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Francis to mark 50 years since first papal Mass in the vernacular

Pope Francis elevates the chalice during a Mass at the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome (Photo: CNS)

Pope Francis is to visit the All Saints parish in Rome this Saturday to mark 50 years since Blessed Pope Paul VI celebrated his first public Mass there in a language other than Latin.

On the day – March 7, the first Sunday of Lent in 1965 – Paul VI said: “As you witnessed this morning, the spoken language has officially entered the liturgy in all parishes and churches. Across the world this date marks the first time a new way of praying, of celebrating Holy Mass has been inaugurated. It’s a great event, one that will be remembered as a new commitment in the great dialogue between God and man.”

The historic event followed Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council document authorising the use of the vernacular in Mass. Elsewhere in the world the change had taken place earlier – in the United States vernacular Masses were celebrated in November 1964.