WASHINGTON (August 11, 1997) -- The General Secretariat of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) announced that the Bishops have approved submission of Volume I of the Lectionary for Mass to the Vatican for Confirmation. They also approved establishment of a new permanent National Collection for the Home Missions.
Both "action items"--and another liturgical matter involving a substitute text--were voted on by the Bishops at their general meeting in Kansas City in June. Because they did not receive the necessary two-thirds majority, the voting on these proposals was inconclusive so the General Secretariat sent mail-in ballots to those bishops who were not present.
All three proposals have been approved with more than the number of votes required.
At the June meeting, the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy asked the de iure Latin Rite members of the NCCB to approve "the submission of Volume I of the Lectionary for Mass for use in the dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition, to the Apostolic See for confirmation, and authorize, after a period of five years, a full review of the Lectionary with a view to its possible updating." A total of 174 votes was needed for passage. According to the final tally, announced by NCCB General Secretary Msgr. Dennis M. Schnurr in an August 8 letter to the Bishops, this proposal passed by a vote of 199 to 50.
The action item to approve the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy substitute text for the Ecce formula passed by a vote of 192 to 48. The Ecce formula refers to the words spoken by the priest as he shows the Body and Blood of Christ to the assembly before the reception of Communion. This, too, will require the subsequent confirmation of the Holy See, as do all liturgical matters.
The Committee on the American Board of Catholic Missions (ABCM) asked the Bishops in June to approve a new and permanent National Collection for the Home Missions. The Bishops established the Mission Sunday collection in 1924, specifying that sixty percent would go to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith for the missions overseas, while forty percent would support the missions in the United States and its dependencies. In 1993 the Bishops agreed to decrease the ABCM share from forty to twenty-five percent between 1995 and 1999, and its future thereafter was uncertain.
Approval of the establishment of a new permanent National Collection for the Home Missions required 130 votes for passage (two-thirds majority of the diocesan bishops and those equivalent to them in law). The final vote for this proposal was 141 to 44.