Yesterday I led my third Roman Missal workshop in the Diocese of Raleigh. Our task force was appointed by Bishop Michael Burbidge under the direction of the Office of Worship to chart a course for the implementation of the Roman Missal for the diocese. These workshops for faith formation directors, catechists, youth leaders, and parish liturgical ministers followed on an earlier workshop for diocesan clergy as the first stage of formation in the diocese. Each of the full-day Roman Missal workshops being offered in various locations throughout the diocese consist of three DVD presentations on liturgical catechesis (outline below) by fellow task force member, Monsignor Michael Clay (D.Min. in liturgical studies, CUA), and a fourth and final piece addressing the new text itself (PDF below) based on the earlier presentation I gave at the Catholic Convocation in October. Full videos of Monsignor Clay’s presentations will be available online once our final diocesan workshop is completed (March 19). In the latter I included the ICEL chants available from NPM to accompany most of the texts as well as some sample new Mass settings played over lunch.
Open discussions and the evaluations from the 100 participants at Thursday’s workshop at my home parish and the 40 additional from yesterday indicated that there remain no small number of questions in choosing musical settings for the sung parts of the Mass, no little concern with the task of catechizing whole parishes about consubstantiality, and some anger. Yet most participants (greater than 90%) expressed a sense of appreciation for the larger and rich context of liturgical theology and the exposition of the new texts with their scriptural, historical, linguistic, and theological implications by means of which most voiced their positive reception of the revised texts to which they were introduced.
I am not unaware that such a reception of these Roman Missal workshops does not necessarily predict a positive reception of the text itself in November. I am also not unaware that this initial positive evaluation of the text and the workshop stands in sharp contrast to most of the sentiment expressed on Pray Tell. With those caveats, I would suggest that the key to the positive response to the three workshops I have facilitated thus far has been the result of the decision our task force made to not simply present the text of the Roman Missal but rather to use this as an opportunity to invite the faithful to consider more deeply how the liturgy brings us into interaction with the living presence of God—something the liturgy does regardless of the particular language or translation. Cast in that light the textual changes are placed in a derivative position of considerably relative importance.
Outline of the first three presentations:
- To Whom Do We Pray: An Evangelical Theology
- Trinitarian Overview
- Paschal Mystery
- Liturgical Theology
- As Whom Do We Pray: Liturgical and Ecclesial Spirituality:
- Principles of Liturgical Spirituality
- Communio Theology
- Cultural influences that impact the people who worship
- Diakonia: A Theology of the Door
- Why It Matters How We Pray: Ritual Prayer
- Lex Orandi Lex Credendi: An Overview
- Grieving Change
- Kenosis Spirituality
- Obedience as a Virtue