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Liturgy Newsletter

February 2006


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International Commission for the preparation of an English Language Lectionary
The Holy See has granted the request of the Bishops’ Conferences of England and Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Australia and agreed to the establishment of an International Commission (ICPEL) to prepare a fresh translation of the Lectionary for Mass. The Holy See has agreed that the NRSV translation should be used as the basis of the new edition. The NRSV translation will need a certain amount of adaptation so that it conforms to the expectations of the Church as presented in Liturgiam authenticam.

Bishop members will shortly be appointed to ICPEL by the sponsoring Conferences. Their first task will be to appoint an Executive Director and confirm how the work is to be carried out. The work of the Commission will be two fold, both to prepare a revised translation for the approval of Bishops’ Conferences, and to make proposals also concerning the layout of the new edition.

It is expected that at least the Sunday Lectionary will be produced in time to be published alongside the new English translation of the Missal.

Following the publication of the Lectionary an edition of the Bible using this same translation will be prepared for use in private reading of the Scriptures and for catechetical use.

November meeting of Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Meeting at Hinsley Hall, Leeds, the Bishops Conference reviewed the most recent proposals of ICEL regarding the translation of the Ordinary of the Mass. Their comments have been passed to the Bishops of ICEL to assist them in the preparation of a final ICEL text. This text will then be sent to all member Conferences for their further consideration, approval and/or amendment, as Bishops consider necessary. Bishop Roche, Chairman of ICEL advised the Bishops that work is well underway at ICEL in preparing the first draft translations of the Seasonal material from the Missal. The Department for Christian Life and Worship met during the meeting of the Bishops’ Conference. Items on its agenda included the promotion of good liturgical formation for the Church in England and Wales (including liturgical ministers), proposed guidelines for concelebration, and the continuing pastoral challenge presented by Holydays.

Annual reports from the Department for Christian Life and Worship and its committees are published on the Department’s website.

First Holy Communions
In October, at the time of the Synod on the Eucharist Pope Benedict invited children who had celebrated their first Holy Communion in 2005 to join him for a celebration in St Peter’s Square. The celebration included a question and answer session.

The transcript of this is available.

Podcasting offers an important new way for pastors to reach contemporary Christians through their digital jukeboxes. It is already offered by Vatican Radio and Church Resources,

The Italian magazine La Civilta Cattolica has urged that the Church should not pass up the opportunity to make liturgies and prayers available via podcast, as well as downloadable sermons by ‘pod-preachers’.

Podcasting allows individuals to download audio or video files from the Internet to their iPod or other digital device, for listening or viewing at a later time. Users can subscribe to podcasts and have episodes delivered automatically to their computer and digital player.

The popularity of podcasting has generated a subcategory called ‘Godcasting,’ which refers to efforts by churches, preachers and religious media to tap into the digital communications boom.

The response to the service offered by Vatican Radio has been very enthusiastic. The highest number of downloads so far has been for Pope Benedict XVI’s interview with the radio in August.

Potential podcasters may find assistance in thinking about what and how they record in Televising the Mass: Guidelines for Broadcast Worship available on the Liturgy Office website. Guidance on copyright implications of broadcasting music and texts can be obtained from Decani Music (01842 819 830) and CCLI (www.ccli.co.uk)

Celebrating Sunday Evening Prayer
Parish celebration of Sunday evening prayer was strongly encouraged by Vatican Council II (SC 100). Celebrating Sunday Evening Prayer is a resource to help parishes to do this. It offers an alternative form to that in the Divine Office, genuinely liturgical, retaining and developing the celebratory aspects, but in a slightly simpler form and encouraging the fullest use of liturgical space, symbol, music and silence. Further details will be provided in the next Liturgy Newsletter.

Monsignor Frederick R. McManus RIP
Mgr Frederick McManus, died on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2005, at the age of 82. He was at the forefront of liturgical renewal in the English speaking Church.

He was ordained in 1947 as a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston. From 1959 to 1962, and from 1964 until 1965, he was president of the United States’ Liturgical Conference.

Monsignor McManus was involved in many stages of the conciliar renewal of the Liturgy. He was a consultant to the Pontifical Preparatory Commission on the Sacred Liturgy (1960-1962) and a peritus at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). He served as a consulter to three groups involved in the implementation of the Council: the Consilium for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy, the Pontifical Commission for the revision of the Code of Canon Law) and the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. He was the first Executive Director of the USCCB Secretariat for the Liturgy, serving as a staff consultant to the US Conference’s Secretariat for the Liturgy after 1975. He was a member of the Advisory Committee of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy from ICEL’s formation in 1964 until 2001.

The Monsignor Frederick R. McManus Award was established in January 1995 by the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions to honour individuals or organizations which had made a significant contribution to the field of pastoral liturgy in the United States of America. Mgr. McManus was himself the first recipient of this award.

His writings on liturgy and Canon Law are extensive, notably in Worship, Studia Liturgica, and The Jurist.

A recent letter confirming the norms governing the celebration of the Liturgy by the Neo-Catechumenal way has been widely reported. The letter affirms a number of practices - for example the admonitions before readings, confirms the existing indult for the exchange of the Sign of Peace after the celebration of the Word. It urges that there should be no confusion between testimonies by the faithful and the homily which is proper to the priest or deacon. It also notes the permission for a ‘dialogue’ during the homily. The Cardinal has asked that once a month the communities of the Neocatechumenal Way should participate in Sunday celebrations of the Mass with the rest of the parish community.

The reporting of the letter has not always been well informed. Commonly the letter has been interpreted as a rebuff to the Neocatechumenal Way. In fact the letter was issued following a series of meetings in which the particular formation offered in the Neo-Catechumenal Way was affirmed by bishops around the world, and at a meeting of Roman dicasteries.

At an audience on 12th January Pope Benedict confirmed that the norms detailed in the letter from Cardinal Arinze had been prepared precisely to assist the Neocatechumenal Way in its evangelising activity, especially through the way in which it ensures that its catechetical formation prepared people for the celebration of the liturgy and the liturgy for their living of their faith. The full text of Cardinal Arinze’s letter which establishes the norms for the liturgies of the Way now that the previously approved ‘experimental period’ has concluded, may be read on the Liturgy Office website.

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