By Cian Molloy - 03 December, 2017
This morning, the First Sunday of Advent 2017, a new Irish language translation of the Mass will be celebrated for the first time by Bishop Brendan Kelly of Achonry, with the celebration being simultaneously broadcast on television and radio by RTÉ at 11am.
The new translation of the Mass, An Leabhar Aifrinn Rómhánach, replaces the old, out-of-print An Leabhar Aifrinn. The differences between the two Irish language versions are similar to some of the differences that were evident when the English language edition of the Missal was revised in 2011. Just as in English, ‘And also with you’, is replaced with ‘And with your spirit’; in Irish, the same change has been made, ‘Agus leat féin’, is replaced with ‘Agus le do spiorad féin‘.
Work on preparing this Irish language translation began 14 years ago, with a committee, An Coiste Comhairleach um an Liotúirge i nGaeilge, originally chaired by the late Msgr Pádraig ó Fiannachta, who was largely responsible for An Bíobla Naofa, the Church’s approved Irish language translation of the bible. The team also included linguists, theologians and native Irish speakers, with Prof Cathal Ó Háinle providing much of the primary translations that formed the basis of discussion, analysis and refinement. Between 2011 and 2014, the work was reviewed by another committee, An Coiste Sapienti, chaired by Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam.
As well as containing all the rubrics and prayers for the celebration of the Eucharist in Irish, An Leabhar Aifrinn Rómhánach contains Irish language translations of the music in the Missale Romanum of 2002 and 2008 and the English language Roman Missal of 2011. This music was transcribed by Dr Ite O’Donovan, who in some instances composed new music for this Irish-language edition.
Veritas have published 800 copies of the book, of which 685 have been sold to date. It is likely that the book will soon sell out, given the total number of parishes in Ireland. Last year, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said, “With the ever increasing numbers of Gaelscoileanna in the diocese it would be good if each parish had a copy.”
Whether or not you are a Gaeilgeoir, this morning’s celebration was set to be a musical treat in any language with liturgical music provided by Irish composers including Seán Ó Riada, Liam Lawton, Pat Ahern, Tomás Ó Canainn, Ronan McDonagh, Moira Bergin and Máire Ní Dhuibhir.
The congregation includes people for whom Mass in Irish is a part of their everyday worship. Not only will representatives of the National Centre for Liturgy be present, but parishioners from Swords in Dublin and Dunvoyne in Meath where Mass is celebrated every Sunday in Irish.
“This publication is hugely significant not only for the Church in Ireland, but for all who care for our culture and heritage, and particularly, our Irish language,” said Bishop Kelly. “It is my hope that this new edition of An Leabhar Aifrinn Rómhánach will serve those who celebrate the liturgy in Irish, and that it may help to strengthen our Irish language as a living language of prayer both in the Gaeltacht and across Ireland. This new edition of An Leabhar Aifrinn Rómhánach is a testament to what can be achieved through continuous collaboration.”