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Online Edition - October 2004

Vol. X No. 7

NEWS & VIEWS

CDW Issues Handbook for the Year of the Eucharist -- A Tale of Two Conferences

CDW Issues Handbook for the Year of the Eucharist

On October 14, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) published a document entitled "The Year of the Eucharist: Suggestions and Proposals", responding to an idea advanced by Pope John Paul II in his October 7 Apostolic Letter Mane nobiscum Domine. The document was not available in English at press time, but it will be posted on the Adoremus web site when it appears.

In Mane nobiscum Domine (29), the Holy Father wrote, "The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments will not fail to provide some helpful suggestions and proposals. I do not ask, however, for anything extraordinary, but rather that every initiative be marked by a profound interiority".

He said if there is a "revival in all Christian communities of the celebration of Sunday Mass and an increase in Eucharistic worship outside Mass, this Year of grace would be abundantly successful".

The CDW handbook's Introduction notes that "barely a year after the conclusion of the Year of the Rosary, there is a new initiative of the Holy Father: The Year of the Eucharist from October 2004 to October 2005. There is continuity between these two initiatives and they are, in fact, within the framework of pastoral indications that the pope gave to the Church with the Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineuente, placing the face of Christ at the center of ecclesial commitments in the wake of Vatican Council II and the Great Jubilee".

The CDW handbook "does not pretend to be exhaustive", but offers "working suggestions" for parishes, dioceses and conferences. In its report the Vatican Information Service summarized several of these suggestions.

The CDW document encourages production of resources to promote reflection by priests and faithful on the Year of the Eucharist, and on doctrinal and pastoral problems such as lack of priests, low Sunday Mass attendance, abandoning Eucharistic adoration.

It suggests promoting national Eucharistic congresses and inviting universities, faculties and seminaries to explore this theme.

The handbook suggests that dioceses encourage knowledge of the saints who have a special relationship with the diocese; Perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; Eucharistic adoration for young people; focusing on the theme of the Eucharist in diocesan publications and other media.

The document highlights the importance of proper behavior when entering a church and helping parishioners to prepare themselves interiorly during Mass.

Parishes should promote Eucharistic worship and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, adoration and Eucharistic Benediction, the CDW says.

The document also emphasizes that Latin and chant should be part of the instruction in seminaries and houses of formation. It concludes by observing that "the success of this Year undoubtedly depends on the depth of our prayer. We are invited to celebrate the Eucharist, to receive it and to adore it with the faith of the saints.... This special year must help us to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist and to live by Him".

Source: Vatican Information Service

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A Tale of Two Conferences

Two major liturgical conferences were held in October: the annual convention of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC) and the other sponsored by the Liturgical Institute of Chicago. Both were addressed by bishops and officials of the Bishops' Committee on Liturgy (BCL) secretariat. Other than this, the two conferences had little in common.

The FDLC, an organization of diocesan liturgists that exerts powerful influence over both the BCL and diocesan bishops, represents the entrenched liturgical establishment. The FDLC has been vigorous and vocal in its resistance to recent liturgical documents from the Holy See, as their "resolutions" presented to the BCL and the speeches at their conventions have amply revealed.

Featured speakers at the annual FDLC convention, held October 12-15 in Orlando, were Erie Bishop Donald Trautman, former chairman of the BCL: "The Bishop: The Chief Priest and Liturgist of the Diocese"; Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, OSB, erstwhile secretary of the "English Desk" at the Congregation for Divine Worship, who addressed two "bishops-only" sessions on the use of the 1984 Ceremonial of Bishops; and Bishop Robert Lynch, of St. Petersburg: "The Relationship Between Diocesan and Parochial Liturgy".

Sister Kathleen Hughes, RSCJ received the "McManus Award" this year. She was a member of the advisory board of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) for fourteen years, and an adviser to the BCL (1982-87; 1993-96). She has taught Liturgy at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago since 1990. (Past Award recipients include Bishop Trautman and Liturgy Training Publications former editor Gabe Huck.)

One of the FDLC's proposed resolutions expressed alarm that new translations will halt the liturgical progress of the 1970s and 80s. The resolution, proposed by Region VII (Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, Provinces of Chicago, Indianapolis, Milwaukee), urges bishops "to promote a careful and deliberate process of translation so that the principles of full, active and conscious participation are not compromised by a hasty translation which jeopardizes the familiarity enjoyed by both the priest-celebrant and the people in their prayers and responses".

Fear of haste? Defending familiarity? From the same folks that for so long have urged change and innovation? Something is wrong with this picture. At the very least, this suggests that the old guard has lost its rhetorical advantage.

The second conference, "Authentic Liturgy -- Translation and Interpretation of Liturgical Texts" took place at Chicago's new Liturgical Institute October 27-29. Still in its infancy and finding its sea-legs, the Institute is part of the Chicago archdiocesan seminary and theological college, St. Mary of the Lake (Mundelein). Its aim is to provide professional liturgical training and formation for a new generation of liturgists and liturgical scholars. Its young faculty suggests the advancing "new era of liturgical reform", predicted by the Holy See's instruction on translation, Liturgiam authenticam. (That document signaled an enlivened commitment on the part of the Holy See to assure "authentic Liturgy" and dispel "shadows" that have obscured the Second Vatican Council's intentions. It received hostile reactions from establishment liturgists.)

Cardinal Francis Arinze addressed an earlier conference at the Liturgical Institute.

Cardinal Francis George, the US bishops' representative to ICEL and chairman of the BCL, addressed the conference; and its keynote speaker, Father Bruce Harbert, is secretary of the recently and thoroughly restructured ICEL, now overseeing the new Missal translation that so worries the FDLC.

There are grounds for hope that the Liturgical Institute's conference will set a welcome new standard for the future.

- hhh

***

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