WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On Sunday, we'll celebrate Mass for the fourth week using the new translation. There was a lot of conjecture ahead of time and a lot of response after the historic launch of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal on November 27, 2011.

In talking with one priest in my diocese told me, "I am a big fan of the new translation and had been a champion of it for many months. But the first Sunday was probably the worst day of my priesthood!"

"I felt like a newly ordained priest celebrating my first Mass. Everything seemed new and foreign. I was glad to just get through it. Now, after many daily Masses and a few more Sundays, I am getting confortable with it.

My guess is that this may be a norm for most clergy.

Recently, I was able to participate in a roundtable discussion about the new translation with four experts in liturgy who each bring a unique and insightful perspective to the subject.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington D.C., is known nationally for his catechetical teaching ministry and dedication to Catholic education.  He is the co-author with Mike Aquilina of the book, "The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition" published by Doubleday.

Father Daniel Barron, a priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, is the director of spiritual formation at John Paul the Great Catholic University in San Diego California and editor of "MagnifiKid" the weekly worship aid for children published by "Magnificat." 

Dr. Edward Sri is Chancellor and Professor of Theology and Scripture at the Augustine Institute in Denver, Colorado and founding leader, with Curtis Martin, of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). He is the author of the bestselling book, "A Biblical Walk Through the Mass" published by Ascension Press.

Mr. Matt Maher is a Grammy nominated and Dove Gospel Music association award-winning musician who has been writing music for the Church for more than a decade.  His composition for the Litany of the Saints was part of the Papal vigil at the 2002 World Youth Day in Toronto Canada.

During the discussion a lot of time was focused on the issues of adjustment - both by clergy and the laity. While the new translation has been viewed by some as a serious distraction from the Mass or - to those more upset, an major upheaval of the norm - this introductory time can also be viewed as an opportunity to re-visit a mystery with which we've all grown too familiar. For a lot Catholics, going to Mass may have been done on automatic pilot.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl explained, "But really, what this translation provides us is a time to reflect on what actually is happening on the Altar.  What great mystery is unfolding on the Altar as the priests celebrate.

"And I think sometimes we can be maybe just so familiar or so used to, not that we take it for granted but we are just so comfortable with it that it helps to step back and say what is actually happening."

Having a similar experience with the new translation, Fr. Barron said, "For myself, I have been a Priest for 15 years; I find myself drawn more into prayer and contemplation in the midst of the Liturgy than ever before.  I guess as a young priest you are focused on doing it right.  But now, in this new edition of the Missal, the 'wanting to do it right' has also just increased my own awareness and my own intentionality in praying the Mass."

Matt Maher agreed, stating that the new liturgy had a real impact on him.

"I could not shake the very first statement of the presider saying, you know, 'The Lord be with you' and we said, 'And with your spirit.'  I could not shake it.  In fact, you know, an hour or so later when I walked out of Mass, my heart was still kind of burning.

"We live a very tumultuous time of change - societal change, cultural change.  In those times, the church always has the wisdom to reaffirm what is true and important.  And to simply engage in the language of the soul at a time where body and soul have been separated so much I think is a beautiful statement.

"So, for me it is those kinds of subtle changes that I look forward to seeing continue to kind of manifest themselves in the language of the praying church."

For Fr. Barron, one particular aspect of this introduction involved the effect it had on young people.

"At the University, I have been amazed that 18- and 19-year-old students are talking to one another about the Liturgy.  They are asking the question, 'What do you think of the new addition of the Missal?'  And I do not know what brilliant youth minister in the world could actually get young people talking about the Mass the way the Bishops and our Holy Father have invited us into this moment, and it is working."

The new translation has definitely re-focused the person in the pew with the

Eucharistic mystery, even beyond the parts that we say. We have heard about all the changes for many months, but something happens when we actually participate. Dr. Sri used an example to support this idea.

"It reminds me of something I do each year," he stated. "I take a group of Pilgrims to Rome.  And in anticipation of our trip to Rome, I will give the Pilgrims some readings about St. Peter's Basilica, I will give them some pictures to look at about St. Peter's Basilica, they will learn about the archeological history behind St. Peter's Basilica so they are studying it in the abstract.

"But all of that is nothing like actually walking into St. Peter's Basilica for the first time.  That is my favorite thing to do is to watch the Pilgrims walk into this beautiful church and they are stunned, they are taken over by the beauty of this Basilica as they experience it for the first time.

"And then they begin asking many questions.  Now that they're in it they say, 'Oh what does this mean?' 'What does it say up there, Dr. Sri?' 'What's - who's this saint over here?'

"And I think that's the experience many lay Catholics are going to be having here in the next several weeks and months as we experience the new translation for the first time."

In thinking of the young, one concern raised by many involved the impact the new Mass would have on younger children. As editor of "Magnifikid," Fr. Barron was able to add some interesting insight.

"As far as children go, we know that they are the least resistant to change among us.  And they are the quickest to learn new things.  So, for children, I do not really expect there to be much of an issue.

"I'm sure they are going to get these responses down in a matter of weeks and with joy. It is an occasion to teach them and they are hungry to understand their traditions that are so much larger than them and their family and their parish...

"To realize that they are united with Christians throughout the entire world, praying the same prayers in words that are very similar in each language from coast to coast and from the rising of the sun to its setting."

All of the presenters concurred that the Third Edition of the Roman Missal will have a great impact on the new evangelization - which not only involves bringing people into the Church but bringing Catholic to a deeper and more profound embrace of the faith.

"And when we talk about the new evangelization going on in the church," Cardinal Wuerl explained, "the introduction of this new translation is tailor-made to helping people get a deeper grasp of their faith so that confident in that faith, they begin to share it."

As Dr. Sri stated, "This is a great opportunity to teach not just about the new translation but about all of the beautiful prayers, from the opening sign of the cross to the closing thanks be to God, to the Gloria, to the Holy, Holy what does - what are we really saying and doing in the liturgy?

"What's the meaning, the significance of all these beautiful prayers?  That's certainly something that I do in the Biblical Walk Through the Mass book walking through all the prayers in light of the Biblical background.

"So we should know what we should be thinking about, praying about in these moments of the Mass.  And I also agree with that Cardinal Wuerl had said about this time of the new evangelization, which is really being emphasized by our Holy Father."

"I'm excited about the generations to come," Matt Maher said. "I think, echoing what everyone has said as part of this panel, the re-evangelization primarily of the faithful of the church that, you know, there is this treasure in the Mass, particularly just in the language of it that is kind of been forgotten."

Several months from now the spotlight will no longer be on this subject. "And with your spirit" will become our normal response, "consubstantial" along with other terms will sound familiar.

Fortunately for the Church, the Third Edition of the Missal does not come with a sign attached, "For a Limited Time Only." This is not a trial liturgy, but the expression of worship from this point on for Catholics in the English-speaking world.

These are not just "new words" that have been inserted. Our language will now join those those of other tongues around the globe in sharing one liturgy and one theology expressed in the Mass.