Monday, March 31, 2014

PREPARING FOR THE CANONISATION OF JOHN XXIII AND JOHN PAUL II

Vatican City, 31 March 2014 (VIS) - This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the initiatives forming part of the preparations for the canonisations of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II, to be celebrated on 27 April. The speakers were Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome, along with Msgr. Giulio Dellavite, secretary general for the Curia of Bergamo, Msgr. Walter Insero, head of the Office for Social Communications for the Vicariate of Rome, and Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office.
The initiatives will include a digital platform, the aim of which is to enable the faithful and pilgrims to have access to news and information regarding the ceremonies as well as a series of spiritual reflections on the life and teachings of both popes. Indeed, the official site www.2papisanti.org is an almost-completed portal which offers contacts, sections for press offices, information, videos and images as well as biographical documentation on John XXIII and John Paul II. It will be available in five languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish and Polish.
The application entitled "Santo Subito", which may be downloaded free in both Android and IOS formats (in Italian, English, Spanish and Polish) and whose title draws on the famed saintliness of both Popes even during their lifetimes, will offer logistical information, as well as access to the main news on the canonisations, and will allow material relating to the various liturgical events to be downloaded.
Existing media include:
Official page of the Postulation with content in five languages:
Official Twitter page with content in five languages:
YouTube channel for the Postulation:
This latter, developed in 2011 for the beatification of Karol Wojtyla, gives a detailed illustration of the stages in the canonical process leading to the recognition of the saintliness of John Paul II and is available in several languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Romanian.
The parallel project #2popesaints, realised in collaboration with the students of communication sciences from the Roman university LUMSA involves a series of networks enabling young people to get to know the lives, teachings and testimony of faith of the two new saints. There will be a Facebook page entitled 2popesaints; on Twitter, the account @2popesaints; on Instagram, #2popesaints; and on YouTube, 2popesaints. Every day each one of the above will propose a theme relating to both popes in the media, starting from 16 April until the canonisation, and each event will be transmitted live on each network.
On Google+ there will be the possibility of following in a "hangout" the daily briefings during the week leading up to the canonisation. A QR code will also be created to allow rapid access to the site 2popesaints.org. The initiative "Rome connecting to the World", a form of "twinning" between the faithful arriving in Rome and the young people of the city, will make it possible to get to know the most important locations in Rome along with the history of John XXIII and John Paul II, providing information on the Facebook page.
In the diocese of Rome, on 22 April in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Cardinal Agostino Vallini will preside at a meeting addressing young people, with the postulators for the causes of both saints: Msgr. Slavomir Oder (John Paul II) and Fr. Giovangiuseppe Califano (John XXIII). On 26 April, starting at 9 p.m., there will be a "White night of prayer" and the churches throughout the centre of Rome will remain open for prayer and confession in various languages.
Similarly, the diocese of Bergamo will pay homage to XIII with the initiative "Le Opere Segno", a series of activities dedicated to charity, human development and solidarity which affect daily lives. They include an aid project for Haiti to guarantee three years' education in the John XXIII school; an invitation to priests to contribute a month's salary and all the alms collected by the parish communities on 27 April to a fund set up in aid of families afflicted by the economic crisis; and the commemoration, on 12 April, of the publication of the encyclical "Pacem in Terris", to be attended by ambassadors representing the countries where Angelo Roncalli carried out his diplomatic mission as an apostolic nuncio (Bulgaria, Turkey, Greek and France), and which will be presented by Jacques Delors, former president of the European Commission.

Pope Francis' Universal Prayer Intentions for April 2014

Vatican City, 31 March 2014 (VIS) - Pope Francis' universal prayer intention for April is: "That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources".

His intention for evangelisation is: "That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness".

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Holy Thursday: The Mandantum

In recent days, there has been a rather interesting dialogue happening through the University of Notre Dame Liturgy list-service email regarding who can have their feet washed during the Mandantum at the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday. This is the current statement of the USCCB regarding this question should your parish be seeking clarification regarding current policy/praxis:

My parish liturgy committee has decided to allow both men and women to take part in the washing of the feet at the liturgy on Holy Thursday. I have always heard that only men may have their feet washed. Which does the Church allow?

The rubric for Holy Thursday, under the title THE WASHING OF FEET, reads:
"After the Homily, where a pastoral reason suggests it, the Washing of Feet follows. The men who have been chosen (viri selecti) are led by the ministers to seats prepared in a suitable place. Then the priest (removing his chasuble if necessary) goes to each one, and, with the help of the ministers, pours water over each one's feet and then dries them."

Regarding the phrase viri selecti, the Chairman of the then-Committee on the Liturgy, after a review of the matter by the committee, authorized the following response which appeared in the Newsletter of February 1987:

Question: What is the significance of the Holy Thursday foot washing rite?

Response:

The Lord Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper as a sign of the new commandment that Christians should love one another: "Such as my love has been for you, so must your love be for each other. This is how all will know you for my disciples: by your love for one another" (see John 13, 34-35). For centuries the Church has imitated the Lord through the ritual enactment of the new commandment of Jesus Christ in the washing of feet on Holy Thursday.

Although the practice had fallen into disuse for a long time in parish celebrations, it was restored in 1955 by Pope Pius XII as a part of the general reform of Holy Week. At that time the traditional significance of the rite of foot washing was stated by the Sacred Congregation of Rites in the following words: "Where the washing of feet, to show the Lord's commandment about fraternal charity, is performed in a Church according to the rubrics of the restored Ordo of Holy Week, the faithful should be instructed on the profound meaning of this sacred rite and should be taught that it is only proper that they should abound in works of Christian charity on this day." (1)

The principal and traditional meaning of the Holy Thursday mandatum, as underscored by the decree of the Congregation, is the biblical injunction of Christian charity: Christ's disciples are to love one another. For this reason, the priest who presides at the Holy Thursday liturgy portrays the biblical scene of the gospel by washing the feet of some of the faithful.

Because the gospel of the mandatum read on Holy Thursday also depicts Jesus as the "Teacher and Lord" who humbly serves his disciples by performing this extraordinary gesture which goes beyond the laws of hospitality,(2) the element of humble service has accentuated the celebration of the foot washing rite in the United States over the last decade or more. In this regard, it has become customary in many places to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite in recognition of the service that should be given by all the faithful to the Church and to the world. Thus, in the United States, a variation in the rite developed in which not only charity is signified but also humble service.

While this variation may differ from the rubric of the Sacramentary which mentions only men ("viri selecti"), it may nevertheless be said that the intention to emphasize service along with charity in the celebration of the rite is an understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord, "who came to serve and not to be served," that all members of the Church must serve one another in love.

The liturgy is always an act of ecclesial unity and Christian charity, of which the Holy Thursday foot washing rite is an eminent sign. All should obey the Lord's new commandment to love one another with an abundance of love, especially at this most sacred time of the liturgical year when the Lord's passion, death, and resurrection are remembered and celebrated in the powerful rites of the Triduum.(3)

Notes

1. Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction on the Correct Use of the Restored Ordo of Holy Week, November 16, 1955 (Washington, DC: National Catholic Welfare Conference Publications Office, 1955), page 6.

2. In biblical times it was prescribed that the host of a banquet was to provide water (and a basin) so that his guests could wash their hands before sitting down to table. Although a host might also provide water for travelers to wash their own feet before entering the house, the host himself would not wash the feet of his guests. According to the Talmud the washing of feet was forbidden to any Jew except those in slavery.

In the controversies between Hillel and Shammai (cf. Shabbat 14a-b) Shammai ruled that guests were to wash their hands to correct "tumat yadayim" or "impurity of hands" (cf. Ex 30, 17 and Lv 15, 11). Priests were always to wash their hands before eating consecrated meals. The Pharisees held that all meals were in a certain sense "consecrated" because of table fellowship.

Jesus' action of washing the feet of his disciples was unusual for his gesture went beyond the required laws of hospitality (washing of hands) to what was, in appearance, a menial task. The Lord's action was probably unrelated to matters of ritual purity according to the Law.

3. For a brief overview of the restoration of the foot washing rite in 1955, see W. J. O'Shea, "Mandatum," New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX, 146, and W. J. O'Shea, "Holy Thursday," New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII, 105-107; Walter D. Miller, Revised Ceremonial of Holy Week (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 1971), p. 43. See also Prosper Gueranger, OSB, The Liturgical Year, Volume VI, Passiontide and Holy Week (Westminster, Maryland: Newman Press, 1949), pp. 395-401. For the historical background of the many forms of this rite, see the following studies: Pier Franco Beatrice, La lavanda dei piedi: Contributo alla storia delle antiche liturgie cristiane (Rome: C.L.V. Edizioni Liturgiche, 1983); "Lotio pedum" in Hermann Schmidt, Hebdomada Sancta, Volume II (Rome: Herder, 1956-1957); Annibale Bugnini, CM, and C. Braga, CM, Ordo Hebdomadae Sanctae Instauratus in Biblioteca "Ephemerides Liturgicae" Sectio Historica 25 (Rome: Edizioni Liturgiche, 1956), pp. 73-75; Theodor Klauser, A Short History of the Western Liturgy: An Account and Some Reflections, second edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. 81.

This is the latest statement of this Secretariat on the question. No subsequent legislation or instructions have necessitated a modification in the statement.

Friday, February 28, 2014

POPE FRANCIS' PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR MARCH


Vatican City, 28 February 2014 (VIS) – The Pope's universal prayer intention for March is “that all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women”.
His prayer intention for evangelisation is “that many young people may accept the Lord's invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel”.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

FIFTY YEARS AFTER SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM: THE CHALLENGE OF LITURGICAL RENOVATION AND DEEPENINg


Vatican City, 13 February 2014 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the Symposium “Sacrosanctum Concilium. Gratitude and commitment for a great ecclesial movement”, organised by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The congress, organised in collaboration with the Pontifical Lateran University and scheduled to take place from 18 to 20 February, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Council Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 4 December 1963.
The speakers at the conference were Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Msgr. Juan Miguel Ferrer Grenesche, under-secretary of the same Congregation, and Philippe Chenaux, professor of modern and contemporary history of the Church at the Pontifical Lateran University and director of the “Vatican Council II” Centre for Study and Research.
In addition, a text prepared by Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments was read by Msgr. Juan Miguel Ferrer Grenesche, and a text by Bishop Enrico dal Covolo, S.D.B., rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, was read by Professor Philippe Chenaux.
Cardinal Canizares commented that the Council was “an invitation to the Church to be herself, as God wished her to be and created her, and to act in a manner coherent with her vocation and with the mission that God Himself has given her. … With this beginning, which focuses on the theme of the Liturgy, the emphasis is unequivocally placed on the primacy of God in the Church; God first of all. … When God is not in first place, everything else loses its way”.
The Vatican Council II Fathers demonstrated this priority first by approving the Constitution “Sacrosanctum Concilium”, clarifying that “worship comes first; God comes first. Therefore, beginning with the theme of the Liturgy, the Council explicitly turned attention to God's primacy and at the same time indicated it as a sure point of orientation for the path to be followed in the future”.
With regard to “gratitude” and “commitment”, the prelate added, “We must, indeed, thank God for this first fruit of the Council … not only for the Constitution itself, but also for the renewing dynamism of the Church that it has given rise to, and continues to provide. At the same time, urgent commitment on our part to the continuation and deepening of the liturgical renewal hoped for by the Vatican Council II is now called for. It is true that much has been done, but there remains much still to do”.
The Symposium will include a component dedicated to theological and pastoral reflection, and will offer important opportunities for celebrations and time for prayer; ample space will also be dedicated to the beauty of art in the service of liturgy, represented by concerts and exhibitions. The participants will meet with the Holy Father on Wednesday 19 February during the general audience.

Monday, February 3, 2014

POPE FRANCIS' PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR FEBRUARY


Vatican City, 3 February 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis' universal prayer intention for February is: “That the Church and society may respect the wisdom and experience of older people”.
His intention for evangelization is: “That priests, religious, and lay people may work together with generosity for evangelization”.

Monday, December 30, 2013

POPE FRANCIS' PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR JANUARY 2014

Vatican City, 30 December 2013 (VIS) - 
The Pope's universal prayer intention for January 2014 is "that all may
promote authentic economic development that respects the dignity of 
all peoples".His prayer intention for evangelization is "that Christians of 
diverse denominations may walk toward the unity desired by Christ".