The publication of the revised edition of the General Instruction (GIRM) and of Celebrating the Mass (CTM) provides an opportunity for refreshing and deepening ministers’ understanding of the liturgy, principally of the Mass, but also more generally.
It also is an occasion for considering how a deeper liturgical formation might be provided for the whole assembly.
Sacrosanctum Concilium emphasised that ‘in the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy the full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else, for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit. Yet it would be futile to entertain any hope of realising this unless pastors of souls, in the first place, themselves become fully imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy and attain competence in it.’ SC 14.
Such competence is not gained in the initial training provided in seminaries, or in a once only reading of something such as the General Instruction. This are foundations that need to be built on by continuing study and reflection on experience. It is far from easy to find sufficient time, for significant study and sufficient reflection. That is why from time to time there is advantage in such initiatives as the present ‘Year of the Eucharist’ and the encouragement to take every advantage of the opportunity for renewal presented by the publication of the General Instruction and Celebrating the Mass.
Different communities will find themselves in different situations.For that reason a wide range of different formation materials have been prepared.
In what follows the examples are a series of imaginary parish communities. However it should be remembered that although parish priests have a particular responsibility for liturgy in their parish, they are in the first place to respond to the guidance of their Bishop, who has responsibility for the celebration of the liturgy throughout the diocese entrusted to his care. (SC 41; GIRM 22, 387; CTM 21, 26) It is doubtless best for a general process of ‘renewing the renewal’ to be carried out under the auspices of the Bishop, and guidance of his Liturgy Commission. A certain consistency in practice within a Diocese is desirable.That said there will of course be occasions when initiatives are taken within a particular parish or local deanery.