IT is going to take a lot of time and effort to change the habits of a lifetime as church-goers grappled with controversial changes to the Catholic Roman Missal.
The biggest stumbling block was the response to the priest's call "the Lord be with you" with many congregations automatically replying with "and also with you" -- rather than the new rejoinder "and with your spirit".
Congregational cards and new Missalettes have been distributed to churches around the country outlining the changes, but some of the faithful still prefer the responses they had been using for decades.
Addressing the congregation at Dublin's Pro Cathedral last Sunday morning, parish administrator Fr Damian O'Reilly acknowledged that getting used to the changes was "going to take time" and urged everyone to "just be patient with one another".
Speaking outside the church afterwards, several Mass-goers said they had been taken by surprise with the changes.
"I prefer the old way myself. I like to keep with tradition," said one woman.
Another parishioner said while some people had a problem with the gender of the new responses, he argued that the original Latin meaning of the word 'man' encompassed both men and women.
The new Missal is meant to be a closer translation of the original Latin. However, critics have branded it sexist and archaic.
They point to the replacement in the creed of "for us and for our salvation" with "for us men, and our salvation".
Fr Brendan Hoban, a member of the Association of Catholic Priests, said the fear among priests was that the uncertainty among parishioners would "reduce our congregations to silence".
"The danger now is that, because of the changes, people will be uncertain and the response will be more muted."
A spokesman for the Irish Bishops' Conference said there had been a general welcome for the changes.
He added that congregations were appreciative of the leadership priests had provided in pointing out the new responses.