Ronald Knox Prize for a Model English Translation of the Mass

Thee Wethersfield Institute is pleased to announce the winners of the Ronald Knox Prize, a competition it sponsored for fine translations of elements of the Mass, namely, the prayers of the first ten weeks of the liturgical year and Canons II and III. The First Prize, in the amount of $10,000, was awarded to Dr. Lauren Pristas.

We thought this a sufficient sample to indicate what rich writing talent exists among many who love the Mass and share the high purposes of shared liturgical prayer. We attempted and did reach many of those who in their responses testify to what is possible by way of sound, felicitous, exact, pleasing, and indeed splendid English texts of the Mass.

We thought a fair number of experienced writers would be interested. To our delight, we received more than five hundred inquiries for the rules and texts, and of these, 153 sent entries, the largest number of them showing arresting talent and a deep empathy for the meaning and purposes of the prayers.

For judges, we enlisted three generous and gifted people: experienced editor Priscilla Buckley, Msgr. Peter Elliott, and Professor Robert Young. Numbered entries were submitted to the judges in order to conceal the contestants’ identities.

It was not and is not the mind of the Wethersfield Institute or of the authors to offer these translations to the Church for adoption as approved texts. The prize-winning texts are certification that the English-speaking nations are incredibly rich in talent that stands ready and willing, indeed enthusiastic, to assist the Church in rewarding our people with the happiest literary union of ear, intellect, and spirit in liturgical prayer.

For those who are pleased to have statistics: 80 percent of the entries came from men; 20 percent from women; 25 percent were clerics; 3 percent women religious. They came from twelve countries. Besides the United States, entries came from Australia, Ireland, England, the Philippines, the West Indies, Canada, Kenya, Poland, Scotland, India, and Japan.

The First Prize winner of $10,000 is Dr. Lauren Pristas. Dr. Pristas is an assistant professor in the Religious Studies Department of Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas. She has degrees in systematic theology and English, a happy combination for our contest. (She also has a degree in mathematics, the better to count the prize.)

The Second Prize of $3,000 goes to Rev. Winthrop Brainerd and his associates. Rev. Brainerd is the parochial vicar for St. Patrick’s Church in Washington, D.C. He received his doctorate in theology from Oxford University.

The judges also cited for uncommon excellence the translations of Mr. Christopher Akehurst; coauthors the Rev. Steven Otellini and Rev. George Rutler; and the Rev. Peter Stravinskas.

Nota Bene: We thought it right not to inhibit our translators in the matter of “pro multis” in the words of consecration. It is variously translated today, and all are within the generous meaning of “multis,” e.g., all, many, the many, the multitude. Catholics know that Christ died for all mankind, every human being. Calvin had another thought. Whether or not everyone attending Mass discerns the universal salvific will of Christ in all those phrases (many do) is a question to be resolved outside our literary venture here.

First Place: Dr. Lauren Pristas

Week I

Opening Prayer

We ask you, Lord, to look with heavenly kindness upon the prayers of the people who humbly implore you, that they may both see those things which must be done, and gain the strength to do them. We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer over the Gifts

Lord, we ask that the gifts of your people may be pleasing to you. For through them, they offer you the sacred mystery and obtain those things for which they piously pray. Through Christ. . . .

Prayer after Communion

Humbly we ask you, almighty God, that those whom you renew with your sacraments may serve you worthily with pleasing conduct. Through Christ. . . .

Week II

Opening Prayer

Almighty, everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth. Mercifully hear the prayers of your people and grant your peace in our days. We ask this. . . .

Prayer over the Gifts

Grant, we beseech you, Lord, that we may worthily approach these mysteries. For whenever the memorial of this sacrifice is celebrated, the work of our redemption is accomplished. Through Christ. . . .

Prayer after Communion

Lord, pour into us the Spirit of your charity, so that you may unite in godliness those whom you have nourished with one heavenly bread. Through Christ. . . .

Week III

Opening Prayer

Almighty, everlasting God, direct our actions according to your good pleasure, so that, in the name of your beloved Son, we may be able to abound in good works. We ask this. . . .

Prayer over the Gifts

Lord, receive our gifts with favor. By making them holy, grant, we beseech you, that they will advance us to salvation. Through Christ. . . .

Prayer after Communion

Grant, we beseech you, almighty God, that we who are brought to life through your grace may always glory in your gift. Through Christ. . . .

Week IV

Opening Prayer

Lord, our God, grant that we may worship you with our whole mind and love all human beings with rightly-ordered affection. We ask this. . . .

Prayer over the Gifts

We bring the gifts of our service to your altar, Lord. Having graciously received them, may you make them the sacrament of our redemption. Through Christ. . . .

Prayer after Communion

Nourished by the gift of our redemption, we ask, Lord, that through this help of everlasting salvation, true faith may always prevail. Through Christ. . . .

Week V

Opening Prayer

Lord, we beseech you, preserve your family in your constant goodness, so that, as it relies on the sole hope of your heavenly grace, it may always be safeguarded by your protection. We ask this. . . .

Prayer over the Gifts

Lord, our God, you created these fruits of the earth chiefly as a support to our frailty. Grant, we beseech you, that they may also become for us the sacrament of everlasting life. Through Christ. . . .

Prayer after Communion

God, you have willed us to be sharers of one bread and one cup. Grant us, we beseech you, so to live that, having been made one in Christ, we may bear fruit in joy for the salvation of the world.

Week VI

Opening Prayer

God, you promise to remain in upright and sincere hearts. By your grace, give us each the kind of heart in which you deign to dwell. We ask this. . . .

Prayer over the Gifts

Lord, we beseech you, may this offering cleanse and renew us, and may it become a source of eternal reward for those who do your will. Through Christ. . . .

Prayer after Communion

Nourished with heavenly delights, Lord, we ask that we may always hunger for this food through which we truly live. Through Christ. . . .

Week VII

Opening Prayer

Grant, we beseech you, almighty God, that, ever-occupied with your truth we may carry out, both in word and in deed, those things which are pleasing to you. We ask this. . . .

Prayer over the Gifts

Obediently celebrating your mysteries, Lord, we humbly ask that the gifts which we offer to the honor of your majesty may advance us toward salvation. Through Christ. . .

Prayer after Communion

Grant, we beseech you, almighty God, that we may obtain the effect of that salvation, the pledge of which we have received through these mysteries. Through Christ. . . .

Week VIII

Opening Prayer

Grant, we beseech you, Lord, that we may kJ direct the course of the world in accord with your plan of peace, and that your church may rejoice in untroubled devotion. We ask this. . . .

Prayer over the Gifts

God, you provide the gifts which must be offered to your name and then attribute our offerings to the devotion of our service. We ask your mercy, that what you give us as the source of our merit, may, through your bounty, advance us to its reward. Through Christ. . . .

Prayer after Communion

Filled with this saving gift, Lord, we beg your mercy. Through this same sacrament by which you nourish us in this life, kindly make us sharers of life everlasting. Through Christ. . . .

Week IX

Opening Prayer

God, whose providence does not err in its decrees, we humbly beseech you, remove from us all that is harmful, and grant us all that will be for our good. We ask this. . . .

Prayer over the Gifts

Trusting in your goodness, Lord, we hasten with gifts to your holy altar, so that, purified by your grace, we may serve the same mysteries by which we are cleansed. Through Christ. . . .

Prayer after Communion

You feed us with the Body and the Blood of your Son. We beseech you, Lord, guide us by your Spirit, so that confessing you, not just in word and in speech, but in deed and in truth, we may be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Through Christ. . . .

Week X

Opening Prayer

God, from whom all good things come, in our lowliness, we ask you to inspire us, so that we may think those things that are right, and direct us, so that we may do them. We ask this. . . .

Prayer over the Gifts

We ask you, Lord, to look graciously upon our service, so that the gift which we offer may please you, and strengthen us in charity. Through Christ. . . .

Prayer after Communion

Lord, may your healing work gently liberate us from our perverse inclinations, and lead us to virtuous deeds. Through Christ. . .

Eucharistic Prayer II

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with your spirit.

V. Lift up your hearts.

R. We have them lifted up to the Lord.

V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

R. It is fitting and just.

It is fitting and just, right and salutary, for us always and everywhere to give you thanks, holy Father, through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, your Word through whom you made all things.

You sent to us as Savior and Redeemer, him who became flesh by the Holy Spirit and was born of the Virgin Mary.

Fulfilling your will and acquiring for you a holy people, he stretched out his hands as he suffered that he might destroy death and reveal the resurrection.

And, therefore, with the angels and all the saints we proclaim your glory, saying with one voice:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts.

Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

Truly, Lord, you are holy, the fountain of all holiness. We beseech you, therefore, sanctify these gifts by an outpouring of your Spirit so that they may become for us the Body and the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When, of his own will, he was delivered up to his Passion, he took bread, and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:

TAKE AND EAT OF THIS ALL OF YOU:

FOR THIS IS MY BODY,

WHICH WILL BE DELIVERED UP FOR YOU.

In like manner, after he had eaten, taking the cup, and again giving thanks, he gave it to his disciples, saying:

TAKE AND DRINK FROM THIS ALL OF YOU:

FOR THIS IS THE CUP OF MY BLOOD,

OF THE NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT,

WHICH WILL BE POURED OUT FOR YOU AND FOR ALL

UNTO THE REMISSION OF SINS.

DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.

The mystery of faith:

We proclaim your death, Lord, and confess your resurrection, until you come.

Therefore, remembering his death and resurrection, we offer to you, Lord, the bread of life and the cup of salvation, giving thanks that you have considered us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you.

And humbly we beseech you that we, who partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, may be gathered into unity by the Holy Spirit.

Lord, remember your Church scattered throughout the whole world, so that you may perfect it in charity in union with our Pope, N., our Bishop, N., and all the clergy.

(In Masses for the dead, this can be said: Remember your servant N., whom you have called to yourself from this world. Grant that he/she who was buried in likeness to the death of your Son, may become like him also in his resurrection.)

In your mercy, remember also our brothers and sisters who sleep in the hope of resurrection, and all the dead, and admit them to the light of your presence. Have mercy, we beseech you, on us all, so that, with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, the blessed apostles, and all the saints who have pleased you from the beginning of time, we may be sharers of eternal life, and may praise and glorify you through your Son, Jesus Christ.

Through him, with him, and in him in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory are yours, God, the Father almighty, forever and ever, Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer III

Truly you are holy, Lord, and all your creatures praise you, because through your Son, our

Lord, Jesus Christ, by the efficacious power of the Holy Spirit, you give life and sanctify all things, and do not cease to gather a people to yourself, so that from the rising of the sun even to its setting, a pure offering may be made to your name.

Therefore, we humbly beseech you, Lord, that you deign, with the same Spirit, to sanctify these gifts, which we have brought to be consecrated to you, so that they may become the Body and Blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, by whose command we celebrate these mysteries.

For he himself, on the night in which he was delivered up, took bread, and giving thanks to you, he blessed, broke, and gave it to his disciples, saying,

TAKE AND EAT OF THIS ALL OF YOU:

FOR THIS IS MY BODY WHICH WILL BE DELIVERED UP FOR YOU.

In like manner, after he had eaten, taking the cup, and giving thanks to you, he blessed it and gave it to his disciples, saying:

TAKE AND DRINK FROM THIS ALL OF YOU:

FOR THIS IS THE CUP OF MY BLOOD,

OF THE NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT,

WHICH WILL BE POURED OUT FOR YOU AND FOR ALL

UNTO THE REMISSION OF SINS.

DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.

The mystery of faith:

We proclaim your death, Lord, and confess your resurrection, until you come.

Remembering, therefore, Lord, the same saving passion of your Son, and also his glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven, and, even more, awaiting his second coming, returning thanks, we offer to you this living and holy sacrifice.

Look, we beseech you, on the offering of your church, and recognizing the Victim by whose sacrifice you willed us to be reconciled, grant that we who are restored to you through the Body and Blood of your Son, having been filled with his Holy Spirit, may be found one body and one spirit in Christ.

May he himself perfect us as an everlasting gift to you, so that with your chosen ones we may be able to attain the inheritance, in the first place with the most blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, with your blessed apostles and glorious martyrs, and all the saints, by whose intercession in your presence we hope always to be helped.

We beseech you, Lord, may this sacrifice of our reconciliation advance the peace and salvation of the whole world. Deign to strengthen your church, a pilgrim on earth, in faith and in charity in communion with your servant our Pope N., and our Bishop N., the college of bishops and all clergy, and all the people whom you have purchased. Graciously attend to the prayers of this family, which you have willed to stand before you.

Compassionate Father, mercifully join to yourself all your sons and daughters who are scattered throughout the whole world. Kindly admit to your kingdom, where we hope to live, our departed brothers and sisters and all who, pleasing you, have passed from this world, so that together we may be filled with your glory forever, through Christ our Lord, through whom you grant all good things to the world.

Through him, with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory are yours, God, the Father almighty, forever and ever, Amen.

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