I warmly welcome the publication of these three documents and the opportunity for ‘renewing the renewal’ of the liturgy called for by the Second Vatican Council and so recently requested by the late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II.
Every week, many thousands of times, in the parishes and communities of England and Wales, the Mass is celebrated. The Second Vatican Council called this Mass, the source and summit of the Christian life.
How often have we said that old adage, ‘It is the Mass that matters’? Essentially we say that because in the Mass we are not focused on what we do, or we say, but what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. It is His Word, His Sacrifice, His Presence, remembered, re-focused, re-presented on the altar, the salvation and hope of the world.
My own hope and prayer is that of the late Holy Father, that in this Year of the Eucharist there will be an increase of faith, devotion, reverence, care and celebration of the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist.
If there is to be such a renewal of these things it will be in large part be led by the initiative and dedication of the priests of the Church. I urge them to make the celebration of Mass not only their daily obligation, but part of their daily prayer, and personal devotion and study. As their reverence and love for the Mass grows, together with their knowledge and understanding of how the Church asks for the Mass to be celebrated, so they will be all the better able to lead the People of God in fruitful celebration of the Mass.
I urge too the whole Church, young and old, to take time to reflect on the contribution they can make to the worthy celebration of the Mass. Through their reverence and love for the Mass each one can make a contribution, both those who exercise particular ministry and all those who gather as members of the Body of Christ.
The revised General Instruction to the Roman Missal, prepared by the Holy See; Celebrating the Mass, a document of our own Bishops’ Conference and the material for small group study and reflection, With Hearts and Minds, produced by the Liturgy Office, have something to offer us all. I hope the Church in England and Wales will take full advantage of them.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor
Archbishop of Westminster
President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales