Ite, Missa Est
Dear Latin Teacher,
How would you translate the sentence, "Ite, Missa est?" Thank you.
is the plural imperative from ire
and means "Go", commanding the people to go at the end of mass. Missa est
is the third person feminine singular passive of mittere
and means "it has been sent". What "it" refers to must feminine and singular, such as the host or offering, perhaps.
So, as a classical Latinist, I would say that ite, missa est
means "Go, it has been sent".
There is some debate about missa
, however. In late Latin, abstract nouns ending in -io
came to be spelled instead with an -a
. So it is possible that missa
stands for missio
. So says the Catholic Church. And so the best translation in ecclesiatical Latin is, "Go, it is the sending (or dismissal)".
Here is a link to the Catholic Encyclopedia: The form missa for missio is like that of collecta (for collectio), ascensa (ascensio), etc. So Ite missa est should be translated "Go it is the dismissal."
And this does make more sense to me. Why would the priest mention the host again at the dismissal? It is far more logical to treat missa
Hope this helps, and thanks for asking a Latin teacher.
P.S. This Q&A blog is powered by Content 2.0 from Site Build It!
See more Latin Roots
Return to Vocabulary Lesson Plans