26 dec 2012
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As he passed by, Jesus saw a man blind from his birth. His disciples
asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he
was born blind?" Jesus replied, "It was not that this man
sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made
manifest in him." John 9: 1-3.
Amy June Rowley
was the subject of a
US Supreme Court
decision in 1982.
Dominican Missionaries for the Deaf
Deaf Today, 2 Jan 03
CathNews, 4 Sep 06
McNicholas, “Planning children’s liturgies for the Deaf”
Hollis, “What you can learn from Deaf worshippers”
Liturgy 15/8 (November 1988) 16-19
Fr. Depcik's Prayer
for Renewal of the Deaf Catholic Church
Resources on Religious Sign Translation
These pages are a general resource for the project to develop an
accurate American Sign Language translation of the Mass directly from the Latin editio typica. They do not
necessarily represent the positions or opinions of the National Catholic Office
for the Deaf or any person(s) associated therewith.
1. NCOD Religious Sign Committee Members
(as of February 2007)
Office for the Deaf (NCOD)
Street, Landover Hills, MD 20784-2236
301-577-1684; TTY/VP: 301-577-4184
Mather, Deaf, Chair
Professor of Linguistics
Patrick Graybill, Deaf
Professor (ret.) Cultural and Creative Studies
RIT-NTID, Rochester NY
University of Wisconsin
Fr. Thomas Margevicius, Hearing
Instructor, Liturgical Theology
Paul Seminary, St.
Members Added in 2008
Michael Depcik, OSFS
Rev. Joseph Pesola
Archdiocese of Indianapolis IN
Edward Peters, Hearing
Cardinal Szoka Chair
Sacred Heart Major Seminary,
Landover Hills MD
Amy June Rowley, Deaf
University of Wisconsin,
Maria, Washington, D.C.
Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota
Matthias Parish, Milwaukee, WI
Matthias Parish, Milwaukee, WI
Bethany Retreat Center, Milwaukee, WI
Center, Racine, WI
Center, Racine, WI
Redemptorist Center, Oconomowoc, WI
Center, Milwaukee, WI
Center, Racine, WI
February 23-25, 2007
September 14-16, 2007
September 18-20, 2009
2. Canon law governing liturgical translations and publications
The current Code of Canon Law (Codex Iuris
Canonici) is the basic administrative-governing
document of the Roman Catholic Church. It went into effect in 1983, replacing the
Code of Canon Law that had been in force since 1917.
1983 CIC 826. § 1. The prescripts of can. 838 are to
be observed concerning liturgical books. § 2. To reprint liturgical books,
their translations into the vernacular, or their parts, an attestation of the
ordinary of the place where they are published must establish their agreement
with the approved edition. § 3. Books of prayers for the public
or private use of the faithful are not to be published without the permission of
the local ordinary.
1983 CIC 838. § 1. The direction of the sacred
liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church which resides in the
Apostolic See and, according to the norm of law, the diocesan bishop. § 2. It is for the Apostolic See to order
the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish liturgical books and review
their translations in vernacular languages, and exercise vigilance that
liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere. § 3. It pertains to the conferences of
bishops to prepare and publish, after prior review of the Holy See, translations
of liturgical books in vernacular languages, adapted appropriately within the
limits defined in the liturgical books themselves. § 4. Within the limits of his competence, it pertains to the diocesan bishop in
the Church entrusted to him to issue liturgical norms which bind everyone.
1983 CIC 928. The Eucharistic celebration is to be
carried out in the Latin language or in another language provided that the
liturgical texts have been legitimately approved.
use at Mass (1917 CIC 819)
A) The following is
a private letter from the Consilium for the Implementation of the
Constitution on the Liturgy addressed to Abp. John F. Dearden of Detroit,
Chairman of the U. S. Bishops’ Commission on the Liturgical Apostolate,
issued 10 December 1965.
On July 8 this year, the question of Mass for congregations of deaf persons was
submitted to the Consilium by the American Bishops’ Commission on the Liturgical
In November suggestions concerning the question were approved by the Bishops of
the Consilium and the matter was put before the Holy Father on December 2. The
question revolved around the use of sign language. It was asked whether it was
fitting: (1) that the readings should be communicated to the people by means of
signs; and (2) that the deaf people should reply, in those parts pertaining to
the congregation, by means of signs.
It was asked in general whether sign language could be used in all those parts
of the Mass that were in the vernacular, and more specifically: (a)
whether texts proffered by the celebrant could be at the same time spoken and
signified with his hands; and (b) if in those texts that were said
together by the celebrant and by the people, the people could follow the sign
language of the celebrant, they themselves also using sign language.
With great willingness and kindness, the Holy Father has given his full approval
to these suggestions, and said moreover that sign language could be used with
and by deaf people through the Liturgy, whenever it was judged to be pastorally
Sources: Canon Law Digest VI: 552-553;
The Jurist 26 (1966) 388-389; Bishops' Commission on the Liturgical
Apostolate, Newsletter 2:4 (April 1966) 30-31; International Commission
on English in the Liturgy, Documents on the Liturgy 1963-1979 (DOL) n.
de l'Epée was offering Mass in French sign language not
later than May 1777 in the Church of St. Roch in Paris. Besides his regular deaf student congregation,
apparently included several dignitaries such as Emperor Joseph II and Marie-Antoinette. See Harlan Lane,
When the Mind Hears: A History of the
Deaf (Random House, 1984) at 49.
Deacon Patrick Graybill
Which Creed at Mass:
The substitution of the Apostles Creed for the Nicene Creed at Masses with Deaf
congregations was requested by the US bishops in November 1966 and approved by
the Holy See in January/February 1967. See Bishops' Commission on the Liturgical
Apostolate, Newsletter 2:11 (November 1966) 58-59 and Newsletter
3:3 (March 1967) 73, respectively. This approval eliminated the awkwardness of
having the priest recite the Nicene Creed while a deaf congregation
signed the shorter Apostles Creed. Comment: This ruling has probably been
superseded by later liturgical norms governing selection of the Creed, but
the matter could be researched.
interesting observation by Dr. Mohrmann of the
University of Nijmegen: “Sacral languages are found in all periods and among all
peoples. They are the result of profoundly human aspirations and ideas
concerning the relationship with the divine. There is a universal tendency
toward linguistic differentiation in intercourse with divinity. It is as though
language were sanctified by this contact. In the sacral acts of many peoples,
there is a noticeable bent to employ a linguistic form of expression that
accentuates the solemn, extraordinary character of the sacred act. There is an
obvious desire to achieve a departure from the everyday, a differentiation from
the common language. This is often accomplished by using archaic forms and
sometimes foreign languages…. Sometimes a sacral mode of expression is obtained
by the deliberate stylization of the native language…. One can see in all such
sacral languages the desire to leave behind the forms of everyday expression
when seeking contact with the godhead. This practice also reveals the
consciousness that in prayer one enters another world.” Christine Mohrmann,
“Latin in the Church”, New Catholic Encyclopedia 8 (1967) 412-417, at 414.
Materials related to the Creed
A) In honoring the
1900th anniversary of the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope Paul
VI celebrated a solemn liturgy and issued an apostolic letter motu proprio
Solemni hac liturgia (30 June 1968), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 60 (1968)
433-455, in which he set forth a version of the Creed that combined dogmatic
assertions with brief commentary-explanations. Known in English as “The
Credo of the People of God”, some of the points Pope Paul makes regarding
the Trinity might help us in our translation work. Below are Credo paragraphs
8-13 (citations omitted).
Profession of Faith
8. We believe in one only God, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit, creator of things visible such as this world in which our transient life
passes, of things invisible such as the pure spirits which are also called
angels, and creator in each man of his spiritual and immortal soul.
9. We believe that this only God is absolutely one in
His infinitely holy essence as also in all His perfections, in His omnipotence,
His infinite knowledge, His providence, His will and His love. He is He who is,
as He revealed to Moses; and He is love, as the apostle John teaches us: so that
these two names, being and love, express ineffably the same divine reality of
Him who has wished to make Himself known to us, and who, "dwelling in light
inaccessible," is in Himself above every name, above every thing and above every
created intellect. God alone can give us right and full knowledge of this
reality by revealing Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in whose eternal
life we are by grace called to share, here below in the obscurity of faith and
after death in eternal light. The mutual bonds which eternally constitute the
Three Persons, who are each one and the same divine being, are the blessed
inmost life of God thrice holy, infinitely beyond all that we can conceive in
human measure. We give thanks, however, to the divine goodness that very many
believers can testify with us before men to the unity of God, even though they
know not the mystery of the most holy Trinity.
10. We believe then in the Father who eternally
begets the Son; in the Son, the Word of God, who is eternally begotten; in the
Holy Spirit, the uncreated Person who proceeds from the Father and the Son as
their eternal love. Thus in the Three Divine Persons, coaeternae sibi et
coaequales, the life and beatitude of God perfectly one superabound and are
consummated in the supreme excellence and glory proper to uncreated being, and
always "there should be venerated unity in the Trinity and Trinity in the
11. We believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is
the Son of God. He is the Eternal Word, born of the Father before time began,
and one in substance with the Father, homoousios to Patri, and through
Him all things were made. He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary by the power of
the Holy Spirit, and was made man: equal therefore to the Father according to
His divinity, and inferior to the Father according to His humanity; and Himself
one, not by some impossible confusion of His natures, but by the unity of His
12. He dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.
He proclaimed and established the Kingdom of God and made us know in Himself the
Father. He gave us His new commandment to love one another as He loved us. He
taught us the way of the beatitudes of the Gospel: poverty in spirit, meekness,
suffering borne with patience, thirst after justice, mercy, purity of heart,
will for peace, persecution suffered for justice sake. Under Pontius Pilate He
suffered—the Lamb of God bearing on Himself the sins of the world, and He died
for us on the cross, saving us by His redeeming blood. He was buried, and, of
His own power, rose on the third day, raising us by His resurrection to that
sharing in the divine life which is the life of grace. He ascended to heaven,
and He will come again, this time in glory, to judge the living and the dead:
each according to his merits—those who have responded to the love and piety of
God going to eternal life, those who have refused them to the end going to the
fire that is not extinguished. And His Kingdom will have no end.
The Holy Spirit
13. We believe in the Holy Spirit, who is Lord
and Giver of life, who is adored and glorified together with the Father and the
Son. He spoke to us by the prophets; He was sent by Christ after His
resurrection and His ascension to the Father; He illuminates, vivifies, protects
and guides the Church; He purifies the Church's members if they do not shun His
grace. His action, which penetrates to the inmost of the soul, enables man to
respond to the call of Jesus: Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.
Vatican Council (1869-1870) issued a "Dogmatic Constitution on the
Catholic Faith" (Session
3, 24 April 1870), one section of which addresses some points that came up
in our discussion. The Constitution stated: "The holy, Catholic, apostolic Roman
Church believes and professes that there is one true and living God, the Creator
and Lord of heaven and earth. He is almighty, eternal, beyond measure,
incomprehensible, and infinite in intellect, will and in every perfection. Since
he is one unique spiritual substance, entirely simple and unchangeable, he must
be declared really and essentially distinct from the world, perfectly happy in
himself and by his very nature, and inexpressibly exalted over all things that
exist or can be conceived other than himself." There are some concise and
reliable explanations of what these technical terms mean in
John Hardon, The Catholic Catechism
(Doubleday, 1975) 55-58. For more detail, see, e.g., G. Smith, ed.,
The Teaching of the Catholic Church,
in 2 vols., (Macmillan, 1955), I: 79-142, or
Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 26-1065.
Comparison of Apostles Creed
(e.g., Rosary) & Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed
Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem,
Creatorem caeli et terrae.
Et in Iesum Christum, Filium
Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum,
qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto,
natus ex Maria Virgine,
passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus,
et sepultus, descendit ad ínferos,
tertia die resurrexit a mortuis,
ascendit ad caelos,
sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis,
inde venturus est iudicare
vivos et mortuos.
Credo in Spiritum Sanctum,
sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam,
vitam aeternam. Amen.
Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipoténtem,
factórem cæli et terræ,
visibílium ómnium et invisibílium.
Et in unum Dóminum Iesum Christum, Fílium
Et ex Patre natum ante ómnia sæcula. Deum de
Deo, lumen de lúmine, Deum verum de Deo vero. Génitum, non factum,
consubstantiálem Patri: per quem ómnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos hómines
et propter nostram salútem descéndit de cælis
et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto
ex María Vírgine: Et homo factus est.
Crucifíxus étiam pro nobis: sub Póntio Piláto
passus, et sepúltus est.
Et resurréxit tértia die, secúndum Scriptúras.
Et ascéndit in cælum:
sedet ad déxteram Patris.
Et íterum ventúrus est cum glória judicáre
vivos et mórtuos: cujus regni non erit finis.
Et in Spíritum Sanctum, Dóminum et
vivificántem: qui ex Patre Filióque procédit. Qui cum Patre, et Fílio simul
adorátur, et conglorifícatur: qui locútus est per Prophétas.
Et unam, sanctam, cathólicam et apostólicam
Confíteor unum baptísma
in remissiónem peccatorum.
Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum.
Et vitam ventúri sæculi. Amen.
is a word coined by the Church (probably by the Carthaginian theologian,
Tertullian, 160? - 230?) to describe a crucial aspect of Trinitarian doctrine."
John Collins, A Primer of Ecclesiastical
Latin , (Catholic University of America, 1988) 168.
to the Father
English, Current US
one in being
with the Father
with the Father
with the Father
della stessa sostanza
of the same
substance as the Father
nature que le Père
of [the] same
nature as the Father
de la misma naturaleza
of the same
nature as the Father
eines Wesens mit dem
one [in] being
with the Father
consubstancial ao Pai
to [the] Father
existing together [to] the Father
The Preface Dialogue
The Lord [be] with you.
Et cum spiritu
And with your
[Lift up your] hearts from below.
We have [put
them] before the Lord.
Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
In a sermon addressed to some newly-baptized Christians about to make their
First Communion, St. Augustine (+ 430), Bishop of Hippo, and thus a North
African like St. Cyprian, declares: “After the greeting which you know, that is,
Dominus vobiscum, you hear Sursum cor … When you have heard the
priest say Sursum cor, you reply Habemus ad Dominum… And because
God, and not your own strength, makes it possible for you to lift up your
hearts, therefore follows (after you have said that you have lifted up your
hearts to the Lord)… Domino Deo nostro gratias agamus.” In another similar sermon, St Augustine instructs the neo-converts as follows:
“Therefore, when Sursum cor is said, you answer Habemus ad Dominum.
And that you might not attribute this lifting up of your hearts to the Lord to
your own strength, your merits, or your works—since it is a gift of God to have
one’s heart lifted on high—the celebrating bishop or priest continues and says…
Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro… and you testify saying Dignum et
iustm est. Source: Charles Lewis,
The Silent Recitation of the Canon of the
Mass, diss. excerpt (Gregorianum, 1962) 16.
Jerome Schein and David Stewart,
Language in Motion: exploring the nature
of sign (Gallaudet University,1995).
C. Valli, et al., Linguistics of American
Sign Language: An Introduction , 4°
ed., (Gallaudet University, 2005).
Scott Liddell, Grammar, Gesture, and
Meaning in American Sign Language (Cambridge, 2003).