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.

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 MissalExcerpts 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, 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

The 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
    • 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.