Holydays of Obligation

With effect from the 1st Sunday of Advent 2017, two holydays of obligation are being reinstated. This decision was made by the Bishops of England and Wales, and has been confirmed by the Holy See. The days are:

  • The Epiphany of the Lord — 6 January (transferred to the adjacent Sunday when it falls on Saturday or Monday)
  • The Ascension of the Lord — Thursday after 6th Sunday of Easter

The Holydays of Obligation for England and Wales are therefore:

  • According to a decision of the Bishops’ Conference (1984) Holydays which fall on Saturday or Monday are transferred to the Sunday.

The Bishops decided to retain the decision made in 2006 for the Body and Blood of the Lord to be transferred to Sunday as it allowed for Eucharistic Processions and other devotional practices to be celebrated.

For further information:

The place of silence

The fruit of silence is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is faith.
The fruit of faith is love.
The fruit of love is service.
The fruit of service is peace.

These words of St Teresa of Calcutta are a reminder of the importance of silence. The Liturgy Committee of the Department for Christian Life and Worship has produced a document The Place of Silence  which explores how silence is an integral part of any liturgical action. It looks, in particular, at the celebration of Mass and how silence is expected in different ways.

 

CDF Instruction on Cremation and the Burial of Ashes

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released on 25 October 2016 an Instruction on Cremation and the Burial of Ashes. The document is called Ad resurgendum ad Christo — To rise with Christ. It reiterates Church teaching about death and resurrection, in particular the preference for burial  but allowing the practice of cremation.

In England and Wales the majority of funerals lead to cremation – and the figures suggest that this is the pattern for Catholics too. The concern of the Instruction is the need for the cremated remains to be ‘laid to rest’. In England and Wales this will usually mean burial. The Instruction notes that it is not part of Catholic tradition or practice for ashes to be scattered, nor to be preserved in jewellery or mementos.

The Department for Christian Life and Worship previously issued guidance on the Burial of Ashes in 2008 and also placed the liturgical texts for the interment of ashes on the Liturgy Office website.

Shaping our Worship – JLG Conference October 2016

JLG-2016The Joint Liturgical Group of Great Britain is an ecumenical body with members appointed from across the denominations. It has been in existence for over 50 years and has provided a forum for the sharing of news, the development of texts for use by member bodies and reflection on common issues.

In October 2016 it is hosting a Conference in Leeds on Shaping our Worship taking as its starting point the quotation of Winston Churchill ‘We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.’ This idea will be used to reflect on various aspects of liturgy and liturgical formation.

  • Shaping our Worship
  • 25 – 27 October 2016
  • Hinsley Hall, Leeds
  • Further details

Liturgical Calendar 2017

The monthly Liturgical Calendar for 2017 has now been published. As with each iteration of the calendar the year has its uncommon features. As the Epiphany of the Lord falls on Sunday 8 January, the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on Monday 9 January. The current Lectionary does not make clear that when a Feast of the Lord is celebrated on a weekday there is only one reading before the Gospel, in line with other Feasts — either first or second reading may be chosen. Therefore, this year, when the Transfiguration of the Lord does fall on a Sunday it has 2 readings before the Gospel.  Two Solemnities are transferred: St Joseph to Monday 20 March, St George to Monday 24 April.

Draft Calendar Notes for 2018 (pdf) are available.

The Congregation for Divine Worship recently published a list of additions to the Lectionary, mainly those Saints which have been added to the Universal Calendar. An English version of the list is available with references to the current Lectionary.

Forthcoming Liturgical Translations

In the document on translation Liturgiam Authenticam it is expected that the translation of all current liturgical books is revised. For English-speaking Bishops’ Conferences this work is done by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). Since the publication of Liturgiam Authenticam  in 2002 the first translation to be revised was the Roman Missal (2010) and this highlights another aspect of this process. For a number of liturgical books there has been a new Latin edition since the text was translated into English. So, therefore, the Roman Missal is the 3rd edition.

This year has seen the publication of the next two rites to be translated: Confirmation and Matrimony.

The translations are prepared by ICEL and reviewed by the bishops in two stages. The stages are referred to by the colour of the cover of the text. The Green Book is a text for review and comment. These are sent back to ICEL who then produce the Grey Book. This text is intended for voting on by the bishops. Any changes to the text have to be voted on separately. Once voting is complete the text  is sent to the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome and will eventually given recognitio.

The following list gives the texts currently under review in the order they are being considered. It is difficult to offer a timescale for the various books but as an indication the Green Books for Confirmation and Matrimony were first received in 2012.

  • Order of Dedication of a Church and an Altar
  • Exorcisms and Certain Supplications
  • Liturgy of the Hours
    • Supplement — celebrations added to Universal Calendar since publication
    • Partial revision (So far Green Books have been received for Advent–Christmas, Lent–Easter etc. which have translations of the Office Hymns, Intercessions and Magnificat & Benedictus Antiphons
  • The Order of Blessing the Oil of Catechumens and of the Sick and of Consecrating the Chrism
  • Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest
  • Order of Christian Initiation of Adults
  • Order of Baptism of Children
  • Rites of Ordination

In addition to this preparation is also being done on a new publication of the Lectionary.

Feast of St Mary Magdalene

Fra Angelico - Noli me tangereOn Friday 10 June the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments announced that the celebration of St Mary Magdalene on 22 July had been raised to a Feast. The decree recognises St Mary Magdalene as first witness to the Resurrection and the first evangelist. Called by St Thomas Aquinas  an ‘apostle of the apostles’.

The Decree can be found on the Vatican website. The Latin decree includes a new Preface for the feast which will be translated into English in due time.

90th Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen

The Bishops’ Conference establishes that, at all Sunday Masses on 11–12 June 2016, each parish prays for Her Majesty the Queen to mark her 90th birthday by including such an intention in the Bidding Prayers and by reciting at the end of Mass (after the Prayer after Communion and before the Final Blessing) the Prayer for the Queen.

Parishes may also wish to sing the chant Domine, salvum fac and/or the National Anthem.

The Prayer for the Queen and additional resources are available here.

Recent Additions

The following resources are now available on the Liturgy Office website:

Calendar Notes 2017

The annual Calendar Notes for 2017 are now available as well as the draft Notes for 2018:

Easter Vigil: Sacraments of Initiation & Rite of Reception

With the publication of the Order of Confirmation which comes into  use at Easter 2016 this may affects the celebration of the Easter Vigil where Confirmation takes place. As a guide for celebrants the text of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults: Appendix I has been updated with texts from the Roman Missal and the Order of Confirmation. 

Spirituality Resources for the Year of Mercy

The Spirituality Committee of the Department for Christian Life and Worship has produced a series of leaflets reflecting on the Parables of Mercy in the Gospel of Luke. These meditations can be used by both individuals and groups and based on the format of the Bishops’ document on Spirituality Do you love me.

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