Blessed Damien de Veuster on USA National Calendar
On December 20, 1999, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, confirmed the November 1999 decision of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops to place Blessed Damien Joseph de Veuster on the USA National Calendar with the rank of optional memorial. A translation of the decree of confirmation follows:
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Prot. N. 2741/99/L
The United States of America
At the request of His Excellency, the Most Rev. Joseph A. Fiorenza, Bishop of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in letters received in November 1999, in virtue of the faculties granted to this Congregation by the Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II, we joyfully grant that the annual celebration of Blessed Damien Joseph de Veuster, priest, may be inserted into the Calendar of the dioceses of the United States of America on the fifteenth of April, fixed with the grade of optional memorial.
All things to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, on the twentieth day of December l999.
Jorge A. Cardinal Medina Estevez
A copy of the liturgical texts for Mass on April 15th may be found on the liturgy page of the NCCB website (www.nccbuscc.org)..
Liturgical Texts for Blessed Damien Joseph De Veuster
As reported above, the feast of Blessed Damien Joseph De Veuster has been inserted into the Proper Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America on April 15th with the rank of optional memorial. The following Opening Prayer, originally approved by the Sacred Hearts Community and confirmed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on May 3, 1994, may be used at such Masses:
Father of mercy,
in Blessed Damien
you have given a shining witness of love
for the poorest and most abandoned.
Grant that, by his intercession,
as faithful witness of the heart of your Son Jesus,
we too may be servants of the most needy and rejected.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.
This year, the optional memorial may be observed on the Saturday before Passion Sunday. The Prayer Over the Gifts and the Prayer After Communion may be taken from the Common of Pastors. Likewise, the Scriptural readings may be taken from the Common of Pastors in the Lectionary for Mass, numbers 719-724.
The Baptismal Garment
In recent months the Secretariat for the Liturgy has received several inquiries concerning the baptismal garment for adults. The common practice in the dioceses of this country is to use an alb or other white garment, though the practice of using a colored garment or even a chasuble or dalmatic has begun to appear in some places. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults describes the optional clothing of the neophyte with the baptismal garment immediately following baptism. The garment is described as white or some other color according to local custom (RCIA 220). The General Instruction of the Roman Missal is quite clear that since vesture symbolizes the function of the one who wears it (GIRM 297), the chasuble is reserved for priests and the dalmatic for deacons (299, 230). Other ministers may wear albs or, by local custom, the cassock and surplice.
Thus it would seem that the most appropriate vesture for neophytes would be a white garment, probably in the shape of an alb or choir robe. If a baptismal garment is not specially created, an alb or white choir robe could appropriately be used. In no instance should those who are not ordained be vested in chasuble, stole or dalmatic.
Options in the Roman Missal
On February 7, 2000, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, responded to an inquiry from Bishop David E. Foley, Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama, concerning the choice of various options at Mass. The Roman Missal provides many instances in which the priest is encouraged to choose among several options according to pastoral circumstances. Bishop Foley's questions arose from the teaching of some persons that in certain instances only one of the options is truly in keeping with the Church's liturgical tradition. The first of these instances concerns the allegation that the option of celebration ad orientem "is a theologically preferable and more orthodox choice for a priest who wishes to be true to the Church's authentic tradition." The second instance concerns the view that the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) is "more orthodox" than the others. These views are described by Cardinal Medina respectively as "incorrect" and "without any foundation." Excerpts from Cardinal Medina's letter (Prot. No. 2321/99/I.) are provided here for the benefit of our readers.
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Prot. N. 2321/99/I.
The United States of America
As regards the position of the celebrating priest at the altar during Holy Mass, it is true as Your Excellency indicates that the rubrics of the Roman Missal, and in particular the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, foresee that the priest will face the body of people in the nave while leaving open the possibility of his celebrating towards the apse. These two options carry with them no theological or disciplinary stigma of any kind. It is therefore incorrect and indeed quite unacceptable that anyone affirm, as Your Excellency sums up this view, that to celebrate towards the apse "is a theologically preferable or more orthodox choice for a priest who wishes to be true to the Church's authentic tradition."
Your Excellency's second question concerned the three Eucharistic Prayers introduced into the Roman Rite by Pope Paul VI by means of a decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites on 23 May 1968. In answer to the assertion that "only the Roman Canon is really orthodox...the other Eucharistic Prayers are heterodox, or at least of dubious theological, liturgical and ecclesial value", and that "in the light of the perceived inadequacy of the other Eucharistic Prayers, the priest celebrant (should) always use the Roman Canon, whether he celebrates in Latin or in the approved vernacular", it must be said firmly that such a view is in direct conflict with the position of the Holy See, as Your Excellency has rightly understood. The three Eucharistic Prayers in question are each to be considered lawful and the liturgical law of the Church establishes no gradation with respect to their orthodoxy. There is, therefore, no question of the First Eucharistic Prayer or Roman Canon being "more orthodox" than the others and such an idea is without any foundation.
A distinction could be made rightly between the different Eucharistic Prayers with respect to their appropriateness for pastoral use in different circumstances and in the setting of different liturgical celebrations. As is clear to Your Excellency, the varying length of the Eucharistic Prayers, the fact that the Fourth Prayer has an invariable Preface, that special embolisms and intercessions are given for different feast days and circumstances in this or that Prayer, all make for a happy variety that allows the Bishop or priest celebrant to make appropriate pastoral choices for the good of the people, opting for one or other Eucharistic Prayer with its variant internal parts. While the First Eucharistic Prayer is a venerable text which deserves all respect, having been in continuous use for perhaps a millennium and a half, the other three Eucharistic Prayers are also in one way or another ancient, and in any case are worthy of the veneration and deep respect of priests and faithful. To suggest otherwise is at the least erroneous and irresponsible. The Second Eucharistic Prayer represents a liturgical tradition, found in the early centuries in Rome and diffused in distant lands. The Third Eucharistic Prayer enjoys a rich history with its origins in the Hispanic or Mozarabic Rite. The Fourth Eucharistic Prayer, likewise, is of venerable origin, being based upon the Antiochene tradition.
Meeting of the Hispanic Liturgy Subcommittee
Members of the Hispanic Liturgy Subcommittee met in Houston Texas on January 22-24, 2000 under the chairmanship of Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla. Among the items discussed by the Subcommittee were final editorial revisions in the Bendicional, the Spanish language edition of The Book of Blessings which was approved by the NCCB in November 1999. The Bendicional will now be sent to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for the requisite confirmation.
The Subcommittee also reviewed the Ritual de Exequias Cristianas, the Spanish language Funeral rite which was confirmed by the Holy See several months ago. Editorial recommendations were also formulated for a bilingual edition of the Exequias which will mirror the Order of Christian Funerals. It is expected that the Exequias will be ready for presentation to publishers within the near future. Finally, a recommendation was made to the NCCB Committee on the Liturgy regarding the Spanish language translation of the Scriptures to be employed in future editions of liturgical books for the United States of America. This recommendation will be considered by the Committee at its March 13, 2000 meeting in Washington D.C.
Monsignor Aime-Georges Martimort died in Toulouse, France on January 20, 2000. At the time of his death he was living at the residence which Archbishop Garone founded for the elderly clergy of Toulouse. Monsignor Martimort was founder and Director of the Center for Pastoral Liturgy in Paris from 1946-1964 and later director of the Catholic Institute of Toulouse; the author of numerous works including The Church at Prayer; a peritus to the Preparatory Commission during the Second Vatican Council and for the Consilium as well as a consultor to the Congregation for Divine Worship from before the Second Vatican Council until the time of his death.
Monsignor Martimort always kept in mind Pope Pius XII's address to participants to the Congress of the Liturgical Movement in 1956: "The liturgical movement appears as a sign of God's providential plans for the present time, as a visit of the Holy Spirit to his Church, in order to bring human beings ever closer to the mysteries of faith and the riches of grace that flow from the active participation of the faithful in liturgical life."
from one generation to the next
you have been our refuge and strength.
Before the mountains were born
or earth came to be,
you are God.
Have mercy now on your servant Aime-Georges
whose long life was spent in your service.
Give him a place in your kingdom
where hope is firm for all who love
and rest is sure for all who serve.
(Order of Christian Funerals, no. 398.37)