what the coming changes to the liturgy will entail and why the church is making the changes.”

Read the full review HERE.

In case you missed my live cable interview…

I was on Everyday Faith Live! this morning on Telecare TV via Skype. (Isn’t technology amazing?) If you didn’t catch the show live, you can watch it here. My segment is about 14 minutes into the program. I talk about my newest book, The Essential Guide to Catholic Prayer and the Mass,” about prayer in general and about the new language of the Mass. Check it out if you have a few minutes.

It’s about St. Patrick, not green beer

In my childhood home, St. Patrick’s Day did not resemble the unfortunate drunken revelry we see on our TV screens every March 17. It wasn’t about drinking too much or dying all our food green (although my mother did bake one batch of green cupcakes for dessert every year). It was about celebrating our ancestry and our faith.

I’m half-Irish (and half-Italian), and St. Patrick’s Day was a time to be proud of our Irish heritage. Sure, we had the requisite “Kiss me, I’m Irish” buttons for fun, but we also had Irish music playing in the background and Irish soda bread baking in the oven. Our party was a dinner party, with corned beef and cabbage and boiled carrots and potatoes. Yes, an American-Irish meal, for sure, but that was our identity.

So on this Feast of St. Patrick — and growing up in the New York Archdiocese, this day was always raised to the level of true “feast” — I wanted to share a little history about the saint of the day. Here’s an excerpt from my new book, The Essential Guide to Catholic Prayer and the Mass, which includes a section on the saints, of course.

From page 136 of the Essential Guide:

Despite what’s often popularly assumed, St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, was not born on the Emerald Isle. He was born in 385 in an unknown location, possibly Wales. He was taken to Ireland and sold into slavery at 16. During six years of slavery, he went through a religious transformation. He escaped to Europe, studied the faith, and became a bishop and missionary, returning to Ireland to bring Christianity to the pagans. He eventually brought about the conversion of the entire Irish people.

Legend has it he used the shamrock to explain the Trinity. His feast day is March 17. He is the patron saint of Ireland and engineers and is invoked against snakes due to the legend that he drove all the snakes out of Ireland.

From St. Patrick’s Breastplate

Christ be with me, Christ before me,
Christ be after me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right hand, Christ at my left,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in the hearts of all who love me,
Christ in the mouth of friend and stranger,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Erin go bragh.