Religious Sign Language – New Roman Missal
The 2011 Eucharistic Congress was held in College Park, GA this past June at the Georgia International Convention Center. What made this important to the Catholic deaf community in particular and the religious deaf community in general was the ASL track that was included. Father Tom Coyte who is pastor for Holy Cross Parish in Denver, Co was the speaker. Father Coyte is a hearing able priest who also knows ASL. He has had 37 years of building a very active deaf ministry in his parish. His deaf parishioners are totally included in every aspect of his church.
Father Coyte addressed the upcoming changes in the new Roman Missal which is due to take affect this year. Religious Sign Language for Catholics has to also make changes as well. The new liturgy or worship will begin in the USA the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011. The goal of the new Missal changes is to deepen understanding of the liturgy for Catholics.
Think about it, there are different interpretations of the Roman Missal between spoken languages such as English and Spanish! With that in mind, ASL presents a totally unique challenge. Remember that ASL, American Sign Language is not a literal word-for-word copy of either English or any other language. Therefore, deaf people and their interpreters have to work together to formulate an accurate translation of the new Roman Missal. Sign language is it’s own definite unique language that stands alone. ASL incorporates hand gestures, body language and facial expressions. The interpreters as well as the deaf congregation first needs to get the meaning of the changes that are being made.
Sign Language somehow brings deeper meaning to ideas being expressed. This is because the whole body takes part and we experience communication on several levels. ASL works very well in a religious setting. Religious sign language encompasses the things that we see as well that which we don’t see. Father Coyte spoke of the signs that we get from God through nature such as the sun and the rain. They speak to us through all our senses and go straight to the heart just like sign language.
For more information on how parishes are getting ready for the new Roman Missal read about it in the Catholic News Service. Would you like to know what to do with your old Missal? Check it out here at the Blessed Sacrament blog.
The Most Rev. Gregory M. Aymond, Chairman of the Committee on Divine Worship and Archbishop of New Orleans discusses the general upcoming changes in this video:
Filed under: Learn Sign Language
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