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Liturgy Newsletter

April 2004


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Spirit of the Season

News & Events

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In Memoriam - Archbishop Hurley
Reviews - Sacraments: meeting Christ
Essay Competition
Documentation - Working together

Coming Events

Society of St Gregory
Summer School 2004
New Hall School, Chelmsford
26–30 July 2004

National Network of Pastoral Musicians
2004 Conference
Newman College, Birmingham
29 July–1 August 2004
‘A meeting between Europe and Africa. What can we offer each other?’ Keynote speakers: Bishop Jon Sentamu of Birmingham, Tina Beattie and Fr Joe Koma-Koma, secretary of the Zambian Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
Register your interest in the Conference at 0845 456 8392 or with sue@decanimusic.co.uk

El Greco
11 February - 23 May 2004
National Gallery, London

Essay Competition

To celebrate the 125th Anniversary of The Ecclesiological Society it is organising a competition with a prize of £500 and a possible additional prize of £250 for those under the age of 25. The competition is open to anyone, and the deadline for entries in 30 June 2004.

Essays should be between 1500 and 3000 words long. There is no set title but essays should reflect the particular interests of the Society – that is, ecclesiology as the study and nature of church buildings and their furnishings. (Note this is not the more common meaning of ecclesiology in Catholic circles). Particular attention will be given by the assessors to those essays which look to the future, whilst relating it to the past – for example by addressing the roles and challenges of one or more aspects of church buildings and their furnishings in the twenty-first century, or discussing how church building should learn from what has gone before, or the way in which the past should shape the future in respect of church planning.

It is therefore unlikely that a purely historical study of an architect or building style would meet the assessors’ requirements in these respects, unless the author also reflected in some depth on the lessons to be drawn from the subject under consideration. Further details are available from the Society’s website www.ecclsoc.org

News from Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

The draft translation of the Ordo Missae prepared by ICEL for the English-speaking Conferences of the world has been presented to the Bishops of England and Wales for their consideration. There has been wide consultation on the text within Dioceses and with Consultative Bodies of the Bishops Conference. The text is very much at a preliminary stage, and a formal response to the present text will be agreed by the Bishops of England and Wales when they meet in plenary session at Ushaw in April. ICEL have undertaken to receive and respond to the matters raised by Bishops’ Conferences as soon as possible. It is presently expected that a further revision of the text will be submitted for Bishops’ consideration later this year.

Preliminary discussions have been held with Cardinal Arinze, Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments concerning the proposed revision of the Lectionary for Mass, based on the New Revised Standard Version translation of the Bible. It is hoped that the new Mixed Commission which will oversee this work as an agency of Bishops’ Conferences will be established shortly and be well under way with its work before the end of the year.

The Bishops’ Conference has had further discussions with the Holy See concerning its proposed edition of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 3rd edition. This has now been re-submitted to the Holy See for recognitio. It is hoped that this text will be approved in time for publication in the autumn.

Synod on the Eucharist

John Paul II has announced that the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will take place in the Vatican from October 2 to 29. Its theme is ‘The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church.’ The Synod provides an opportunity to the further exploration of themes presented in Pope John Paul’s recent encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia.

Preparation for the Synod will be assisted by the issuing of a ‘lineamenta,’ or outline, for the topic. This is sent to bishops worldwide to promote study, debate and prayer to prepare for and inform the meeting of the Assembly itself. Feedback from this process of reflection is passed to the Secretariat by Bishops and Episcopal Conferences and a final working document for the Synod is then produced.

After the Synod the participating Bishops send a summary of its conclusions to the Pope, to assist in his writing the postsynodal apostolic exhortation.

Pastoral Directory for Bishops

The Directory for Bishops, Ecclesiae Imago, published in 1973 has been updated in the light of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, the debates of the Synod of 2001 and Apostolic Exhortation ‘Pastores Gregis’ as well as profound changes that have taken place in society. The new Directory, Apostolorum Successores, has been published first in Italian and translations into other major languages are awaited.

The Directory is essentially pastoral and practical and is an instrument that seeks to help Bishops to fulfil their ministry in response to the needs of the Church and of today’s society, at the beginning of the third millennium, a time characterized by new challenges and problems, by great progress and sudden changes. It underlines the importance and role of the ministry of the Bishop in the life of the Church. It is recognized that the Bishop must be effectively an ‘ecclesial’ man and a man of communion involving priests, religious and the laity in the ensemble of the diocesan family. He is, in fact, the centre of unity of the local Church, with his ministry encompassing 3 essential pastoral tasks: being father and pastor of the diocese; teacher of the faith and announcer of the Word; and sanctifier of the Christian People

The Directory underlines the central character of the Liturgy in the life of the diocese, especially the celebration of the Eucharist. It addresses also such matters as the central character of Sunday, the importance of popular piety, and the dignity proper to churches and shrines.

The Laity – a sign of hope

Speaking to French Bishops on their recent ad limina visit Pope John Paul identified an awakening of the laity as a sign of hope in the midst of de-Christianization that France is experiencing.

He noted how this leads them to participate actively in their community, becoming conscious of the prophetic, real, and priestly dimensions of their baptism. Many have accepted with generosity to give themselves to parish life, taking on, under the pastor’s responsibility and respecting the ordained ministry, the evangelizing endeavour, as well as the service of prayer and of charity.

He paid tribute to these men and women, who in their lives must cope with ‘the indifference and scepticism proper to the environment’ in which they live and encouraged the Bishops to support the laity in their commitment and mission.

He focused on ‘the prophetic dimension of [the laity’s] witness in the world, in particular, ‘evangelizing the cultures’ to make ‘the force of the Gospel penetrate in the realities of the family, work, the media, sports, leisure and that it animate the social order and public, national and international life. For this witness to be fruitful, it is necessary that it be supported spiritually in the parishes and in (the new movements and ecclesial communities that have arisen in France).’

In this connection, the Holy Father emphasized the importance of “communion” between such diverse ecclesial realities. ‘May all have the constant concern to participate fully in diocesan and parish life, and to live in communion with the diocesan bishop.’

The Pope called for each Christian community to be distinguished by the ‘quality of hospitality and fraternity,’ especially in responding to the men and women who come to the Church to request baptism – in recent years, adult baptism has markedly increased in France – or the sacrament of matrimony, or the funeral or burial service of a relative.

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