WASHINGTON (November 7, 2002) -- The nation's Catholic bishops will be asked to approve three items – a new translation of the ordination rite, a translation of the General Instruction of The Roman Missal, and a process for reviewing the Lectionary for Mass – when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meets here next week.
The Committee on Liturgy, chaired by Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb of Mobile (AL), will present the three action items for consideration.
- Ordination Rite Translation
The English translation of the rite of ordination for bishops, priests and deacons to be presented for the approval of the USCCB follows several years of work among the Holy See, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), and the English-speaking bishops' conferences which are members of ICEL. The final changes recommended by the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy were made to address questions of "precision and proclaimability." The translation is from the original Latin text of De Ordinatione Episcopi, Presbyterorum et Diaconorum. Subsequent confirmation of the USCCB's action by the Holy See is required.
- General Instruction of The Roman Missal
The Roman Missal is the book of prayer texts used for the celebration of Mass. In nine chapters, the introductory document – The General Instruction of The Roman Missal – treats various aspects of the Eucharistic celebration. Among the topics addressed in the General Instruction are "the importance and dignity of the Eucharistic celebration," the structure of the Mass, forms of celebration, the arrangement and furnishing of churches, and others. The General Instruction, for example, includes the directives on what vessels may be used for the consecration and distribution of the Eucharist as well as the postures – kneeling, standing, sitting – to be used at various points in the Mass.
The full membership of the USCCB will be asked to approve the English vernacular translation of the General Instruction of The Roman Missal for use in the dioceses of the United States. Subsequent confirmation of the USCCB's action by the Holy See is required.
- Review of the Lectionary for Mass
When the bishops approved the revised second edition of the Lectionary for Mass, the book of Scripture texts used at Mass, they also voted to review the Lectionary in five years. The Committee on the Liturgy will ask the bishops to approve a process for conducting that scheduled review. As proposed, the review will begin with a letter to all diocesan bishops asking that they each conduct a consultation in his own diocese of the diocesan liturgical commission, pastors, and readers. Once the diocesan consultations have taken place, the Liturgy Committee, in conjunction with the Ad Hoc Committee for the Review of Scripture Translations, will develop a report, with a list of possible changes, for consideration by the full USCCB.