New Guidelines for the Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass

Guidelines for the worship of the Eucharist outside of Mass have been published by the Office of Liturgy.  These guidelines are intended to serve as an aid to clergy and others within the Archdiocese of New York who are entrusted with fostering the faithful’s devotion to the Blessed Sacrament through eucharistic adoration, both individually and in community.  The document offers a description and commentary on the Rite of Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Eucharistic processions, Eucharistic exposition and prayer services for healing, and perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  These Guidelines may be accessed and downloaded at the Liturgy Office website.

Liturgical Q and A: Inserts for the Deceased in Eucharistic Prayers and Funerals in the Presence of Cremated Remains

From time to time, the Liturgy Office receives inquiries from pastors asking when the special inserts for the commemoration of the deceased in Eucharistic Prayers II and III may be used.  This question may arise from the phrasing of the rubric which precedes the inserts in these Eucharistic Prayers: “In Masses for the Dead. . . .”  This wording could lead a celebrant to believe that these inserts can be used only when celebrating one of the Masses for the Dead from the Roman Missal  (e.g., funeral Masses, Masses on the anniversary of death, etc.).

In response to this question, it should be noted that when the new Eucharistic Prayers were introduced in the late 1960’s, the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship indicated at the time that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal  [GIRM] allows for these inserts to be used at any Mass which is celebrated for a deceased person or in which a deceased person receives special remembrance (Notitiae 5 [1969]: 325, n.5; cf. GIRM, 365b).  In its commentary, the Congregation explained that this feature of Eucharistic Prayers II and III is intended to foster the traditional practice of having Masses offered for the deceased while still allowing priests to celebrate the Mass of the day.   The GIRM indeed indicates that Masses for the Dead should be celebrated “in moderation, for every Mass is offered for both the living and the dead, and there is a commemoration of the dead in the Eucharistic Prayer” (355).

The question as to whether the Church permits funeral Masses to be celebrated in the presence of cremated remains is also frequently asked of the Liturgy Office.  While the Church strongly prefers that the body of the deceased be buried or interred, it also allows for cremation, so long as this practice is not chosen for reasons that are contrary to Catholic teaching (CIC, 1176 §3.)  When a body is to be cremated, family members should be informed by the parish priest and the funeral director of the Church’s preference that the funeral Mass (or funeral Liturgy outside Mass) be celebrated in the presence of the body prior to cremation.  The Order of Christian Funerals explains the reasons for this practice:

The Christian faithful are unequivocally confronted by the mystery of life and death when they are faced with the presence of the body of one who has died.  Moreover, the body which lies in death naturally recalls the personal story of faith, the loving family bonds, the friendships, and the words and acts of kindness of the deceased person. . . .  The body of the deceased [also] brings forcefully to mind the Church’s conviction that the human body is in Christ a temple of the Holy Spirit and is destined for future glory at the resurrection of the dead.

When the body has been cremated prior to the funeral, a funeral Mass or Liturgy outside of Mass may still be celebrated in the presence of the cremated remains.  In this case, the appropriate texts in Appendix II of the Order of Christian Funerals should be used.  Lastly, family members should be reminded that cremated remains are to be buried or entombed in an appropriate container and should not be scattered, kept at home, divided up, or worn as jewelry for any reason.

Publication of Excerpts from the Roman Missal and Prayers Against the Powers of Darkness

prayerbook 170x300 - Publication of Excerpts from the Roman Missal and Prayers Against the Powers of DarknessThe Secretariat of Divine Worship has recently announced the publication of two other liturgical books:

-Excerpts from the Roman Missal: This “book of the chair” contains only those parts of the Roman Missal that are proclaimed at locations other than at the altar.  As such, this resource will be about half the size and weight of the current Missal.  Excerpts from the Roman Missal will be available for purchase as of February 1, 2018 and will be published by World Library Publications, Catholic Book Publishing, Liturgical Press, and Magnificat.

-Prayers Against the Powers of Darkness contains the complete text of “Supplications Which May Be Used by the Faithful Privately in Their Struggle Against the Powers of Darkness,” which is Appendix II of Exorcisms and Related Supplications, the ritual book used by exorcists.  This small prayer book designed for use by the faithful is intended to assist Christians in seeking deliverance and help strengthen their faith in God.  Prayers contained in this resource include:

• Prayers to God for Protection
• Invocations to the Holy Trinity
• Invocations to Our Lord Jesus Christ
• Invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary
• Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer
• Various litanies

Prayers Against the Powers of Darkness is available for purchase now and may be ordered directly from USCCB publications.

Misal Romano for the United States Implementation Date Announced

Misal Romano 211x300 - Misal Romano for the United States Implementation Date AnnouncedThe USCCB’s Divine Worship Secretariat has announced that the mandatory implementation date for the Misal Romano, Tercera Edición for use in the United States will be the First Sunday of Advent, December 2, 2018.  The Misal may begin to be used as of Pentecost Sunday, May 20, 2018.  There will be three publishers of this ritual book: Catholic Book Publishing, Liturgical Press, and Magnificat.

These publishers have announced that the ritual edition of the Misal Romano will be available for purchase as of May 1, 2018.  The Liturgy Office will be hosting a workshop on the new features and implementation of the Misal Romano in the spring.  More details concerning this workshop will be announced shortly.

Papal Motu Proprio on Liturgical Translations Published

PopeFrancis 300x174 - Papal Motu Proprio on Liturgical Translations Published

The Holy See recently announced that Pope Francis has signed an Apostolic Letter issued motu proprio (on his own initiative) which amends a portion of the Code of Canon Law (c. 838) having to do with the preparation, review, and approval of liturgical translations.  The letter, entitled Magnum principium, indicates that these changes are intended to clarify the respective roles of the Apostolic See and conferences of bishops in the translation of the Latin liturgical books into vernacular languages.

In a commentary accompanying the motu proprio, Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary to the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, noted that, until recently, the Congregation was asked to give its recognitio to both liturgical translations and “more radical” liturgical adaptations established and approved by bishops’ conferences.  Archbishop Roche described the recognitio as a process of “review and evaluation” undertaken in order to “safeguard the unity of the Roman Rite.”

According to the canonical revisions of Magnum principium, “more radical adaptations” proposed by bishops’ conferences will still require the Holy See’s recognitio.  However, liturgical translations prepared and approved by episcopal conferences will now be ratified by the Holy See via a confirmatio, rather than a recognitio.  Archbishop Roche explained:

The confirmatio of the Apostolic See is… not to be considered as an alternative intervention in the process of translation, but rather, an authoritative act by which the competent dicastery ratifies the approval of the bishops.  Obviously, this presupposes a positive evaluation of the fidelity and congruence of the texts produced in respect to the typical editions on which the unity of the Rite is founded, and, above all, taking account of the texts of greatest importance, in particular the sacramental formulae, the Eucharistic Prayers, the prayers of Ordination, the Order of Mass and so on.

It has been speculated that this change to canon law may result in an accelerated approval process for liturgical translations.  Currently, the USCCB has several such translations which are awaiting the Holy See’s approval, including the Order of Baptism of Children and the Order of Blessing the Oils of Catechumens and the Sick and Consecration of Chrism.  

With regard to the preparation of future translations, Archbishop Wilton Gregory, chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship, indicated to the US bishops in their annual November meeting that Magnum principium gives the Conference “more authority to determine the best way to apply the guidelines of Liturgiam authenticam” to the translation of liturgical texts.  Liturgiam authenticam is the document issued in 2001 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments which outlines principles and processes pertaining to the use of vernacular languages for the celebration of the liturgy.  In his recent motu proprio, Pope Francis offered the following additional guidance concerning future liturgical translations:

The goal of the translation of liturgical texts and of biblical texts for the Liturgy of the Word is to announce the word of salvation to the faithful in obedience to the faith and to express the prayer of the Church to the Lord.  For this purpose it is necessary to communicate to a given people using its own language all that the Church intended to communicate to other people through the Latin language.  While fidelity cannot always be judged by individual words but must be sought in the context of the whole communicative act and according to its literary genre, nevertheless some particular terms must also be considered in the context of the entire Catholic faith because each translation of texts must be congruent with sound doctrine.

The USCCB’s Office of Canonical Affairs and its Secretariat of Divine Worship have been asked to study the motu proprio and its accompanying documents in order to determine which administrative procedures may need to be adjusted in light of the canonical changes called for by Magnum principium.  The Divine Worship Secretariat expects to be able to offer additional commentary on this topic in the forthcoming months.

September 23: Obligatory Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina

p pio 239x300 - September 23:  Obligatory Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina

September 23:

Obligatory Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina

In anticipation of the memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, relics of the Saint will be exposed for public veneration at Saint Joseph’s Seminary on September 16, from 9:00am-3:00pm, and at

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on September 17 and 18, throughout the day.  The Saint Pio Foundation has organized this tour of the official relics of Padre Pio throughout the United States on the occasion of the 130th anniversary of his birth and the 15th anniversary of his canonization.  Please contact Saint Joseph’s Seminary or Saint Patrick’s Cathedral for more information.

“Everyone Can Sing!” Workshop – November 18

“Everyone Can Sing!” Workshop – November 18

The Office of Liturgy will be hosting a workshop at Saint Joseph’s Seminary on Saturday, November 18, from 10:00am-12:00pm entitled, “Everyone Can Sing!: Tips and Tricks for Helping ‘Non-Singers’ Learn to Sing the Sacred Liturgy.”  This workshop is intended to help adults and children who consider themselves to be “non-singers” to sing well and in tune at liturgical celebrations.  Topics to be covered include:

  • The role of singing in the liturgy
  • The spiritual benefits of singing
  • Physiological and psychological barriers to singing in tune
  • Pedagogical tips and exercises for learning to sing or teaching someone else to sing
  • Encouraging congregational singing
  • Encouraging singing in the classroom
  • Tips offered by the Ward education method

This workshop will be presented by Dr. Jennifer Donelson, D.M.A., director and associate professor of sacred music at Dunwoodie.  Registration is $10 and may be accessed on the Liturgy Office website.

 Archdiocesan Training Videos for Liturgical Ministers Available

 Archdiocesan Training Videos for Liturgical Ministers Available

The Office of Liturgy and the Office of Adult Faith Formation have produced training videos for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and Lectors in both English and Spanish.  The videos present the history and theology of these ministries and also discuss the practicalities of serving in these roles.  Presenters include faculty members from Saint Joseph’s Seminary.   The videos may be accessed directly on the Liturgy Office website.  As well, parishes interested in obtaining copies of these resources may do so by contacting the Office of Liturgy at or by calling 914.968.6200, ext. 8177.

Announcement: Parish Pipe Organs

organist5 215x300 - Announcement: Parish Pipe OrgansAnnouncement: Parish Pipe Organs

Next to the church building itself, a pipe organ is usually one of a parish’s most valuable assets and the preeminent liturgical appointment in its patrimony.  When properly maintained, these instruments will give decades of faithful and reliable service to a parish community.  As such, they should receive appropriate care from artisans who are well versed in the craft of organ building and maintenance.  Pastors are to be advised, however, that the pipe organ industry is not regulated or licensed, and some organ “builders” or “restorers” do not have the best interests of the parish or the instrument in mind.  Disreputable practices, such as the indiscriminate removal of parts of an organ or only certain ranks of pipes, can greatly harm the musical integrity and monetary value of these instruments.  Pastors who are approached by an organ firm for the purposes of removing any part of a pipe organ are urged to contact the Liturgy Office before agreeing to such a project.

In an effort to preserve the pipe organs of the archdiocese for use by future generations, the archdiocesan Liturgical Music Commission, under the supervision of the Office of Liturgy and in consultation with the Office of Pastoral Planning, is undertaking an inventory and assessment of pipe organs in those church buildings which are to be relegated to profane but not sordid use as a result of Making All Things New.  The resulting reports will be forwarded to the vicar general/chancellor and the archdiocesan Insurance Division. This work is intended to ensure that the organs in these churches are carefully conserved throughout the parish transition process until a final decision is made by the chancery concerning the disposition of these instruments.  Representatives of the Liturgical Music Commission will soon be contacting the pastors of the affected churches to arrange for an evaluation of their pipe organs.  In the meantime, the commission requests that no organ builder, restorer, or other representative be given access to any portion of these instruments.

Questions or concerns regarding this process may be directed to the Office of Liturgy at or by calling 914.968.6200, ext. 8177.  As well, pastors may wish to consult the newly published Archdiocesan Guidelines for the Installation and Maintenance of Pipe Organs, which can be accessed on the Liturgy Office’s website.

Liturgical Q and A: Successive Feasts and Holy Days of Obligation

Liturgical Q and A: Successive Feasts and Holy Days of Obligation

In recent months, the Office of Liturgy has received a number questions concerning the successive celebrations of the Feast of the Holy Family and the Solemnity of2016 Liturgical calendar 300x300 - Liturgical Q and A: Successive Feasts and Holy Days of Obligation Mary, Mother of God on Sunday, December 31, 2017 and Monday, January 1, 2018, respectively.  Specifically, it has been asked which Mass should be celebrated on the evening of December 31, keeping in mind that the celebration of solemnities normally begins with the evening of the preceding day?

In answering this and similar questions, one should first consider the following principle established by the 1969 General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar: “If several celebrations fall on the same day, the one that holds the highest rank according to the preceding Table of Liturgical Days is observed” (60).  Taking this into account, it might seem at first that evening Masses on December 31, 2017 should celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, considering that Solemnities of the Blessed Virgin Mary appear higher than Feasts of the Lord on the Table of Liturgical Days.  However, another lesser-known norm promulgated by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship must also be borne in mind.  In 1984, the Congregation offered the following additional guidance on this issue: “In the celebration of Mass, precedence is always to be given (“præcedentia semper danda est”) to the feast of precept [holy day of obligation], regardless of the ranks of the two consecutive feasts….”  This rule appears to have been established as a way of serving the pastoral needs of the faithful who attend evening Masses and expect to celebrate the Sunday liturgy, thus fulfilling their obligation.

To return to the particular question at hand, inasmuch as the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God falls on a Monday in 2018 and is, therefore, not a holy day of obligation, evening Masses on December 31, 2017 should celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family.  This is due to the fact that the solemnity of Sunday is always observed as a holy day of obligation, while the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God is not in this case.  The following chart summarizes these points:

Saturday, December 30, 2017 *Sunday, December 31, 2017 Monday, January 1, 2018
Masses after 4pm Masses throughout the day Masses throughout the day
Feast of the Holy Family Feast of the Holy Family Solemnity of Mary,

Mother of God

*=Holy Day of Obligation in the 2017-2018 liturgical year

A related issue concerns the fulfillment of one’s obligation to attend Mass on consecutive feast days, and whether a person can satisfy both obligations by attending Mass on the evening of the first day.  Clergy and other parish staff may find themselves asked this very question in the coming months as it relates to the successive celebrations of the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas on Sunday and Monday in 2017.  In a recent statement on this topic, the USSCB’s Secretariat of Divine Worship noted that, in such cases, the prevailing view of a majority canon lawyers is that each day of obligation must be fulfilled with a separate Mass.

Read more in our September newsletter.

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