US Bishops’ BCDW Update at CAL

As is customary at the annual meeting of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy, the Secretariat for Divine Worship of the USCCB gave a report. Fr. Andrew Menke was not at the meeting, but submitted a written report which was read out. Here are highlights of it.

  • Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta is chair of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship – his three-year term began in November 2016. He has appointed the committee’s 8 bishop members, plus Bishop Daniel Garcia to lead the Subcommittee on Divine Worship in Spanish. The committee meets twice a year, at each USCCB meeting.
  • The newest published liturgical book is Exorcisms and Related Supplications, published only by USCCB. It is sold only to those with approval of a bishop, to avoid sensationalism. It has an appendix for anyone’s use, and this is published separately as an inexpensive little prayer book, Prayers against the Powers of Darkness. Preparatory work for a Pastoral Directory on the Use of a Major Exorcism is underway, in order to provide guidance in this ministry – the project will probably take years to complete.
  • Soon to be published is a book colloquially called the Book of the Chair, though the Holy See asked that it be called Excerpts from the Roman Missal. It will be roughly half the size of the Missal and contain the texts not used at the altar, so it should be easier to handle by servers and encourage priests to do those things from the chair that the rite envisions (rather than doing everything from the altar). Several publishers will be producing editions.
  • Also finally appearing in this coming year is a proper U.S. Spanish edition of the Roman Missal. The U.S. edition will use the Misal Romano of Mexico as its base text, but with the addition of Spanish translations of the propers and adaptations found in our English Missal. It will mirror the US English version of the Missal very closely, which should help priests who offer Mass in both languages. It will also include a collection of texts for Patronal feastdays from Spanish-speaking countries around the world, which will be helpful in certain communities. The Misal should be available for purchase as of May 1, 2018 and can be used as of Pentecost. From Advent 2018 it will be the required Spanish text in this country.
  • Another project probably completed in 2018 is the Order of the Dedication of a Church and an Altar. The Holy See recently approved the translation submitted by the bishops a few years ago, so the publication process is anticipated to begin in early 2018. the USCCB will probably be the sole publisher.
  • Two items were recently sent to Rome for approval and another will be going in the coming months:
  • A new translation of the short ritual of the Order of Blessing the Oil of Catechumens and of the Sick and of Consecrating the Chrism, which is used each year at the Chrism Mass.
  • A Spanish edition of the Book of Blessings that will be proper to the US, called the It has a core section in five parts that is common to all Spanish-speaking countries and already approved for use in this country. But to that base text the bishops have added a sixth part that will be proper to this country, and that provides translations of proper blessings found in our English-language Book of Blessings.
  • In November the bishops approved a new translation of the Order for Baptism of Children. There are a few textual changes with respect to the ritual currently in use, but for the most part this is simply a new translation of the text. One interesting addition – if the Holy See approves its inclusion – is an Appendix that lays out the instructions for the celebration of baptism during Mass. While the Introduction to the book encourages this practice in certain circumstances, the instructions it provides are not very user-friendly. This Appendix tries to capture the Church’s intention for this ritual, using texts drawn almost entirely from the Roman Missal and the rite of Baptism.
  • Work continues on a new edition of the Liturgy of the Hours, but it will be several years before it will be completed.
  • Several other projects are on the horizon, including new translations of RCIA, Ordination, and Penance.
  • Further out are new Lectionaries in both English and Spanish.
  • The Committee on Divine Worship thanks the members of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy for their efforts to promote the sacred liturgy.

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