Sunday celebrations of the word and hours.It is starting to happen. The priest shortage This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject.
Please help recruit one or [ improve this article] yourself. See the talk page for details. has become so acute that some churches now have a priest for Mass on only an occasional weekend. What do the people do on the other weekends?
One answer is to have a deacon or lay leader do the readings and give Holy Communion (or readings only) with the associated Mass prayers. Of course, one omits the Eucharistic Prayer (containing the Offertory offertory [Lat.,=offering], in the Roman Catholic Mass and in derived liturgical forms, the preparation of bread and wine on the altar and their formal offering to God. It takes place after the gospel and the creed and before the preface. and Consecration). Since only the priest may say "The Lord be with you" and give his blessing, these elements must be omitted or modified.
In 1988, the Holy See published a six-page Directory for these "Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest" (henceforth, "SC Vatican"). Paragraph 36 (of 50) tells us to find, "as a rule," the texts and readings in the Missal missal [Lat.,=of the mass], in the Roman Catholic Church, liturgical book containing all directions and texts necessary for the performance of Mass throughout the year. (Sacramentary) and Lectionary lec·tion·ar·y
n. pl. lec·tion·ar·ies
A book or list of lections to be read at church services during the year.
[Medieval Latin l . The National Liturgical Office (NLO NLO Next-to-Leading Order
NLO Nonlinear Optics
NLO Nobody Likes Onions (website)
NLO National Liaison Officer
NLO Naval Liaison Officer
NLO National Labor Office
NLO NETg Learning Object
NLO No Load Operation ), on the other hand, has seen fit to publish a four-hundred-page book for this, with no readings but plenty of prayers, entitled Sunday Celebrations of the Word and Hours (henceforth, SC Canada). We now examine these two. SC Vatican is included as part of the "Pastoral Notes" in SC Canada at pp. vi-xi.
The first thing to notice is the enormous size of SC Canada, even though it contains none of the readings. It has 43 pages of dense "notes" (including the 6 of SC Vatican), each averaging about 55 lines per page, and about 20 words per line. This runs to about 42,000 words, not counting a few thousand more in the rubrics scattered throughout the book.
A competent reader-minister could learn from a qualified priest in one or two short sessions how to lead a priestless Sunday service. But who will persevere in ploughing through this huge book? It is designed for enthusiastic specialists, not for ordinary parish helpers. It recalls the equally humungus Canadian Funeral Ritual, and the Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA RCIA Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
RCIA Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults
RCIA Retail Clerks International Association
RCIA Richmond Creative Investors Association
RCIA Request for Clarity, Information & Assistance ) published in Canada. These were 318 and 450 pages respectively. Their official Vatican Master Editions were only 90 and 185 pages, which is about 35%.
What is more, the Sunday Celebration book is not even necessary, as everything essential is already in our existing missals and lectionaries. We seem to be facing a new ballooning of liturgicalism in which the books become so wordy and bulky in their mega-contents that only an elite of intellectual sacristans and gung-ho readers will succeed in mastering them.
Another difficulty with studying SC Canada is the small print size in the study edition (a photo reduction of the main edition). One helpful detail is the provision of "summaries" of the service, on pp. 202 and 254. These show the whole service at a glance.
The term Hours in the title of SC Canada needs explaining. The "Hours" are the various portions of the breviary bre·vi·ar·y
n. pl. bre·vi·ar·ies Ecclesiastical
A book containing the hymns, offices, and prayers for the canonical hours. or divine office or "liturgy of the hours
Before the readings
The "home-made" principle is applied likewise to the prayers beginning and ending the Sunday word service (readings). Those before the readings are: the Liturgical Greeting (an invitation to praise), Introductory Remarks (a fervorino), the Opening Rite (choice includes a penitential rite In the Roman Catholic Church, the Penitential Rite is a part of the Introductory Rites of the Mass. The Penitential Rite is a time of reflection on one's sins and a prayer for God's mercy. , Gloria, Kyrie, a Litany, Asperges asperges (əspûr`jəs), ceremonial sprinkling of the people with holy water by the priest before the Sunday High Mass in the Roman Catholic Church. , and more), and the Opening Prayer (Collect, the one found in the Missal). All of these, except parts of the two last-named, are "home-made" by Ottawa, or by ICEL ICEL International Committee on English in the Liturgy
ICEL International Consortium for Experiential Learning
ICEL International Committee for English in the Liturgy (International Commission on English in the Liturgy
The International Commission on English in the Liturgy ), the body that translates the official Latin Liturgy, and also attempts to create new prayers and rubrics. Most, if not all of these prayers etc., are not approved by the Vatican and represent steps away from the world-wide Catholic identity of our liturgy toward a Canadianized substitute. True, a non-Mass Sunday service is not strictly bound to the Roman Missal. But the Roman Directory (SC Vatican) says, "the prayers. . .for each Sunday, are, as a rule, to be taken from the Roman Missal. . .In this way, the faithful. . .will follow the liturgical year and will pray. . . in communion with the other communities of the Church" (n.36). Now SC Canada has created a substantially original "Canadian" set of prayers for each Sunday. In addition, the many options are somewhat bewildering be·wil·der
tr.v. be·wil·dered, be·wil·der·ing, be·wil·ders
1. To confuse or befuddle, especially with numerous conflicting situations, objects, or statements. See Synonyms at puzzle.
2. , and may defy that familiarity and memorization that liturgy traditionally requires and displays.
After the readings
After the readings, SC Canada calls for the following: Homily/Reflection (no texts supplied), Creed (Nicene or Apostles'), General Intercessions (seven sets are provided, for the seasons), Proclamation of Praise (a prayer of thanksgiving), the Lord's Prayer (usual), the Sign of Peace (as in the Mass, but with a home-made invitation), Announcements, Collection, Blessing (one of seven expansions, in three or four lines, of "May God bless us"), and Dismissal (much as in the present Missal: "Go in the peace of Christ.").
Here again, the principle of Canadianization is promoted, alongside familiar "Roman" elements. One prayer of praise, pp. 244-5, has 16 verbs in the wrong person: O God, who forgives us. . . (wrong), instead of O God, who forgive us. . .(right): (Oh God, you who forgive us). This is a common error, but unacceptable in a ritual. Numerous other "prayers of praise" are supplied (pp. 223-2246), some of which are "closing hymns," some psalms, some various Scripture passages, and some home-made. The Gloria is included. The sets of intercessions are home-made, not Roman, rather preachy preach·y
adj. preach·i·er, preach·i·est
Inclined or given to tedious and excessive moralizing; didactic.
preach and moralizing mor·al·ize
v. mor·al·ized, mor·al·iz·ing, mor·al·iz·es
To think about or express moral judgments or reflections.
1. To interpret or explain the moral meaning of. , and leave this writer uncomfortable.
A minor element in this book is a certain nervousness about the leader-minister. SC Vatican emphasizes he is "one among equals," who carefully avoids any confusion with priesthood in what he says or does, and rather faces front, not the people, when he is on duty. SC Canada seems bolder in promoting this leader (him or her). One wonders if the National Liturgical Office personnel might like to see married or female priests in the Church one day, drawn from the ranks of lay people who will be learning presently to use this volume. SC Vatican says these services "should not take away but rather increase the desire of the faithful to take part in (an actual Mass) and. . .more eager to be present at (Mass)" (n.22). The Directory asks that Mass be provided at least several times a year to priestless churches (n.26); that the bishop set norms for the priestless celebrations (n.24); supervise them through a person or committee; and choose those who promote them (n.26). It favours the expression celebrations in the absence of a priest, or in expectation of a priest, over without a priest. SC Canada discusses these angles at length in the CCCB CCCB Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
CCCB Central Christian College of the Bible (Missouri)
CCCB Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)
CCCB Child Care Choices of Boston Pastoral Letter, esp. nn. 18-22, on p. xvii.
After a year or so, a report on the actual use of this book would be helpful to the National Office of Liturgy, and illuminating to parishioners and clergy.