Catholic Convocation studies the forthcoming Roman Missal

Yesterday I participated in the Catholic Convocation of the Diocese of Raleigh. The Sacred Liturgy: Proclaiming, Celebrating, and Witnessing to the Mystery of Christ focused on preparing the faithful for the reception of the forthcoming third edition of the Roman Missal.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory gave the keynote address in which he related his own story of coming to seek baptism in the Catholic Church through the witness of faith shown by those at the parochial school he attended in south side Chicago in order to remind us of the importance of being a witness to the faith. He shared heartfelt sorrow for the state of the Church especially in the United States where the sins of us within the fold make too ready of fodder for those who lay in wait to attack the Church. Scandal and ideological division not only within the Church but between fellow Christians, Archbishop Gregory noted, mark the Church in a different way than the days when he was drawn to the Church and make the ongoing work of evangelization all the more difficult. He urged the more than 800 faithful in attendance to hand on the spiritual heritage of the Church, the legacy of the mystics and the faith journeys of the saints who encounter God within the tradition, as a counter to those who find a sterile Catholicism lacking and seek meditation and contemplation elsewhere. He called upon the Church to lament our errors, to acknowledge before others and God our sorrow for our failures to be the witnesses, the light to the end of the world. He singled out increasing ideological polarization, that fractious intolerance that infects the Church I love with all my heart as particularly virulent. He also took sharp aim at condemning any bigotry levied against those of other faiths or those who, though not living in accord with the moral law the Church must continue to unambiguously take on social issues however unpopular they may be, remain God’s beloved children. But through it all Archbishop Gregory’s address echoed a note of hope as he called the Church in Raleigh, like that of Atlanta he oversees, to continue to share the wonder and joy of being Catholic in the deep south where the Christian faith is taken so seriously and where Catholicism, though a minority, has a vibrancy and remains in hyper-development mode which brings a facile energy to the mission of the Church to witness to the mystery of Christ.

Sister Doris Turek, SSND of the Secretariat for Divine Worship of the USCCB gave the simultaneous keynote address in Spanish while the day before she gave a workshop for diocesan liturgical leadership in which she gave a brief history of the translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal, an overview of the contents, and outlined strategies for liturgical catechesis and the implementation of the Roman Missal drawn especially from USCCB and FDLC resources. As part of our diocesan plan for the opportunity to engage in liturgical catechesis with renewed vigor in light of the forthcoming Roman Missal this presentation for liturgical leadership among the lay faithful was preceded by a two-day workshop, Mystical Body, Mystical Voice, given to the presbyterate two weeks ago. Today’s Catholic Convocation brought much of the same message and introduction to the lay faithful more generally.

As part of the diocesan task force called to assist Bishop Burbidge with the implementation of the Roman Missal, it fell to me to present both an historical overview of the Roman Missal as I lead nearly 150 people through a brief introduction to liturgical prayer as the communal act of the worship of the whole Body of Christ, a brief history of the liturgical book itself from the fifth century to the present, an introduction to and explanation of some of the revised texts, and finally a few suggestions for parish-based catechesis and implementation. Given the responses of the faithful gathered there, who were largely pleased with the forthcoming Roman Missal and the opportunities our diocese has planned for liturgical catechesis although there was some expected concern regarding the translation of pro multis, I have come to rather deeply believe that the forthcoming Roman Missal will indeed bring a deeper understanding of the liturgy, building on the great experience of that liturgical life Roman Catholics have experienced throughout the forty years of liturgical renewal inaugurated at the Second Vatican Council.

Of the more than thirty additional workshops offered, I was able to attend Beauty that Saves: Liturgy, Architecture, and Environment by Johan van Parys, who provided helpful hints and beautiful images for parish environment and art committees to work for liturgical renewal through the transformation of our worship space.

6 comments

  1. “Given the responses of the faithful gathered there, who were largely pleased with the forthcoming Roman Missal”

    A positive perspective – glad to see it here.

  2. “He also took sharp aim at condemning any bigotry levied against those of other faiths or those who, though not living in accord with the moral law the Church must continue to unambiguously take on social issues however unpopular they may be, remain God’s beloved children.”

    Andrew, could you clarify the meaning of this sentence? The archbishop was chastizing those who condemn bigotry toward other faiths? Who is in view here? Those who don’t live according to the moral law must take on social issues? Please explain.

    1. I was also in attendance, and to simplify a bit, Archbishop Gregory was condemning bigotry against ‘the other’ (other Catholics, other Christians, other faiths, other lifestyles, etc.) without having time to go into detail on any particular topic. He was condemning the vitriol so prevalent in our society that makes it hard to recognize the presence of Christ at work.
      I went to a session by Msgr Ray East, and found a generally different reaction to the new translations, as enthusiastically and positively as he was presenting it (The Church’s “Amens” got quieter and fewer the more he explained.).

  3. Did the Archbishop say nothing about the new translation? Does he already know what Archbishop Vincent Nichols has now admitted, that the new translation is going to be a “hard sell”?

  4. Having spent 36 adult Catholic years in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, I do not think it will be a “hard sell” there. As mentioned, the faith is alive and well there, and the archdiocese has excellent liturgical leadership. In fact, I’m confident that the new translation will “sell itself”, both in Atlanta and wherever else there is positive episcopal and pastoral leadership.

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