Posts Tagged Mass
Catholic faithful of the dioceses of Rochester, New York, have posted an open letter to Pope Francis on their website, “God’s Word, Many Voices,” urging the pontiff to expand lay preaching. The letter advocates for well informed and inspired lay preaching at Mass, which the authors believe can be encouraged in a manner consistent with canon law. You may click here to read the letter and add your signature, and you may read the letter in full below:
November 28, 2016
His Holiness, Pope Francis
00120 Vatican City
We, the undersigned, understand and believe that you have the authority to offer your interpretations of the 1983 Code of Canon Law to the universal Church. Specifically, we are requesting that you urge the bishops to take a pastoral and expansive view on lay preaching during the Eucharist.
We make this request for the following reasons.
(1) People come to church hungering for a word of inspiration that will get them through the week.
(2) Lay preaching is rooted in Scripture and Tradition. Jesus, in his encounters with people, often empowered them to proclaim the Good News. Take the Samaritan Woman at the Well and Mary of Magdala, for example. Leaders of house churches in the first century, men and women alike, preached the Good News during their Eucharistic gatherings. Hildegard of Bingen – outstanding twelfth century abbess, poet, prophet, and more – was invited on preaching tours by Rhineland bishops. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy found the presence of Christ in the worshiping community, as well as in Scripture, priest, and Eucharist; indeed, “all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations” to which all the baptized “have a right and obligation” (paragraph 14). Furthermore, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church assures us that “the holy People of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office” (paragraph 12).
(3) Preaching is a sacred responsibility, one to which lay people are called and for which they are gifted. Indeed, lay preaching has mushroomed over the last 40 years, and a number of U.S. dioceses have schools to prepare people for this ministry.
(4) The 1983 Code of Canon Law confirms that “lay people, like all Christ’s faithful, are deputed to the apostolate by baptism and confirmation” so that God’s salvation might be made known (#225.1). “They can also be called upon to cooperate with Bishops and priests in the exercise of the ministry of the word” (#759). Importantly, lay preaching is possible in circumstances of “necessity” or where “advantageous” (#766), as long as the homily – a unique form of preaching – remains with the ordained (#767.1).
So it is that we advocate for informed lay preaching in today’s Church. We believe
(1) that the experience of a gifted and well prepared lay person can often more readily connect with the folks sitting in the pews,
(2) that many of our priests are stretched because of fewer numbers, and they no longer have adequate time to prepare a thoughtful homily,
(3) and that a priest from another country can be difficult to understand.
But this remains: everyone needs to hear a word of inspiration.
So, then, how might we envision a pastoral and expansive approach to canon law? The local bishop could commission a gifted and well prepared lay person to preach. In such a case, the ordained person could deliver a brief homily before calling upon the lay person to thoughtfully fill out the thrust of the homily. Thus, there would be a continued reflection, but not at exactly the same time as the homily. The ultimate purpose of the homily would be respected and enhanced, all the while calling upon the Spirit-filled gifts of the lay person.
With prayers for your continued good health and courageous leadership,
One Saturday last month (March), Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Ognissanti (All Saints’) Church in one of Rome’s working-class neighborhoods. Little known to tourists or art historians, Ognissanti was the site of a momentous event in the modern history of the Catholic Church: Exactly 50 years earlier, Pope Paul VI had gone there to celebrate the first papal mass in Italian rather than in the traditional Latin.
“In marking that anniversary, Pope Francis made plain his view of the vernacular Mass, one of the most visible changes ushered in by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). The practice still pains Catholic traditionalists who mourn the loss of churchwide unity that came with a common language.
“Allowing Catholics to pray in their local languages ‘was truly a courageous act by the church to draw closer to the people of God,’ Pope Francis told a crowd gathered outside. ‘This is important for us, to follow the Mass this way. And there is no going back…Whoever goes back is mistaken.’
In his two years in office, the pontiff has drawn attention for his unconventional gestures—such as personally welcoming homeless people to the Sistine Chapel last month—but those gestures matter most as signs of the radical new direction in which he seeks to lead the Catholic Church: toward his vision of the promise of Vatican II …”
By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal — Click here to read the rest of this article.
By Sally Vance-Trembath, Santa Clara University ecclesiologist and former Voice of the Faithful® vice president
The pastor of Star of the Sea parish in San Francisco, the Rev. Joseph Illo, recently decided to stop training girls as altar servers, reserving the role for boys. He explained that, among other things, serving at Mass is a preparation for priesthood — a male-only vocation.
“The decision to phase out girls is not only out of step with current Catholic teaching, it also risks triggering painful memories for many Catholic women, just as they were beginning to feel hopeful about their status in the church.”
Click here to read the rest of this commentary.
“An Illinois priest who was forced out of his parish by his bishop for improvising prayers during Mass has had his suspension reversed by the Vatican. The Vatican’s reversal means he can celebrate Mass in another diocese, Rowe said, as long as he has the local bishop’s approval. Others, however, disputed that interpretation of the decree.” By Tim Townsend, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in National Catholic Reporter