Announcement: Archdiocesan Policies and Procedures for Constructing, Renovating, and Restoring Places of Worship

The building, renovating, or restoration of a place of worship is a unique opportunity for the renewal of a parish’s faith and liturgical life. This important work is more than an architectural solution to a spatial need or an exercise in building maintenance. In fact, it will have a direct impact on the celebration of the liturgy as the central action in the life of a Catholic community. Parishes and other institutions (e.g., schools, healthcare facilities, and retreat centers) planning the construction, renovation, or restoration of a church or chapel should consult the archdiocesan Financial Policies and Procedures Manual for guidance regarding the proposal and approval processes for these projects. This information is summarized below:


In the Archdiocese of New York, the following principles apply to the construction, renovation, and restoration of places of worship:

1. The Archbishop must approve the concept.

2. Both ARAMARK and the archdiocesan Office of Liturgy must be contacted for all projects that involve any change, modification, or addition to a church or chapel, regardless of the cost involved.


1. At the inception of the project, regardless of size or cost, the pastor/administrator should notify ARAMARK of his intent to modify a worship space. ARAMARK will assist the pastor/administrator in submitting a Request for Authorization (RFA) for conceptual approval to the Archbishop. The pastor/administrator should attach a letter to the RFA describing the proposed change(s) and the purpose of the change(s).

2. After receiving the Archbishop’s approval, the pastor/administrator should meet with ARAMARK and the Office of Liturgy to review the construction and liturgical aspects of the project. Both organizations will assist the parish in the selection of an architect or liturgical designer.

3. Schematic designs should then be completed and presented to the Office of Liturgy for review and approval. The Office of Liturgy is assisted by the archdiocesan Liturgical Art and Architecture Commission in this process. The designs, along with a recommendation from the Office of Liturgy, are then submitted to the Archbishop for further approval. This submitted portfolio should include a proposed floor plan of the existing and planned space, a drawing of all relevant liturgical appointments, an elevated drawing of the sanctuary and reredos, and a description of the liturgical change(s) to the worship space and the purpose of the change(s).

4. Further design work may not take place until approval of the schematic designs has been received from the Archbishop’s office. Any subsequent modifications to the schematic designs should be resubmitted to the Office of Liturgy and ARAMARK and approved by the Archbishop’s office using the same procedure.

5. After approval from the Archbishop’s office, the project follows the standard procedures for capital projects.

Additional information regarding these policies and procedures may be found in the archdiocesan Financial Policies and Procedures Manual. Questions may be directed to the Office of Liturgy.

Archdiocesan Distribution of Holy Oils

In the Archdiocese of New York, the distribution of Holy Oils during Holy Week will take place according to the following schedule:

At Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

Six-ounce bottles of Holy Oils will be prepared and distributed by the seminarians to clergy and official parish representatives at the conclusion of the Chrism Mass. Old oils will not be accepted at the Cathedral.

At Saint Joseph’s Seminary

During Holy Week, seminarians will distribute the prepared bottles of Holy Oils at the following times:

Wednesday, March 28 – 10:30am-4:30pm

Thursday, March 29 – 10:30am-2:30pm

Saturday, March 31 – 10:30am-2:30pm

Parishes with larger vessels of oil may fill them at the Seminary. Old oils will be accepted at the Seminary for proper disposal.

Liturgical Preparation Aid for the Season of Lent

The Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions has published a free resource for the Lenten season. This preparation aid includes:

  • the full text of the Rite of Reconciliation of Several Penitents with Individual Confession and Absolution;
  • music suggestions;
  • an Order for the Reception of the Holy Oils;
  • a liturgical calendar advisory for Lent, the Triduum, and the Easter Season; and,
  • preparation worksheets for the celebration of the Triduum.

This resource may be downloaded in both English and Spanish from the Liturgy Office website and distributed freely with the permission of the Confraternity for Christian Doctrine, the USCCB, and the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

Liturgical Q and A: The Paschal Candle in Large and Merged Parishes

6a00e54fb5e54d8834014e8723077b970d 320wi 199x300 - Liturgical Q and A: The Paschal Candle in Large and Merged ParishesThe Liturgy Office often receives questions during Lent concerning the blessing, use, and disposal of paschal candles, particularly in large parishes and merged parishes with several worship sites. At the outset, it should be noted that, in normal circumstances, there is to be only one paschal candle blessed at the Easter Vigil. This ensures that the candle’s symbolism of Christ, the sole Redeemer and the Light of the World, is clearly manifested throughout that liturgy.

In larger parishes where there are many baptisms and funerals celebrated on a regular basis, it can be challenging to maintain a single paschal candle for the duration of the year. Parishes in this situation should be reminded that the paschal candle need be lit only in the “more solemn liturgical celebrations” during the Easter season (Roman Missal, “Easter Vigil in the Holy Night,” 70); that is, it is not necessary to light the paschal candle at the celebration of every Mass (e.g., weekday Masses) during this period. A careful observance of this option can help to conserve a paschal candle and keep it in use throughout the year.

In 2010, the USCCB’s Divine Worship Secretariat offered some suggestions to those parishes that might require the use of more than one paschal candle for multiple worship sites, as in the case of merged parishes. At that time, the Secretariat recommended the following:

  • Additional paschal candles may be prepared in advance of the Easter Vigil and blessed alongside the primary candle, with deacons or other parish representatives holding them.
  • In the lighting of the paschal candle at the blessed fire and at the beginning of the procession which follows, only the primary paschal candle should be lit.
  • After the deacon intones Lumen Christi for the second time in the middle of the church, the supplemental paschal candles may be lit when the congregation’s small candles are taken up and lit; however, supplemental paschal candles should not be held high at this time, so as to keep the principal candle prominent in the view of the assembly.
  • Supplemental paschal candles may be extinguished along with the congregation’s small candles at the conclusion of the Exsultet.
  • At Masses on Easter Sunday, supplemental paschal candles may be brought to the other worship sites, where they can be lit and carried to the sanctuary in the entrance procession at the first Mass in those locations.

Lastly, it should be noted that a new paschal candle should be blessed and used each year (Congregation for Divine Worship, Paschale Sollemnitatis [1988], 82). As with all blessed objects, old paschal candles should not be thrown away, but either buried in blessed ground or burned in a devotional manner. Sometimes, candle suppliers will accept old paschal candles and offer in return a discount on the future purchase of paschal candles. These suppliers will then recycle the older candles when making new paschal candles, which is considered an acceptable practice.

Misal Romano for the United States to be Published

march2018 300x206 - Misal Romano for the United States to be PublishedThe USCCB’s Divine Worship Secretariat has recently announced the forthcoming publication of the Misal Romano, Tercera Edición. This ritual text is the first Spanish-language Roman Missal to be approved specifically for use in the United States. The base text of this book is taken from the Misal Romano from Mexico. Included as well are the proper texts and adaptations for the (arch)dioceses of the United States. The mandatory implementation date for the US Misal Romano will be the First Sunday of Advent, December 2, 2018, and this book may begin to be used as of Pentecost Sunday, May 20, 2018.

Inasmuch as parishes within the Archdiocese may have been using a Spanish translation of the second typical edition of the Missale Romanum up to this time, several changes which appear in the third edition are worthy of mention:

  • The many greeting options at the beginning of Mass which had appeared in the previous Misal Romano will now be given in an appendix, rather than within the Ordinario de la Misa. As well, optional tropes for use within Penitential Rite C will be placed in an appendix.
  • The optional texts formerly given for the Orate fratres, the introduction of the Lord’s Prayer, and the invitation to exchange the Sign of Peace will no longer be included in the Ordinario de la Misa.
  • Several prefaces which had appeared in other Spanish Misals will not be present in the US version of this text. These include: Prefaces III and IV for Advent; Preface V for Lent; Preface after the Ascension; Prefaces IX and X in Ordinary Time; Prefaces for Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick; Preface for Angels; Preface for Saint Joseph; Preface II of Holy Martyrs; and, Common Prefaces VII and VIII.
  • Within the Eucharistic Prayers, the proper forms of the communicantes for Holy Thursday and the Solemnity of the Ascension will not appear in the revised Misal Romano. In Eucharistic Prayers II and III, particular intercessions will be provided only in the case of the celebration of Baptism and in Masses for the Dead. As in the current English translation of the Roman Missal, the Eucharistic Prayers for Children will not be included in the US Misal Romano.

In addition to these changes, some highlights of the new Misal Romano include the following features:

  • Publishers of the Misal Romano have been asked to arrange the text and music so that it matches the layout of the current English Roman Missal. This is intended to be of help to celebrants who may not be as familiar with the Spanish text.
  • In an effort to encourage the singing of the Ordinary of the Mass, the US Misal Romano will include more musical notation than any other Spanish-language Misal Romano currently used throughout the world.
  • The use of ustedes rather than vosotros, with the corresponding declinations of accompanying verbs, will be observed throughout the new text.
  • The phrase por ustedes y por muchos will appear in the Words of Institution.
  • The full endings of the presidential prayers (collects, prayers over the gifts, prayers after communion) will be given in each Mass formulary.
  • Orations for the patronal feasts of Latin American countries will be included in an appendix. As well, a proper preface for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe will appear in the Mass formulary for that day.

The USCCB’s Divine Worship Secretariat has announced that there will be two publishers of this ritual book: Catholic Book Publishing and Liturgical Press. These companies have indicated that the ritual edition of the Misal Romano will be available for purchase as of May 1, 2018. Orders for these books may be placed through ICS.

Lastly, the Liturgy Office and the Office of Hispanic Ministry will be co-hosting a series of workshops for both clergy and musicians on the new Misal Romano at Fordham University on Tuesday, June 12, from 1:00-8:00pm. These workshops will be led by representatives from the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC). More information regarding these workshops may be found on the FDLC’s website.

March 17: Saint Patrick’s Day

In 2018, the feast day of Saint Patrick (observed as a solemnity in the Archdiocese of New York) falls on a Saturday in Lent.  Evening Prayer I of Pastors should be celebrated on Friday evening.  However, Evening Prayer I of the Fifth Sunday of Lent should be prayed on Saturday evening, and Saturday evening Masses should be celebrated using the texts for the Lenten Sunday.

Liturgical Preparation Aid for the Seasons of Advent and Christmas

The Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions has published a free resource for the seasons of Advent and Christmas.  This preparation aid includes: the full text of the Rite of Reconciliation of Several Penitents with Individual Confession and Absolution, music suggestions, sample penances, the text of the Christmas Proclamation (to be sung before the Mass at Midnight), and the text of the Proclamation of the date of Easter (to be sung before the Mass on Epiphany).

This resource may be downloaded from the Liturgy Office website and distributed freely with the permission of the Confraternity for Christian Doctrine, the USCCB, and the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

Eucharistic Adoration Seminar – Friday, February 16

The Office of Liturgy will be hosting a seminar at Saint Joseph’s Seminary on Friday, February 16, from 7:00-8:30pm, entitled,“‘I Am With You Always’: The Liturgy of Eucharistic Adoration.”  This presentation will discuss the ways in which Eucharistic adoration arises from the Mass and ultimately leads the worshipper back to the Eucharistic celebration.  Beginning with a description of the Old Testament antecedents of Eucharistic worship, this seminar will explore the development of the rites of Eucharistic exposition, benediction, and processions of the Blessed Sacrament from the eleventh century to today.  The rites of Eucharistic worship associated with the liturgies of Holy Thursday and Corpus Christi, as well as the customs of a holy hour, the Forty Hours devotion, and perpetual adoration will be presented.  Local practices from Spain and Latin America, Portugal, Poland, Germany, and Italy will also be introduced.  Additionally, this presentation will address the pastoral and theological dimensions of these observances and offer answers to practical questions that can often arise in parishes.

This seminar will be presented by James Monti, historian and author of In the Presence of Our Lord and Sense of the Sacred: Roman Catholic Worship in the Middle Ages.  Registration is $10 and may be accessed on the Liturgy Office website.

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