Sunday of the Word of God

On the feast of St Jerome Pope Francis issued a ‘Motu Proprio” instituting the Sunday of the Word of God. It will be marked each year on the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time.

The Holy Father had proposed the idea at the conclusion of the Year of Mercy when he wrote: a Sunday given over entirely to the word of God, so as to appreciate the inexhaustible riches contained in that constant dialogue between the Lord and his people.

The document provides a summary of the Church’s teaching on Scripture and the place of Scripture within the Liturgy. It suggests a number of ways that the day might be marked:

  • in the Eucharistic celebration the sacred text be enthroned, in order to focus the attention of the assembly on the normative value of God’s word.
  • it would be particularly appropriate to highlight the proclamation of the word of the Lord and to emphasize in the homily the honour that it is due
  • Bishops could celebrate the Rite of Installation of Lectors or a similar commissioning of readers, in order to bring out the importance of the proclamation of God’s word in the liturgy
  • renewed efforts should be made to provide members of the faithful with the training needed to be genuine proclaimers of the word.
  • Pastors can also find ways of giving a Bible, or one of its books, to the entire assembly as a way of showing the importance of learning how to read, appreciate and pray daily with sacred Scripture, especially through the practice of lectio divina. 

The timing of the day will mean that it will often coincide with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and is at the same time as commemorations for Holocaust Memorial Day. Pope Francis notes this:

This Sunday of the Word of God will thus be a fitting part of that time of the year when we are encouraged to strengthen our bonds with the Jewish people and to pray for Christian unity. This is more than a temporal coincidence: the celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God has ecumenical value, since the Scriptures point out, for those who listen, the path to authentic and firm unity. [3]

He also addresses the concern that individual days of prayer can seem to highlight something which should be part of the normal life of the Church.

A day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event but rather a year-long event, for we urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the risen Lord, who continues to speak his word and to break bread in the community of believers. [8]

The text of the document together with other resources on Scripture and Liturgy are available.

The God who Speaks

The Pope’s Motu Proprio happily coincides with the Bishops of England and Wales announcing a Year of the Word — The God who Speaks to be celebrated from the First Sunday of Advent 2019.

3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Sunday between 21 January – 27 January

Lectionary Readings for 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Year A

Reading 1Isa 8:23b–9:3In Galilee of the nations the people have seen a great light.
PsalmPs 26:1. 4. 13-14 r. 1The Lord is my light and my help.
Reading 21 Cor 1:10-13, 17Make up the differences between you instead of disagreeing among yourselves.
Gospel AcclamationMatt 4:23Jesus proclaimed the Good News of the kingdom, and cured all kinds of sickness among the people.
Matt 4:12-23He went and settled in Capernaum: in this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled.
GospelMatt 4:12-17He went and settled in Capernaum: in this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled.

Year B

Reading 1Jon 3:1-5, 10The people of Nineveh renounce their evil behaviour.
PsalmPs 24:4-9 r. 4Lord, make me know your ways.
Reading 21 Cor 7:29-31The world as we know it is passing away.
Gospel AcclamationMark 1:15The kingdom of God is close at hand; believe the Good News.
GospelMark 1:14-20Repent and believe the Good News.

Year C

Reading 1Neh 8:2-6, 8-10Ezra read from the law of God and the people understood what was read.
PsalmPs 18:8-10, 15 r. John 6:63Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life.
Reading 21 Cor 12:12-30You together are Christ’s body; but each of you is a different part of it.
shorter1 Cor 12:12-14, 27You together are Christ’s body; but each of you is a different part of it.
Gospel AcclamationLuke 4:18The Lord has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives.
GospelLuke 1:1-4; 4:14-21This text is being fulfilled today.

Day of Prayer for Survivors of Abuse – 12 April

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) has highlighted the importance of prayer and suggested to Pope Francis that the worldwide Catholic Church should join together in a day of prayer. The Holy Father has welcomed this initiative.

In the Cycle of Prayer for England and Wales, this day is marked every year on the Friday of the fifth week of Lent.

On Friday 12 April the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales is encouraging the Catholic community to take part in a day of prayer for survivors of sexual abuse.

A number of resources have been produced for the Mass on Friday, 12 April and for prayer and personal reflection.

Reading Luke in Lent

For Lent this year the Bishops’ Conference is reading the Gospel of Luke. Each day there will be a podcast available to download. Starting on Ash Wednesday with Chapter 1 the series will conclude in Easter week with Chapter 24 and the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. There will be a compilation of the week’s readings available on each Sunday. Along side the audio it will be possible download the text each day with some questions for reflection and a prayer.

For downloads and further information.

St Paul VI added to liturgical calendar

Canonisation of St Paul VI
© Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk

In a Decree dated 25 January 2019 the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments add St Paul VI to the General Roman Calendar on 29 May as an Optional Memorial.

The Decree cites the achievements of his pontificate.

Among these initiatives we ought to recall his voyages as a pilgrim, undertaken as an apostolic service which served both as a preparation for the unity of Christians and in asserting the importance of fundamental human rights. Furthermore, he exercised his Supreme Magisterium favouring peace, promoting the progress of peoples and the inculturation of the faith, as well as the liturgical reform, approving Rites and prayers at once in line with tradition and with adaptation for a new age.

The Congregation has issued:

  • a Decree
  • a Commentary
  • the Liturgical texts in Latin

ICEl will prepare an English translation of the liturgical texts which will be presented to the Bishops’ Conference in due course.

Copies of the documents and an indication of the Readings can be found on the May Sanctoral page on the Liturgy Office website.

Liturgy Study Guide



The Study Guide to Catholic Liturgy, published by SCM Press, has been a project the Liturgy Formation Subcommittee of the Department for Christian Life and Worship. It was recognised that an introductory ‘text book’ to Liturgy would be useful in many areas of the Church’s life, including those preparing for ordination, priestly and diaconal, lay liturgical ministers, catechists and teachers in Catholic schools. The book is intended to offer a foundation in Catholic liturgy through a consideration of key principles and then an exploration of the Sacraments and other rites of the Church. The subcommittee drew together liturgists and theologians with academic and pastoral backgrounds. This is reflected in the text which offers both a grounding in the theology of each rite also looks at the celebration of the liturgy and some of the pastoral issues which arise. Each chapter contains Questions for Reflection and the book concludes with a Glossary and a Further reading list.

To support the text there is a dedicated part of the Liturgy Office website: Study Guide to Catholic Liturgy

There is also a podcast introduction to the book with Bishop Alan Hopes, Martin Foster and Peter McGrail.

The contents of the book are:

Part 1 Principles of Catholic Liturgy 

  • The Roman Rite – Peter McGrail
  • Catholic Theology of the Liturgy – Peter McGrail
  • Fundamentals of Liturgy – Martin Foster

Part 2 The Sacraments 

  • Catholic Sacramental Theology – Richard Conrad, OP
  • Christian Initiation of Adults – Caroline Dollard and Peter McGrail
  • Christian Initiation of Children – Caroline Dollard
  • The Celebration of the Eucharist – Stephen Dean and Martin Foster
  • The Theology of the Holy Eucharist – Richard Conrad, OP
  • Sacraments at the Service of Communion – Martin Foster and Peter McGrail
  • Sacraments of Healing – Martin Foster and Peter McGrail

Part 3 Beyond the Sacraments 

  • Funerals – Andrew Downie
  • Times and Seasons – Jonathan How and Martin Foster

Calendar 2018-2019

The monthly calendar pages for 2018 – 2019 are now available.

One particular date has been queried by a coupe of people and may be helpful to explain the reason behind. Next year the Solemnity of St George in England will fall on Tuesday 30 April. The rules governing the transfer of dates are explained in the Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year – (pdf text). Next year the usual date for St George (23 April) falls in the Easter Octave. The eight days of the first week of Easter are celebrated as Solemnities of the Lord and take precedence over other celebrations. This means that other celebrations, such as the Feast of St Mark (25/4), are not celebrated next year. Solemnities, because of their importance are transferred to the next available day.

This is explained in paragraph 60:

if several celebrations fall on the same day, the one that holds the highest rank according to the table of liturgical days is observed. however, a solemnity impeded by a liturgical day that takes precedence over it should be transferred to the closest day not listed under nos. 1-8 in the table of precedence, provided that what is laid down in no. 5 is observed.

Paragraph 5 9s about the pre-eminence of Sunday, particularly in Advent,Lent and Easter. Nos. 1-8 of the table of precedence are:


  1. The Paschal Triduum of the Passion and Resurrection of the lord.
  2. The Nativity of the Lord, the Epiphany, the Ascension, and Pentecost. Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter.
    Ash Wednesday.
    Weekdays of Holy Week from Monday up to and including Thursday. days within the Octave of Easter.
  3. Solemnities inscribed in the General Calendar, whether of the Lord, of the Blessed Virgin Mary or of Saints.
    The commemoration of All the Faithful Departed.
  4. Proper Solemnities, namely:
    1. The Solemnity of the principal Patron of the place, city or state.
    2. The Solemnity of the dedication and of the anniversary of the dedication of one’s own church.
    3. The Solemnity of the Title of one’s own church.
    4. The Solemnity either of the Title
      or of the Founder
      or of the principal Patron of an Order or Congregation.
  5. Feasts of the Lord inscribed in the General Calendar.
  6. Sundays of Christmas Time and the Sundays in Ordinary Time.
  7. Feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the Saints in the General Calendar.
  8. Proper Feasts, namely:
    1. The Feast of the principal Patron of the diocese.
    2. The Feast of the anniversary of the dedication of the cathedral church.
    3. The Feast of the principal Patron of a region or province, or a country, or of a wider territory.
    4. The feast of the Title, Founder, or principal Patron of an Order or Congregation and of a religious province, without prejudice to the prescriptions given under no. 4.
    5. Other feasts proper to an individual church.
    6. Other Feasts inscribed in the calendar of each diocese or Order or Congregation.

So St George as the Solemnity of the principal Patron of the place, city or state.(4.1) is transferred to the next available day outside the Octave of Easter. Monday 29 April is the Feast of St Catherine of Siena, patron of Europe is ‘the Feast of the principal Patron of a region or province, or a country, or of a wider territory’ (8.3) and so the Solemnity of St George has to be transferred to Tuesday 30 April.

Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest & Calendar Notes

The Liturgical texts for the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest are now available. The Feast, which is celebrated on the Thursday after Pentecost, is Proper to England and Wales.

The following texts are ready for download:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest

  • Full text
  • Missal Texts
  • Lectionary Texts
  • Office texts

Also available on the same page is information about the new Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church. on the Monday after Pentecost.

This information is also included the annual Calendar Notes for 2019 and the draft notes for 2020.

Chrism Mass & Adoremus Resources II

Chrism Mass

The Bishops’ Conference has received confirmatio from the Holy See of a new translation of the Order of Blessing the Oil of Catechumens and of the Sick and of Consecrating the Chrism. The text has been sent to bishops and will be used at diocesan Chrism Masses this Holy Week. The oils are blessed before the beginning of the Paschal Triduum on Maundy Thursday evening so that they may be used for the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil. As the main prayers are a rich resource for liturgical catechesis these texts are available for download, as is the translation of the hymn O Redemptor and some notes on the celebration.

Adoremus Resources II

Further resources to assist parishes prepare for Adoremus Eucharistic Congress and Pilgrimage and celebrate the Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass are now available:

  • Celebrating the Liturgy of the Hours as part of Adoration — the Office of Corpus Christi
  • Time before the Blessed Sacrament — a series of leaflets prepared by the Spirituality Committee reflecting the various ways we physically participate in adoration.

Adoremus – Resources

The bishops of England and Wales will hold Adoremus, a National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and Congress in Liverpool 7–9 September 2018.

To assist parishes in their preparation for this event the Liturgy Office is preparing a series of resources both to help with the celebration of Exposition of the Holy Eucharist and to deepen people’s understanding. The first set of resources is now available, these include:

  • Exposition of the Holy Eucharist: the text of the rite, a guide to celebration, musical resources and a list of scripture readings on the Eucharist
  • How Holy this Feast: material for small groups with time for reflection and prayer.
  • Links to other resources is also given

Adoremus Resources

Bishops’ Conference November 2017 – Magnum Principium

The Bishops at the November 2017 plenary meeting made the following statement:

The Bishops’ Conference welcomes the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio Magnum Principium and the affirmation of the role of the Bishops’ Conference in the oversight of the Liturgy.

We are grateful to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for the guidance it has given to Conferences of Bishops that the Motu Proprio concerns future liturgical translations and cannot be applied retroactively. We look forward to the further assistance of the Congregation in its implementation.

We will continue to work with ICEL in preparation of the translations of the liturgical books so that the “sense of the original text is fully and faithfully rendered” and that the translations “always illuminate the unity of the Roman Rite”.

The Bishops’ Conference also approved the ICEL Grey book translation of Liturgy of the Hours: Lent & Easter.

See Catholic News for further Bishops’ Conference resolutions

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