Bidding Prayers in foreign language

I sometimes serve at the Polish Mass in my Parish (i dont speak polish btw), and I was wondering about the Prayers of the Faithful… as i dont know what is being said by the reader what should i do? Thanks

You can either pray for the intentions, although you do not understand them – much like when someone simply asks you to pray for a “special intention” – or you could pray generally for the needs of the Church; for public authorities and the salvation of the whole world; for those burdened by any kind of difficulty; and for the local community. (cf. GIRM 70)

I would voice the appropriate response of the congregation.

Here is what the GIRM says about the prayer of the faithful:

The intentions announced should be sober, be composed freely but prudently, and be succinct, and they should express the prayer of the entire community…

The people, however, stand and give expression to their prayer either by an invocation said together after each intention or by praying in silence.

As the intentions should be the prayer of the entire community, it’s proper to respond in the prescribed way.

It’s always possible that one could have a quibble about the exact intentions:

Reader: “For the success of the fundraising effort for the new parish life center, let us pray to the Lord”
Congregant: "I never thought a new parish life center was a good idea, and maybe if it fails, the parish can turn its attention to more important matters.

Reader: “For the health of Jane Doe and John Smith, who were hospitalized this week, we pray to the Lord”
Congregant: "If it’s God’s will that they pass away, why should I be praying against it?

Reader: “That the Holy Father will come to his senses, and start ordaining puppies to the diaconate, we pray to the Lord”
Congregant: “I firmly believe that dogs should not be ordained, at least not at such a young age.”:stuck_out_tongue:

I think only the last objection, where the intention really crosses the line, is a legitimate reason not to voice the response. In other cases, we are called to join our prayer with that of the rest of the community. Even if we don’t agree with the precise wording of the prayer, I think we can trust that God will receive our prayer on the topic and respond as he sees fit. In any prayer, unless we are truly insolent, we are simply praying that God’s will be done.

If the Holy Father were to ordain animals, it would be cats. :wink:


if you can’t manage the response in that language, whatever Mass you are attending, respond Lord Hear our Prayer as usual. is there a problem?

As I understood the OP, he probably knows the minimal amount of Polish needed to say the standard response. Rather, he was uncertain if he could give the usual affirmative Polish response without being conscious of exactly what he was praying for.

However, you raise an important point - is it appropriate to speak one’s part in a language other than that of the mass one is attending. For instance, at a Latin or Spanish mass, would it be proper for chunks of the congregation to speak the Our Father, or the responses to the prayer of the faithful, or the Confeitor in English? Conversely, would it be proper at an English mass for chunks of the congregation to do such parts in Spanish or Latin? I would say no.


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