- A Celebrant Community
- A Roman Catholic Woman Priest
- An Evolving Involving Liturgy
- Challenged by the Word
- Responsive to the World
- When We Are
- Where We Are
- What to Expect
- Want a Reminder?
- History of the Community
- Resources on 2011 Mistranslation
Join us at our new home in St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church!
A Celebrant Community
Our community’s celebrants are the Body of Christ, every person who is present at that Eucharist that day. We are a celebrating circle, which places each person next to the next and the same distance from the altar in the center. The Body of Christ has no margins, and neither does this community. We delight in all of the experience that makes us diverse, and we rejoice in encountering and celebrating the richness of the Body of Christ.
Because the celebrant is the whole community, all of the spoken or embodied prayers are communal: petition, exhortation, encouragement, the shared homily, the canon, the words either recited or created surrounding the consecration, the offering and the accepting of Christ’s peace, the sharing of the Body and the Blood of Christ, the blessing, and the sending forth.
Although every Eucharistic liturgy will be familiar, no two Eucharists at Sophia in Trinity are ever the same, because no two celebrant communities are ever the same, because each of us is transformed each day of our lives and brings that new reality of self to the next Eucharist.
Your presence as a celebrant in this community Eucharistic liturgy will make a difference.
A Roman Catholic Woman Priest
The presider at Sophia in Trinity is a Roman Catholic Woman Priest, Victoria Rue, who is distinguished not by her gender but her gut commitment to a celebrant community. Although she presides at the Eucharistic liturgy, she invariably interacts as one among a community of peers. Through decades of servant leadership within her range of ministries, this is the model that reflects the reality of human society that she finds called and sustained by God as a community.
Left: Catherine Rue blessing her daughter during Victoria’s ordination to deacon in 2004.
Right: Good Times magazine, July 18, 2007.
Along with the semi-monthly Eucharistic liturgies at Sophia in Trinity, Victoria presides at monthly Eucharist with the Namaste Catholic Community in Orinda and at a Queer Eucharist with the Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco. She serves as a hospice spiritual-care counselor. To continue her exploration of the richness of other religious traditions, she lectures at San Jose State University in Comparative Religious Studies and in Women’s Studies. Another opportunity for exploring the human reality in community is through her writing and directing theatre, as well as teaching theatre workshops based on her book Acting Religious: Theatre as Pedagogy in Religious Studies (2005).
Victoria Rue’s Journey to Priesthood (In her own words)
“For many years, I have felt myself living and working as a priest in my theatre work, my teaching, and my church activism. That is, my ordination by Bishops Christine Mayr–Lumetsberger, Gisela Forster, and Dr. Patricia Fresen in 2005 formalizes and affirms the call to priesthood that I have been living for years.” Click to read more.
Roman Catholic Womenpriests
Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP) is an international movement within the Roman Catholic Church. Its primary mission is to prepare spiritually, ordain in Apostolic Succession, and support women from all states of life, who are theologically qualified, who are committed to an inclusive model of Church, and who are called by the Holy Spirit and their communities to minister within the Roman Catholic Church.
WELCOME BY VICTORIA RUE
An Evolving Involving Liturgy
The celebrant community of Sophia in Trinity comes together around the table of the Eucharist. Our lives connect, creating a space, a container to be filled for the nourishment of all. Called together by God into the unity and continuity of this circle, all energies here and now are channeled, surging like water, filling the spaces around us and between us, flowing in and out of the circle like breath.
Present to every other person in the circle, centered on the Eucharistic table, knowing feeling listening seeing intensifies. Together the circle community holds what is given, what is here, what still is to come. Nurtured by love, the Sophia circle serving the spirit of love becomes sustenance for each other, and by the Body and Blood of Christ all of us are nourished for the journey that continues.
Because the celebrant is the whole community, all of the spoken or embodied prayers in our Eucharistic liturgy are communal: petition, exhortation, encouragement, the shared homily, the canon, the words either recited or created surrounding the consecration, the offering and the accepting of Christ’s peace, the sharing of the Body and the Blood of Christ, the blessing, and the sending forth.
Each participant enters the circle of that Eucharistic liturgy with an immense richness of experiences, of concerns, of hopes –feelings and thoughts that no one but God could encompass. The day’s Scripture selections intersect each in a way unique to them. After the proclamation, the presider or another participant in the celebrant community offers a short reflection on the selections, intending to situate them within their own life. Then others in the circle share how these words encounter them today. Some comment on what has been said, others weave in a new thread, some speak, some are content that day to listen with their heart --and the breadth of the participants’ spirit is always a revelation.
INTRODUCTION TO SHARED HOMILY
Challenged by the Word
We respect and follow the Roman Catholic lectionary and the liturgical seasons, and we constantly seek to enrich those texts by employing resources from other religious traditions.
The Scripture is of such value to us that a member of our community translates the Hebrew and Greek from the original texts to create a “base text” for each upcoming liturgy. The language is then reworked by two other members of our community into a text appropriate for proclamation, respecting both the base text and the insights available from the 8-10 other English-language translations that they review as part of this process.
In the liturgy, the Scripture never is a “reading” to be spoken but εὐγγέλον or “good news” to be proclaimed.
PROCLAIMING SCRIPTURE: 1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-24
Responsive to the World
The immediate and long-range concerns of the world remain with each person when they enter the celebrating circle. Our daily activities and responsibilities and worries consistently find their way into the liturgy, because the Eucharist speaks both intellectually and emotionally to the depths.
The Eucharistic liturgy both celebrates and expands our relationship with God. Consecrating and consuming the Body and Blood of Christ –in whatever way or ways each person present experiences the richness of that act– is not the exception to our everyday life but an expression of its foundational truths. We are reminded that we exist only as part of a community, that we are called by God only as part of a community, and that to be a person is to share. The hope is that the celebration of these realities in our liturgy will extend the celebration of these realities in our life.
That is to say, Eucharist is not the exception but the guideline: God’s closeness to us every moment of our life.
PRESIDER'S INVITATION TO COME TO THE TABLE
SHARED CANON: HAIL MARY!
CONSECRATION CONSTRUCTED BY THE CELEBRANTS
SHARING THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST
When We Are
Upcoming Eucharistic Liturgy at Sophia in Trinity
Eucharistic liturgies at Sophia in Trinity occur at 10:00am on the 2nd and on the 4th Saturday of the month as follows:
November 8 and 22
December 13 and 27
Where We Are
Sophia in Trinity is in St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church, at 2097 Turk St, San Francisco, CA 94115 (at the corner of Turk and Lyon).
SF Muni bus #31 stops right in front of the door.
Parking on Turk Street and on Lyon Street on Saturday mornings is usually available.
If you decide to have lunch in the area afterward, you can select from several reasonable restaurants within four or five blocks of the church.
What to Expect
The liturgy at Sophia in Trinity integrates the familiar, the renewed, and the fresh. Many of the elements are from the Roman Rite, but we avoid the 2011 Latinizing mistranslation. We typically use the Vatican II 1972 translation and the 1998 rendition that was approved by an overwhelming majority of the bishops in each of the eleven English-language countries (and rejected by the Vatican; see “Resources on the 2011 Mistranslation” below, left). We follow the Church liturgical year. Many of the elements that seem new may have been used in other Roman Catholic communities for decades. When our own community creates prayers to reflect the realities and challenges of our lives today, each of us continues to remain aware of how our language and symbols could be improved better to express and deepen our belief. Novelty seldom is a criterion, but change never is an adversary.
The following ten brief video segments, several of which are used to exemplify other topics in this website, are from the Sophia in Trinity Eucharistic liturgy for the Third Weekend in Advent, December 10, 2011:
WELCOME BY VICTORIA RUE
INTRODUCTION TO THE HOMILY
INVITATION TO THE TABLE
SHARED CANON: HAIL MARY!
SHARING THE BODY OF CHRIST
Often on the fourth Saturday of the month, the Eucharistic liturgy continues into additional partaking, which concludes with the Circle Blessing by the celebrants and then the Sending Forth song.
Want a Reminder?
Five days before the next Eucharistic liturgy, our womanpriest sends an e-mail that includes our community’s base translation of the Scripture selections for that weekend, plus a few sentences of her initial reflection on these texts. If you wish to be included on the list for this e-mail, please enter your name and e-mail address into an email addressed to the Sophia Community .
History of the Community
September 28, 2008, Bishop Otis Charles and the community of Trinity Episcopal Church in San Francisco invited Dr. Victoria Rue, a Roman Catholic woman priest, to preach at their Sunday Eucharistic liturgy. After the Eucharist, Bishop Otis and the Vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church with the blessing of its community asked Victoria if she would like to begin a Roman Catholic community at Trinity. They invited her to celebrate the Eucharist on a regular basis in St. Mary’s Chapel, attached to Trinity's main church. Dr. Rue presided at the first Roman Catholic Eucharist at Trinity at 10:30 am on January 10, 2009, and this liturgy has continued bi-monthly since that day.
Thank you Bishop Otis and the Vestry!
Resources on 2011 Mistranslation
“Let the rites radiate a noble simplicity. They should be short, clear, and free from useless repetitions. They should be within the people’s powers of comprehension and normally should not require much explanation.” Sacrosanctum Concilium (The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 1963), section 34.
Have you ever wondered, Why is this new 2011 translation so odd and awkward and foreign –in short, so English-language-user unfriendly?
If you have come to suspect that this was done on purpose, you are right!
In fact, the bishops of the eleven countries in which English is the primary language (Australia, Canada, England and Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Scotland, South Africa, and United States) already had approved a new translation in 1998. The body that created the 1972 English translation (the International Commission on English in the Liturgy or ICEL) was authorized by the bishops in 1981 to make a new translation to improve on their 1972 effort, which was done somewhat hurriedly to fulfill the mandate of Vatican II for vernacular or national-language translations of the liturgy.
Begun formally in 1985, this multi-stage process of translation–which again involved continual consultation with the eleven English-language conferences of bishops, each of whom could request an explanation of why a certain word or phrase was used and could themselves suggest an alternative rendering– was completed when well over two-thirds of the bishops in each conference approved the translation in 1998.
What happened then? Nothing.
The Vatican did not approve the translation but for a year or so did not reject it formally either. In 1999, however, the Vatican Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments demanded the re-organization of ICEL. In 2001, this Vatican congregation rescinded the guidelines that were created after Vatican II, Comme le prevoit (which emphasizes the understandability of the translation), and substituted Liturgiam Authenticam, an exactly opposite set of guidelines (which emphasize word-for-word conformity with the original language). By reversing the original guidelines (called “functional equivalency” or “dynamic equivalency”), the Vatican rejected procedures that have been used by every translator of the Bible for the last 50 years and actually for several centuries before then.
At about the same time, the primacy of the eleven conferences of bishops in creating translations also was rescinded by the Vatican. Thus not only were the guidelines changed to make the language of the new translation as foreign as possible but also the bishops who know the most about the language of their people were removed effectively from a primary role in each step of the process to a position of either accepting the translation or rejecting it after it was created by the Vatican. As everyone knows, top-down decision making seldom produces a quality result.
In the articles listed below, examples of the inadequacy of this new Latinizing translation abound. But individual problems with the language should not be allowed to mask the fact that the changes in this translation follow several patterns. Three of these are especially offensive to a Church renewed by the bishops of the Second Vatican Council:
1) The Eucharistic liturgy is reduced in the new translation from the prayer of the entire community to the prayer of the ordained minister, a presentation that individuals in the community are invited to watch (“my sacrifice and yours,” “and with your spirit,” “I believe . . . I believe . . . I believe . . . ,” and so on).
2) The new translation fancies Latinized words and phrases (“incarnate,” “consubstantial,” “suffered death”), Latin sentence structure with the piling up of flowery adjectives (“oblation of your service,” “holy and venerable hands,” “serene and kindly countenance”), and the Latin style of stressing a word or phrase by repeating it (“through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault,” “this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim,” and so on). The foreign obscure tone of the language further separates the liturgy from the community who is attempting to pray it.
3) The new translation is perfectly content with language that consistently excludes well over half the congregation, which is outrageous for Roman Catholic women in English-speaking nations where they are at least appreciated in the public realm and is unconscionable in those English-speaking nations where their abilities are severely devalued (“for us men and for our salvation,” “pray, brethren,” God always “he” and “his”).
In short, this new translation is not the result of a random series of bad decisions by people who care more about the dead Latin language than about the vibrant English one; rather it is an attempt to rescind the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy by reverting as much as possible to a liturgy of 40 years ago that was the celebration of the ordained minister rather than of the assembled People of God, that was foreign and strange-sounding, and that excluded as much as possible the value of the women in the congregation.
When hierarchical totalitarianism dismisses the richness of the Spirit’s energy within the people of God, it produces—in this case as in so many others—debased and discordant results, like the 2011 mistranslation.
For further reading:
A side-by-side comparison of the 1973, 1998, and 2011 missal texts
“Lost in Translation: The Bishops, the Vatican, and the English Liturgy,” by John Wilkins
Article about a talk by Bishop Donald W. Trautman, former chair of the U.S. bishops’ liturgy committee, on the new translation
“Roman Missal Crisis: A Timeline,” by Rita Ferrone
Part 1: “Unlocking the door on the vernacular,” by Robert Mickens
Part 2: “How Rome moved the goalposts,” by Robert Mickens
Part 3: “A war of words,” by Robert Mickens
“It Doesn’t Sing: The Trouble with the New Roman Missal,” by Rita Ferrone
For those who like to be on the side of canon law: “The Canonical Doctrine of Reception,” by James E. Coriden
"An affront to the eyes of God,” by Roger Ebert
“Poorly worded: Can we have a Mass that speaks to real people?”, by William J. O’Malley, S.J.
“Cup or Chalice? The Large Implications of a Small Change,” by John R. Donahue
And if the above is not already too much information, find a comfortable chair and pull it up to the following complex and fascinating discussion-in-process assembled and monitored by Anthony Ruff, OSB: