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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. What is the meaning of the response "and with your spirit" that is now said during the Holy Mass?

A. 1. First of all, it should be stated that these words are only used between the priest and the people during the Holy Mass. They are in response to the priest's word, "The Lord be with you." In exceptional cases, it will be used between the deacon and the people.

Remember, this greeting is never used in the Roman Liturgy between a non-ordained person and the gathered assembly.

When the priest says, “The Lord be with you”, he expresses his desire that the dynamic activity of God’s spirit be given to the people of God, enabling them to do the work of transforming the world that God has entrusted to them.

When the people respond to the ordained minister with the words “and with your spirit” (the English translation of "et cum spiritu tuo"), they are referring to the gift of the spirit that the priest received at his ordination. This response assures the priest of the same divine assistance of God’s spirit and, more specifically, helps the priest to use the charismatic gifts given to him at his ordination. In doing so, it fulfills his prophetic function in the Church.

The Latin response "et cum spiritu tuo" can be traced to the earliest days of the Church, one instance found in the Traditio Apostolica of Saint Hippolytus, composed in Greek around AD 215.

The retranslation of "et cum spiritu tuo" to"and with your spirit" from "and with you" is a correction of the unapproved English translation of the Liturgy that was done after vatican II.

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