Liturgy Newsletter — November 06




The Word of God in the Life
and the Mission of the Church

Benedict XVI has convoked the 12th ordinary session of the Synod of Bishops, and has said that the theme of the Synod is to be sacred Scripture and its relationship to the activity of the Church. The Synod will take place in the Vatican from 5–26 October 2008. It will be the second synod presided over by Benedict XVI. The Holy Father presided over the synod on the Eucharist last October, which had been convoked by John Paul II.

It is reported that the post-synodical apostolic exhortation from the Synod on the Eucharist is to be published shortly, perhaps before the end of 2006. The preparation of this text has been entrusted by Pope Benedict to a group of Synod members who have met regularly to develop a text for the approval of the Holy Father.

Work continues…
Roman Missal

The Bishops of England and Wales have recently completed their consideration of the two new sections of the translation of the Roman Missal being prepared by ICEL.

The bishops have reviewed the first drafts of the translation of the Proper of Seasons, and the Proper and Commons of Saints. Their comments on the translations have been forwarded to ICEL to assist the bishop members of ICEL and their collaborators to prepare their final proposed translations of these texts.

It is anticipated that by the middle of next year first drafts of all the Missal texts will have been received and reviewed by the Bishops’ Conference. ICEL is presently preparing revisions of its translations to take account of comments received from the various English-speaking Bishops’ Conferences and those revisions will be submitted to Conferences during 2007. Once a Bishops’ Conference is satisfied with the translation it must confirm its approval by a formal vote and then submit the translation to the Holy See for its recognitio. Only then can arrangements begin to be made for the publication and introduction of the new translation.

The complexity of the process is such no date can yet be fixed with confidence for the publication of the new translation.

The Lectionary for Mass

ICPEL, the body established by the Holy See at the request of a number of English-speaking Bishops’ Conferences to prepare a new translation of the Lectionary, met at Worth Abbey in September to continue its work.

The translation of the Psalter will be based on the Grail translation, and the translation of the rest of the Scriptures will be based on the New Revised Standard Version. However in both cases the revised translations are being prepared so as to accord with the requirements of the Holy See’s Instruction, Liturgiam authenticam, issued in 2001.

ICPEL is likely to submit its first draft translations to Bishops’ Conferences for their consideration early in 2007. It is intended that the revised translation of the Lectionary for Mass for Sundays will be published at the same time as the new translation of the Roman Missal. The translation of the remaining sections of the Lectionary will be issued as soon as possible thereafter.

Consecrated for Worship

In September the Bishops’ Conference published Consecrated for Worship, its new Directory on Church buildings and liturgical ordering. A seminar was held in Leeds to mark the event, which was attended by Bishops of the Department for Christian Life and Worship, members of the Liturgy Committee, members of Diocesan Liturgy Commissions and Historic Churches Committees and other invited guests.

Presentations were made by Dr Robin Gibbons on contemporary church ordering and design, and Mr Mark Cazalet, an artist, on the Church and the commissioning of new works of art. Welcoming the publication of Consecrated for Worship Bishop Arthur Roche, chairman of the Department for Christian Life and Worship said: Welcoming the publication of Consecrated for Worship, Bishop Arthur Roche, Bishop of Leeds and Chairman of the Bishops’ Conference Department for Christian Life and Worship said:

Consecrated for Worship is not intended especially to encourage a time of new church building and re-ordering. But where such work is to be undertaken this Directory is the authoritative text to inform and guide that work.
It will assist parishes and others prepare the brief for new work.

It is there to assist architects, designers, artists as they seek to address the brief they are given;

It is there to help all parties to evaluating the proposals that are made in response to briefs.

Consecrated for Worship will also be helpful in a less obvious, but equally important way. It will help clergy, catechists, teachers and others, in the work of helping people to understand and value the places and spaces in which we worship.

I think that as clergy and lay people have opportunity to read Consecrated for Worship they will find it awakens them to the rich symbolism that informs our churches and the things that are in them. They will learn anew that altars are not just tables; ambos not just lecterns and fonts not just something to hold the water. They will become freshly alert to the fullness of the meaning of these things, to the mysteries that they relate to, and that they relate us to.’