It was the morning of the 7th of March 1965, the first Sunday in Lent of that year when in this very same Church Blessed Paul VI celebrated Holy Mass for the first time in the vernacular rather than in Latin, as was the custom at the time.
"As you witnessed this morning", he said on this occasion, “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".
This event came as the direct result of the discussions of the Council Fathers during the Second Vatican Council. One which had been called for by Saint John XXIII on January 25th 1959 and was to meet for about ten weeks from 1962 to 1965 in the autumn of each year.
But as John XXIII was soon to pass away in June 1963 it was Blessed Paul VI who found himself with the task of taking on this Council, bringing it to an end and finally implementing the Council documents.
Documents such as the first one, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, in Latin ‘Sacrosanctum Concilium’ of December 4th 1963 which was approved at the end of the second year of the Council. In this programme you can listen to the sound of the result of that overwhelming majority vote that took place in Saint Peter’s Basilica as well as to the words of Paul VI which followed in Latin.
But getting back to the Church of ‘Ognissanti’ Pope Francis visits Saturday, Paul VI specified how on that day his hope was that novelty which he described as a great liturgical reform would bring about an authentic spiritual renewal in the Church.