At its Low Week meeting the Bishops Conference of England and Wales gave permission for work to begin in preparing a new translation of the Lectionary for Mass using the New Revised Standard Version translation of the Scriptures. Guidance for this important work has been provided by the Holy See in the recent Instruction Liturgiam Authenticam. Steps are presently being taken to ascertain whether, as in the past, other English-speaking conferences will wish to collaborate with the Bishops of England and Wales in this task. If so, a new mixed commission for this work will be established by the Congregation for Divine Worship. The hope is that any such new edition of the Lectionary will begin to be published at the same time as the English translation of the Roman Missal. That translation is presently being prepared for the Bishops consideration by ICEL.
The Bishops also commended the work done by Fr Peter McDonough and his collaborators in the Catholic Deaf Association in preparing Signs of God, a lectionary for Sundays and feastdays for use at Masses celebrated for the Deaf community. The first two volumes, for years A and B of the 3 year Lectionary cycle have already been published by Redemptorist Publications. The third volume will be available later this year. This resource is the first of its kind in the world, and the initiative has received a very warm welcome from many quarters.
Permissions with regard to the preparation of the General Instruction for use in England and Wales, as requested by the Holy See, are still awaited. Publication of the General Instruction and the various formation materials prepared by the Department to assist its full implementation is expected during the autumn of 2003.
Ecclesia de Eucharistia
Promulgated at the Mass of the Lords Supper this year, Pope John Paul IIs Encyclical speaks with passion and love of the Eucharist which contains the Churchs entire spiritual wealth: Christ himself, our Passover and living bread, gifted to the Father and shared with the Church. Key sections consider the dignity proper to Eucharistic Celebrations and the particular role of Mary, Woman of the Eucharist in guiding the Church to a deeper understanding of the sacrament. The Department will be preparing materials to assist parishes to engage with the teaching of this Encyclical.
Vox Clara welcomes recent ICEL initiatives
Vox Clara, the Committee of Bishops called to assist the Congregation in its work of considering the translation of liturgical texts met from March 12-14 in the Vatican. The Congregation for Divine Worship noted that The committee considered a draft of a document, termed a ratio translationis, describing the specific application to the English language of the principles contained in Liturgiam Authenticam, Additionally, the committee examined translations of select parts of the Missale Romanum with a view toward providing the congregation with texts that might be considered exemplars of liturgical translations that conform to Liturgiam Authenticams criteria.
In particular, the committee was pleased to hear of recent initiatives by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy to assure the effective application of the principles of Liturgiam Authenticam to the processes and principles underlying the timely translation of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, into the English language.
Marriage with a conscience
The Archdiocese of Milan is promoting simple marriage celebrations that highlight ways of celebrating the sacrament of marriage alert to the needs and circumstances of society at large and as an ideal occasion to manifest concrete love for the needy.
Suggestions for include renting reception premises from a social cooperative for the prevention of juvenile delinquency, or having a dinner catered by a relatively low-cost agricultural cooperative. A social cooperative enables marginalized persons to assist with the production and distribution of wedding invitations and booklets.
The archdiocese suggests the names of wedding-gift stores that, in addition to conducting an ethical business, contribute to the funding of development projects in the Third World.
Instead of buying an expensive wedding dress, brides can rent a dress from the Community and Family Association.The honeymoon can be planned with a care for social issues too: Recommended travel agencies in Milan conduct responsible tourism in Brazil or Venezuela.
Divine Mercy Indulgence
The Apostolic decree giving full details of the indulgences recently attached to this devotion are available from the Department website.
Readers of the last Liturgy Newsletter might have thought wed made faster progress than expected with the NRSV Lectionary for England and Wales. Churchill Systems are advertising a new NRSV lectionary available from them on CD-Rom from Churchill. It is not the Lectionary approved for use in the Catholic Church in England and Wales, but an NRSV edition of the revised Common Lectionary prepared for the use of the Church of England and used now by various Christian denominations. This Lectionary has many things in common with the Roman Rites Lectionary for Mass, but also departs from it in a good many ways. Progress is being made with our NRSV Lectionary, but not that fast!
ACE Awards 2003
The Art and Christianity Enquiry (ACE) Trust is inviting for a series of significant awards. The Awards are the first of their kind in this country to recognise good practice in responding to the challenges of creating and enhancing spaces for Christian worship and for school communities. The winners of the Awards will be announced on 26th November 2003 at the Royal Society of Arts, London
Specially commissioned art and architecture are vital to the living heritage of the churchs worship. The judging panels will be looking for theological imagination and artistic excellence in equal measure. Awards are offered for:
- a Commissioned Artwork in Ecclesiastical Space
- Religious Architecture,
- gardens reflecting spiritual and community values
Entries close on 30th June, 2003 and the winners of the Awards of £3,000 each will be announced from a shortlist of three at a special event on 18th November, 2003.
ACE have also recently appointed their first Loans to Churches Project Officer, Paul Bayley. He is anxious to hear from interested parties within the art world and from places of worship interested in taking part in a temporary loan scheme.
Religious Festivals of the World Religions
Each year, on the occasion of the Festivals of the Major World Religions, the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, sends out a letter of greeting to each Bishops Conference for circulation to members of the relevant Faith. These beautifully crafted letters are, in essence, meditations on shared values and aspirations. They invite an ideal response to topical issues such as the promotion of peace, family values, the dignity of the person and the value of human life and the importance of education as the key to promoting religious freedom and respect for people of different religious traditions.
Three times a year on the Buddhist Feast of Vesakh, the Hindu Festival of Diwali and the Muslim Festival of Id al-Fitr, the Committee for Other Faiths circulates each letter of Greeting to all the Bishops and, with an accompanying letter from Bishop Kevin McDonald, Chair of the Committee, to national bodies and to diocesan Inter-faith Co-ordinators, for more local circulation. Copies of the texts of these letters may be obtained from the Committee.
Through this outreach these greetings are now reaching an ever wider audience and are well received and appreciated.
Clearly, personal contact is by far the most effective means of reaching people though this is not always possible. Feedback suggests that the Greeting is proving to be an extremely valuable means of making and fostering relationships with members of Other Faiths.
Often parishioners undertake to share this greeting with faith communities situated in their parishes. It is a simple and effective way to assist in promoting a culture of dialogue at local level. .