National Meeting of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions
Each year the USCCB Committee on the Liturgy and the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions co-sponsor a national meeting of diocesan liturgical personnel. This year the national meeting will be held at the Omni-Shoreham Hotel in San Antonio, Texas from October 7-11, 2003 and will commemorate the fortieth anniversary of Sacrosanctum concilium.
Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, will deliver the keynote address on Wednesday, October 8th. The Conference will also include a report from Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., chairman of the Committee on the Liturgy, and major presentations by Sister Joyce Ann Zimmerman, C.PP.S., Monsignor Kevin W. Irwin, and Dr. Richard Gaillardetz and workshops by a number of prominent liturgists and pastoral ministers.
In a letter to all Bishops, dated July 3, 2003, Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., chairman of the Committee on the Liturgy, reflected on this important meeting:
“Pope John Paul II has described the liturgical renewal as “the most visible fruit of the whole work of the Council.” (Vicesimus Quintus Annus, no. 12) Please join me in praying that by this commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of Sacrosanctum concilium, Bishops and their liturgical advisors may recommit themselves to an ever more faithful implementation of the conciliar vision.”
Further information on this meeting, as well as registration forms, can be found at: http://www.fdlc.org/home.htm.
Dance and the Liturgy
In the course of their meeting on June 17-18, 2003, the Bishop members, consultants, and advisors of the Committee on the Liturgy considered the question of dance and the Liturgy.
Recalling the recently revised General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), the Committee was conscious of the need to take “due regard for the nature and the particular circumstances of each liturgical assembly, [so that] the entire celebration is planned in such a way that it leads to a conscious, active, and full participation of the faithful both in body and in mind….” (GIRM, no. 18) Particular note was taken of the attention paid by the new Roman Missal to gestures and movements at the Mass, which “ought to contribute to making the entire celebration resplendent with beauty and noble simplicity, so that the true and full meaning of the different parts of the celebration is evident and that the participation of all is fostered.” (GIRM, no. 42)
The “nature and the particular circumstances” (GIRM, no. 18) of certain ethnic communities was also considered, particularly by Catholic immigrants from Zaire, where dance has been approved as a part of the liturgical books of their native land. The importance of a careful observance of the rubrics of such books in regard to the quality and role of dance in the Sacred Liturgy was emphasized by several of the Bishops.
The place of dance in the liturgy in other parish Masses, however, was examined in the light of the 1975 “qualified and authoritative sketch” published by the Holy See in the journal Notitiae. The article prescribes that in western cultures, dance “cannot be introduced into liturgical celebrations of any kind” and that when dances outside of the liturgy are envisioned, they may take place only “in assembly areas that are not strictly liturgical.”
Recalling the large number of liturgical issues before them and the fact that only a limited number can be adequately prepared for presentation to the Congregation at any given time, the Committee decided not to pursue the question further at this time. At the same time, the Committee cited the need for further scholarly studies of a “historical, anthropological, exegetical and theological” (Varietates legitimae, no. 30) nature which might explore forms of movement which might be found to serve as an appropriate part of processions, which do not take on the appearance of spectacle per se, and which accompany the liturgy, rather than interpret it.
July Meeting of the International Commission in English in the Liturgy
The Episcopal Board of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy met from July 29-31, 2003 at the office of the ICEL Secretariat in Washington D.C. In the course of the meeting the Episcopal Board considered the latest revision of an English language translation of the Ordo Celebrandi Matrimonium, which is expected to be presented for an initial review to all English speaking conferences within the next year.
ICEL also reviewed progress on translation of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia. A report was heard on the wording group on the rubrics of the Missale Romanum, which has completed an initial review and revision on the entire Missal. Much progress was reported in the development of base translations of the Missal, and the translation of the Order of Mass was discussed at some length.
The Episcopal Board also approved new ICEL Statutes and has submitted them to Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, for the requisite recognitio. Copies of the Statutes were also sent to the Presidents of the Member Conferences of Bishops.
Despite the light of the extraordinary resources demanded for a timely translation of the Missale Romanum, ICEL has begun to commission translations of De Exorcismis et Supplicationibus Quibusdam, the Martyrologium Romanum, and non-biblical readings for the Office of Readings from the Liturgy of the Hours for saints recently added to the universal calendar.
In the light of the many projects at hand, the Episcopal Board has decided to meet more frequently in the near future and will next meet in early January and late July in Washington D.C. ICEL also discussed the possibility of hosting a meeting of National Liturgy Secretaries of its member conferences at the English College in Valladolid, Spain from February 8-11, 2004.
Meeting with Mexican Liturgical Personnel
On July 17, 2003, Bishop José H. Gómez, Auxiliary Bishop of Denver, and Sister Doris Mary Turek, SSND, Staff Advisor on Multicultural Liturgy to the Secretariat for the Liturgy, met with the staffs of the liturgical offices of the Mexican Conference of Catholic Bishops in Mexico City on behalf of the Secretariat for the Liturgy and the Hispanic Liturgy Subcommittee. Following an explanation of the current projects of the respective liturgy offices and an exchange of current publications, a wide range of common initiatives were explored in the light of Ecclesia In America, which encourages the collaboration of the Conferences of Bishops in America. The Secretariat for the Liturgy is grateful to Reverend Victor Sánchez, Executive Director of the Mexican Liturgy Secretariat, Reverend Pedro Ignacio Rovalo,S.J., editor de Actualidad Litúrgica, Reverend Alberto Arranda, M.Sp. S., Editorial Board, Actualidad Litúrgica, Reverend Elias Basila, S.J., editor, Obra Nacional de la Buena Prensa, A.C., and Reverend Cristobal Orellana, Editor, Obra Nacional de la Buena Prensa, A.C. for their generous participation in these meetings, convened at the suggestion of Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on the Liturgy and Bishop Mario de Gasperín, Bishop of Querétaro, and President of the Comisión Episcopal de Pastoral Litúrgico of the Conferencia del Episcopado Mexicano.
News From the Instituto Nacional Hispano de Liturgia
On August 12-15, 2004 the Instituto Nacional Hispano de Liturgia will celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary in the city of Los Angeles. Information on this national gathering will be forthcoming after the lnstituto's upcoming Board meeting at the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio, Texas, where the Instituto was born in 1979. Please, mark your calendars now!
The Instituto has also released its first Directorio with information about pastoral agents committed to the liturgy for Hispanics throughout the United States. You may order a copy of the Directorio at a cost of $5.00, plus shipping and handling from: Rev. Juan J. Sosa at 9200 SW 107111 Avenue, Miami, Florida 33176 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Anniversary Book on John Paul II Focuses on the Liturgy
Liturgical developments in the life of the Church during the pontificate of John Paul II will be one theme treated in a forthcoming book commemorating his 25th anniversary as pope. John Paul II: A Light for the World, a 256-page book containing informative essays, reflections by U.S. bishops and cardinals, and photos by official Vatican photographers, will be published early this Fall by Sheed & Ward.
In “Liturgy from the Heart,” Monsignor James Moroney, Executive Director of the USCCB’s Secretariat for the Liturgy, provides a retrospective of the liturgical contributions of Pope John Paul II. Throughout his pontificate, the Pope has exhorted priests to allow prayer to be the defining “rhythm” of their lives. In his continued reform of the liturgical books begun at the Second Vatican Council, the Pope has demonstrated, according to Monsignor Moroney, that it is – as written in the revised Roman Missal – “his primary task to foster the spirit of the Sacred Liturgy in priests, deacons, and the faithful.” The Pope’s very posture during prayer, writes Monsignor Moroney, reveals that “this moment at the altar is the center of life, the act that gives meaning to everything else.” Featuring rich full-color photos from the very beginnings of John Paul II’s papacy to the present day, A Light for the World includes a foreward by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, an introduction by USCCB President Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, and a biographical sketch by John Thavis, Rome Bureau Chief of Catholic News Service.
Over 40 informative essays by USCCB staff cover such topics as the Pope’s travels, liturgy, outreach to the poor, vocations, social teachings, ecumenism, public policy, bioethics, and doctrine. Personal encounters with the Pope are recalled in over 20 essays written by U.S. bishops and cardinals. The book also contains a timeline of John Paul II’s papacy and a list of encyclicals and key writings. John Paul II: A Light for the World is edited by Sister Mary Ann Walsh, RSM, Deputy Director for Media Relations at the USCCB.