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Winstone, Harold E.

WINSTONE, HAROLD E.

Liturgical scholar, writer, translator; b. London, 1917; d. April 19, 1987. He was a parish priest of the archdiocese of Westminster and canon of the chapter of Westminster Cathedral. He was ordained a priest in 1943 and later took a classics degree at Cambridge University. At the time of his death he was parish priest of Saint Thomas More, Knebworth.

With a solid background in Latin and Greek, Winstone was also completely at home in German and French. This fitted him for work in translation and, combined with his liturgical and pastoral expertise, led to his principal contributions to the church in countries where English is spoken. Before the Second Vatican Council, he was widely known as translator of papal encyclicals and other documents and especially as translator of major books of liturgical scholarship and popularization, including works of Josef Jungmann and The Liturgy of the Mass by the Austrian Pius parsch.

In 1961 Father Winstone translated the proper chants of the Mass for The Layman's Missal, Prayer Book, and Ritual, the English edition of the immensely popular Missel quotidien des fidèles (the Feder missal). This work gives the key to his later contribution to liturgical translations. The intended goal was "to find a direct and dignified style of English that avoids as far as possible the aridities of conventional 'devotional language', and acceptable to people of the 20th century without archaism, artificiality or avoidable obscurity." This stated purpose was equally the goal of the international commission on english in the liturgy (ICEL), with which he was closely associated from its beginnings.

In 1964 Winstone was appointed by the ICEL committee of bishops as a member of its first Advisory Committee. He chaired this coordinating body from 1968 to 1975, while it directed the preparation of official English versions of the revised Latin missal, ritual, pontifical, and liturgy of the hours. He was also cochairman of the (ecumenical) international consultation on english texts (ICET), which prepared English versions of the chief texts in common liturgical use in the churches today.

As a priest always engaged in an intense and effective parish ministry, Harold Winstone employed his scholarly background in popular writing and lecturing in the fields of pastoral liturgy and music. He served as president of the Society of Saint Gregory and as a member of the National Liturgical Commission of England and Wales and of the (ecumenical) Joint Liturgical Group. In 1969, in conjunction with his appointment to establish a new parish in Manor House, London, Winstone founded the Saint Thomas More Centre for Pastoral Liturgy with the support of Cardinal John Carmel Heenan and directed it until 1983. Although the center directly serves the archdiocese of Westminster, it has had a much wider impact through its publications and conferences in pastoral liturgy, music, and special areas such as liturgies with children. Through this center Canon Winstone strongly influenced the post-conciliar generation of liturgical promoters, in addition to his part in ICEL and ICET, which has left an enduring and invaluable mark on English used in liturgical celebrations throughout the world.

[f. r. mcmanus]

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