Can the dismissal at Mass be altered?

Awhile ago our pastor stopped using the tradtional “The Mass is ended. Go in peace,” and instead replaced it with the whole congregation saying in unison (the phrase is on an overhead) “The Mass never ends, it must be lived, go now and serve the Lord, thanks be to God, Alleluia.” This seems really strange to me, as I had always thought that a priest could not just change rubrics of the Mass. Is this permissiable?

Not only is it not permissible for the dismissal to be altered from the wording specifically allowed for by the rubrics, but the particular formula you cite (“The Mass never ends, it must be lived, go now and serve the Lord, thanks be to God, Alleluia”) has been officially *forbidden *by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The formula comes from the LifeTeen movement that originated in the Diocese of Phoenix (Arizona). Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix met with Francis Cardinal Arinze, prefect of the Congregation, about the movement. One of the specific liturgical abuses disallowed by the Congregation was this formula for the dismissal.

Msgr. Dale Fushek, founder of the LifeTeen movement wrote a letter explaining the changes. It said in part:

As the founder of this youth movement, I am writing to confirm our adherence to the new GIRM, and as always, our obedience to our own local Bishops. In this spirit of obedience, we are asking all parishes that implement the LIFE TEEN model to make the following changes:

(…)

*2. The GIRM very specifically offers three options for the end of the Mass. We are to cease using the phrase “The Mass Never Ends, It Must Be Lived” and begin using one of the three prescribed endings found in the Missal. *

(…)

I am sure these issues will be hard on some parishes and teens. But, let me assure you, our cooperation with Rome and the BCL will only enhance our liturgical celebrations and our mission in the Church. It will be essential that we catechize our teens and their families on what we are doing, and why we are doing it (emphasis added).

I could not find a copy of the letter online, so I recommend contacting the Diocese of Phoenix to inquire if the liturgical office can provide a copy of the letter or a copy of other supporting documentation of the changes to the LifeTeen Mass required by the Congregation. There is, however, a copy of LifeTeen’s press release on the matter available online and the organization itself may also be able to provide a copy of Msgr. Fushek’s letter.

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