The USCCB’s Divine Worship Secretariat recently announced the approval and imminent publishing of a number of new liturgical books, along with several others which have been newly translated. At the same time, the Secretariat also offered updates concerning the ongoing work of editing and translating other ritual texts. Given that the archdiocesan Liturgy Office frequently receives these kinds of questions concerning the publication status of liturgical books, a summary of the USCCB’s recent announcements is given here as a service to our readers:
- A Hymnal for the Breviary was approved by the USCCB in November 2019. Included within the Latin editio typica altera of the Liturgy of the Hours is a theologically rich corpus of 294 hymns preceding the various Hours. The earliest works come from the fourth century, such as the frequently used Te Deum and a number of hymns composed by Saint Ambrose and Prudentius. These texts have been newly translated into English and will appear in the forthcoming revised Liturgy of the Hours. Most hymns in the Latin Liturgia Horarum and their new English translations are set in Long Meter (8 8 8 8), and are suited both to Gregorian chant melodies and many recognizable hymn tunes. Because the revised translation of the four-volume text of the Liturgy of the Hours is not expected to be completed for several years, the new hymn text translations will be published in late 2021 for the immediate study and use of the clergy and faithful. The USCCB is also investigating the possibility of administering the hymns via OneLicense, so that these new texts can be easily inserted into worship aids.
- Relatedly, the revised Liturgy of the Hours project is currently estimated to be completed by 2024.
- A revised translation of the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults [OCIA] was approved by the USCCB in November 2019. This text is currently being rearranged from the format of the Latin editio typica to match that of the current US edition, while also preserving some current USA practices, such as the combined rites and the administering of the Oil of Catechumens during the Preparation Rites rather than at the Easter Vigil. In a related project, the USCCB’s Office of Canonical Affairs is working on a revision of the National Statutes on the Catechumenate, and these will be implemented at the same time as the revised OCIA text. The new version of the National Statutes may be shorter than the current text, since experts have observed that not all the items were particular only to the United States.
- The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has confirmed the revised translation of the ritual book Ordination of a Bishop, of Priests, and of Deacons for liturgical use in the United States. Approved by the USCCB at its June 2019 plenary meeting, the text was confirmed by the Holy See on February 22, 2021, and received by the USCCB in mid-March. The USCCB’s Secretariat of Divine Worship is finalizing its customary editorial review of the text, and it is expected that this ritual book will be published later this year. The revised text must be used as of the First Sunday of Advent (November 28), 2021.
- In 2017, the USCCB published the first English translation of Exorcisms and Related Supplications, which continues to be available for purchase by bishops, exorcists, and others designated by a bishop. While this ritual book is intended for exorcists, it includes an appendix of prayers for use by anyone. Accordingly, a small paperback volume containing this appendix, titled Prayers Against the Powers of Darkness, was also published in 2017. In consultation with theological experts in this area of pastoral care, USCCB Communications has recently published an expanded prayer book designed for general use. Prayers to Protect Us: A Collection of Prayers, Litanies, Hymns, and Readings contains “a variety of material meant to strengthen both the mind and the heart in the struggle against evil.” This new book includes a foreword from Hartford Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship, and is available for $21.95 at the USCCB’s online bookstore and at other online retailers.
- The draft text of the Bendicional, or Spanish-language Book of Blessings, is currently being revised by the USCCB’s Divine Worship Secretariat in light of several changes requested by the Holy See that would align this text more closely with the US English version of the Book of Blessings. A bilingual version of the text is not anticipated, as the resulting book would be of a very large size and too cumbersome for ritual use.
- The Lectionary for Masses with Children was granted an interim approval for three years in 1992, but this permission has long since expired. Notwithstanding, the USCCB’s Divine Worship Secretariat has clarified that the text may continue to be sold and also used in Masses with children.
- Lastly, a new translation of the Order of Penance will be voted on by the USCCB at their June 2021 meeting. The latest version of the text prepared by ICEL includes some slight differences to the Prayer of Absolution, the Act of Contrition, and other texts. The Order of Penance is not a ritual book that is used very frequently by priests, but the praenotanda of the rite is theologically rich, and it is hoped that the publication of the newly revised translation may serve as an opportunity for renewed reflection on this text and a revived catechesis on the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation.