American Catholics start using new Mass translation

(AP) - Catholics attending Mass in the U.S. this weekend will find some changes in the prayers they've been saying for decades.

The church is inaugurating a new English translation of the Roman Missal, the ritual text used for celebrating Mass.

It's one of the biggest changes in generations to the way English-speaking Catholics worship. The Vatican and the bishops' conferences have been negotiating for years over the changes, which are meant to more closely reflect the Latin Mass the church used for centuries.

The result is language that is sometimes more formal and intricate than worshippers -- and priests -- are used to.

And, predictably, the tinkering has generated some controversy. Some say the new wording is awkward and harder to understand. Others find it more poetic, and think it will be worth the trouble to learn.

Either way, new words will be heard from pews and pulpits across the country starting this afternoon, when Masses for the first Sunday of Advent get under way.