QUAERITUR: “Go the celebration has ended”

From a reader:

My husband mentioned that at the end of Mass, the priest said, “Go the celebration has ended”. Would this be considered liturgical abuse or just bad taste? Seems like another case of bad catechesis.

Many priests think, in their wisdom, that they have the authority on their own to improve the official texts. Others are just a little sloppy and haven’t really ever learned or read what the texts really say.

In the lame-duck version still in use in the USA for a few more days (how nice to be able to write that) these are the forms of dismissal:

Go in the peace of Christ.

Or: The Mass is ended, go in peace.

Or: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

“Go the celebration has ended” is not an option.

In the new, corrected translation which comes into effect on the 1st Sunday of Advent (very soon) these are the forms of dismissal:

Go forth, the Mass is ended.

Or: Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.

Or: Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.

Or: Go in peace.

This word “celebration” has overwhelmed our speech about our liturgical worship. Yes, Holy Mass is a celebration. But the pervasive use of “celebrate” and “celebration” and even “celebrant” tends to reduce Mass to an opportunity for cheery emotions.

I suggest to priests and others that we use the language of “celebration” somewhat more judiciously. I don’t say get rid of it entirely, but lets all back off with it for a while and bring in other ways of speaking about Mass and the role of the priest. I am sure that readers here can leap in with some ideas.

In the meantime, priests, and in the case of dismissals also deacons, should stick to the texts in the book.

Say the Black – Do the Red.

Perhaps you should get Father one of those nice coffee mugs with that phrase, just to remind him.  Sweeten the deal with a couple pounds of Mystic Monk Coffee.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. beez says:

    Sacrosanctum Concilium #22,3: Therefore, no other person, not even a priest may add, remove or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.

  2. Joan M says:

    It seems that for many priests “Say the Black – Do the Red’ is not sufficient. They need “Use the Book, Say the Black – Do the Red.” Some priests probably “Say the Black” but not from the Missal!! I have suffered through too many Masses where I cannot recognize many of the prayers since they do not come from the Missal!!

  3. bourgja says:

    I am not sure I care for “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord with your life.” What is the original Latin for this?

  4. wmeyer says:

    …if I have to choose between celebrant or presider, then celebrant wins hands down, as many of the laity seem to feel that presider suggests that any of us could preside.

  5. jhayes says:

    @bourgja, the Latin is: “Ite in pace, glorificando vita vestra Dominum”

    See: http://www.30giorni.it/articoli_id_19635_l3.htm

  6. skvie5738 says:

    I was once at a church where the priest said, “The Mass NEVER ends! Go out and live what you have experienced all throughout your week.” I was so upset!

  7. PomeroyonthePalouse says:

    Our visiting priest at today’s Mass used his own variation on this. I don’t remember what it was, but it confused enough of the people that over half didn’t know what to respond with. He’s one of those priests of a “certain age” that apparently has forgotten how to read. He was looking at the Missal, but the words that came out of his mouth weren’t those printed in the book. Every “man” became “man and woman” etc., etc., etc.

    And to top it off, we have had some cold nights recently (in the teens and 20s) and something wasn’t working with the church boiler this morning. 25 outside and maybe 50 (if we were lucky) inside. He started Mass with the announcement that if it became too cold, people could leave and be excused as they shouldn’t get sick. That made sense as 40% or more of our parishioners are over 65. But then, he said he’d be “leaving out” certain prayers. Thankfully he didn’t skip anything important, just the Gloria and the Creed. He also said he trimmed his homily. But not the quotes from the “ancient Persian philosopher” .

  8. This is a good place to note that in practice, the most common dismissal in the current Mass is a combination of B and C, namely, “The Mass is ended; go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” Very rarely are any of the three official texts used exactly as printed in the Missal. Creative (annoying) dismissals are actually more common than the three official options (though not nearly as common as the melding of B and C that I mentioned above). As was noted, what’s in the book or even what book is used doesn’t matter if no one is looking at the book or cares what it says. What is really necessary will be to shake priests and deacons of the notion that the years of haggling and thrashing out the new Missal and its translation were all a waste of time, and that they can and should do better. I always find it insulting to those who work hard on something like this when their effort is discarded to the four winds in favor of something else.

  9. dad29 says:


    Back in the Dark Ages when I was a lad, the ONLY word used to describe the priest who had the Mass was “celebrant.”

    “Presider” is a term which has non-Orders connotations–it’s kinda secular.

  10. stgemma_0411 says:

    My favourite (sarcasm) is the one that the resident priest at our parish says, “The Mass has only begun, go in the peace of Christ”. Always a “classy” one.

  11. Denise says:

    One variation that I have heard in numerous locations across the United States is “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord and one another.” It is so ubiquitous I had no idea the “and one another” was not part of the official wording.

  12. Philangelus says:

    Where does the “And have a nice day” come in? I think I’ve heard that as the last words at 98% of Masses I’ve attended in the last two decades.

    “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”
    “Thanks be to God.”
    “And have a nice day.”
    “You too, Father.”

  13. Legisperitus says:

    My brother used to belong to a parish where the priest would say, “Let us dismiss ourselves,” and then the congregation would recite some long-winded formula made up by who-knows-whom.

  14. Supertradmum says:

    Hate the “have a nice day”. Reminds me of The Waffle House.

  15. Paul says:

    Supertradmum said, “Hate the “have a nice day”. Reminds me of The Waffle House.”

    Yes! One day, I may respond loudly, “Thank you; come again!”

  16. Michael J. says:

    This is one example of why I do not think the new translation will cause all that much change in the Church once it comes into existence. I think it is obviously better than the Sacramentary that we now are using. Only potential problem being, will the priests follow the New Missal and what it says or will they continue experimenting and improvising with the Mass? If they do not follow the New Missal to the letter, than we can still have the same problems that we have now. I hope, for the sake of the Church, the New Missal makes a difference.

  17. Brent S says:

    From the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph:

    “Thanks for coming to _____________ this afternoon; go in peace.”


  18. Luvadoxi says:

    Our parish has been doing a good job preparing us for the new missal, or so I thought until yesterday. We’ve been learning the new responses and some simple chant for the Gloria and other parts, sometimes in English and sometimes in Latin. But yesterday, the music director announced at Mass that the parish council has decided that we will be using chant in *all* Masses (so far, so good, right?) for a few months so we can learn the new responses. “And then don’t worry, we will go back to using modern music.” I kid you not.

  19. Margaret says:

    @Luvadoxi– sounds like a prime opportunity for a stealth campaign. Try to enlist as many people as possible to each privately approach: the choir director, pastor, that day’s Mass celebrant (if a different priest,) liturgist (if there is one) and mention how wonderful the chant is and how you’re hoping they don’t “disrupt” things again by dropping it… ;)

  20. jhayes says:

    The policy in the Archdiocese of Boston is:

    Please remember that the official Mass setting for the Archdiocese of Boston is the ICEL chant setting. This setting of the Mass will be included in all English editions of the Roman Missal, and every publisher is required to include this setting as the first option that will appear in their missalettes and participation aids. While your parish may choose to continue using this setting throughout the upcoming Liturgical year, parishes who wish to use other musical settings of the Mass may introduce them after the Advent-Christmas season, beginning in January of 2012.


  21. Fortiter Pugnem says:

    Just curious, I haven’t gone to an NO Mass since I was seven. Is there a variant for “Benedicamus Domino” on special feasts? And what about “Requiasca[n]t in pace”?

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