Sunday of the Word of God

On the feast of St Jerome Pope Francis issued a ‘Motu Proprio” instituting the Sunday of the Word of God. It will be marked each year on the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time.

The Holy Father had proposed the idea at the conclusion of the Year of Mercy when he wrote: a Sunday given over entirely to the word of God, so as to appreciate the inexhaustible riches contained in that constant dialogue between the Lord and his people.

The document provides a summary of the Church’s teaching on Scripture and the place of Scripture within the Liturgy. It suggests a number of ways that the day might be marked:

  • in the Eucharistic celebration the sacred text be enthroned, in order to focus the attention of the assembly on the normative value of God’s word.
  • it would be particularly appropriate to highlight the proclamation of the word of the Lord and to emphasize in the homily the honour that it is due
  • Bishops could celebrate the Rite of Installation of Lectors or a similar commissioning of readers, in order to bring out the importance of the proclamation of God’s word in the liturgy
  • renewed efforts should be made to provide members of the faithful with the training needed to be genuine proclaimers of the word.
  • Pastors can also find ways of giving a Bible, or one of its books, to the entire assembly as a way of showing the importance of learning how to read, appreciate and pray daily with sacred Scripture, especially through the practice of lectio divina. 

The timing of the day will mean that it will often coincide with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and is at the same time as commemorations for Holocaust Memorial Day. Pope Francis notes this:

This Sunday of the Word of God will thus be a fitting part of that time of the year when we are encouraged to strengthen our bonds with the Jewish people and to pray for Christian unity. This is more than a temporal coincidence: the celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God has ecumenical value, since the Scriptures point out, for those who listen, the path to authentic and firm unity. [3]

He also addresses the concern that individual days of prayer can seem to highlight something which should be part of the normal life of the Church.

A day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event but rather a year-long event, for we urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the risen Lord, who continues to speak his word and to break bread in the community of believers. [8]

The text of the document together with other resources on Scripture and Liturgy are available.

The God who Speaks

The Pope’s Motu Proprio happily coincides with the Bishops of England and Wales announcing a Year of the Word — The God who Speaks to be celebrated from the First Sunday of Advent 2019.

3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Sunday between 21 January – 27 January

Lectionary Readings for 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Year A

Reading 1Isa 8:23b–9:3In Galilee of the nations the people have seen a great light.
PsalmPs 26:1. 4. 13-14 r. 1The Lord is my light and my help.
Reading 21 Cor 1:10-13, 17Make up the differences between you instead of disagreeing among yourselves.
Gospel AcclamationMatt 4:23Jesus proclaimed the Good News of the kingdom, and cured all kinds of sickness among the people.
Matt 4:12-23He went and settled in Capernaum: in this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled.
GospelMatt 4:12-17He went and settled in Capernaum: in this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled.

Year B

Reading 1Jon 3:1-5, 10The people of Nineveh renounce their evil behaviour.
PsalmPs 24:4-9 r. 4Lord, make me know your ways.
Reading 21 Cor 7:29-31The world as we know it is passing away.
Gospel AcclamationMark 1:15The kingdom of God is close at hand; believe the Good News.
GospelMark 1:14-20Repent and believe the Good News.

Year C

Reading 1Neh 8:2-6, 8-10Ezra read from the law of God and the people understood what was read.
PsalmPs 18:8-10, 15 r. John 6:63Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life.
Reading 21 Cor 12:12-30You together are Christ’s body; but each of you is a different part of it.
shorter1 Cor 12:12-14, 27You together are Christ’s body; but each of you is a different part of it.
Gospel AcclamationLuke 4:18The Lord has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives.
GospelLuke 1:1-4; 4:14-21This text is being fulfilled today.

Day of Prayer for Survivors of Abuse – 12 April

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) has highlighted the importance of prayer and suggested to Pope Francis that the worldwide Catholic Church should join together in a day of prayer. The Holy Father has welcomed this initiative.

In the Cycle of Prayer for England and Wales, this day is marked every year on the Friday of the fifth week of Lent.

On Friday 12 April the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales is encouraging the Catholic community to take part in a day of prayer for survivors of sexual abuse.

A number of resources have been produced for the Mass on Friday, 12 April and for prayer and personal reflection.

Reading Luke in Lent

For Lent this year the Bishops’ Conference is reading the Gospel of Luke. Each day there will be a podcast available to download. Starting on Ash Wednesday with Chapter 1 the series will conclude in Easter week with Chapter 24 and the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. There will be a compilation of the week’s readings available on each Sunday. Along side the audio it will be possible download the text each day with some questions for reflection and a prayer.

For downloads and further information.

Chrism Mass & Adoremus Resources II

Chrism Mass

The Bishops’ Conference has received confirmatio from the Holy See of a new translation of the Order of Blessing the Oil of Catechumens and of the Sick and of Consecrating the Chrism. The text has been sent to bishops and will be used at diocesan Chrism Masses this Holy Week. The oils are blessed before the beginning of the Paschal Triduum on Maundy Thursday evening so that they may be used for the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil. As the main prayers are a rich resource for liturgical catechesis these texts are available for download, as is the translation of the hymn O Redemptor and some notes on the celebration.

Adoremus Resources II

Further resources to assist parishes prepare for Adoremus Eucharistic Congress and Pilgrimage and celebrate the Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass are now available:

  • Celebrating the Liturgy of the Hours as part of Adoration — the Office of Corpus Christi
  • Time before the Blessed Sacrament — a series of leaflets prepared by the Spirituality Committee reflecting the various ways we physically participate in adoration.

Adoremus – Resources

The bishops of England and Wales will hold Adoremus, a National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and Congress in Liverpool 7–9 September 2018.

To assist parishes in their preparation for this event the Liturgy Office is preparing a series of resources both to help with the celebration of Exposition of the Holy Eucharist and to deepen people’s understanding. The first set of resources is now available, these include:

  • Exposition of the Holy Eucharist: the text of the rite, a guide to celebration, musical resources and a list of scripture readings on the Eucharist
  • How Holy this Feast: material for small groups with time for reflection and prayer.
  • Links to other resources is also given

Adoremus Resources

Bishops’ Conference November 2017 – Magnum Principium

The Bishops at the November 2017 plenary meeting made the following statement:

The Bishops’ Conference welcomes the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio Magnum Principium and the affirmation of the role of the Bishops’ Conference in the oversight of the Liturgy.

We are grateful to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for the guidance it has given to Conferences of Bishops that the Motu Proprio concerns future liturgical translations and cannot be applied retroactively. We look forward to the further assistance of the Congregation in its implementation.

We will continue to work with ICEL in preparation of the translations of the liturgical books so that the “sense of the original text is fully and faithfully rendered” and that the translations “always illuminate the unity of the Roman Rite”.

The Bishops’ Conference also approved the ICEL Grey book translation of Liturgy of the Hours: Lent & Easter.

See Catholic News for further Bishops’ Conference resolutions

Cycle of Prayer – Intercessions & Bible Sunday

Model Intercessions

The Cycle of Prayer is how the various days of special prayer are organised into a whole year’s calendar. When it was created in 1996 the hope was that parishes and communities would reflect, pray and act on the various intentions within a particular season. For many of the intentions there is a specific day and a Church agency which sends out material. To help promote some of the intentions which do not have as much prominence and also to offer for all the intentions a handy compilation of prayers the Liturgy Committee has prepared a couple of model intercessions for every intention in the Cycle of Prayer. These can be used or adapted in parishes and communities on the designated days and at other times.

Bible Sunday

In Pope Francis’ letter at the end of the Year of Mercy he commended the idea of a Sunday which focussed on the Scriptures. In England and Wales this is marked on the 2nd Sunday of Advent. This year the Scripture Working Group of the Bishops’ Conference has prepared a series of resources under the title of ‘Welcome the Word’. Rather than focus on one particular day there is material for the whole of the Advent – Christmas – Epiphany season. As well material focussed on the ministry of reader and psalmist, looking at the Lectionary for the Year of Mark; there are reflections on art and scripture and other aspects of God’s word.

The resources can be freely downloaded from the Bishops’ Conference website.

 

Holydays of Obligation

With effect from the 1st Sunday of Advent 2017, two holydays of obligation are being reinstated. This decision was made by the Bishops of England and Wales, and has been confirmed by the Holy See. The days are:

  • The Epiphany of the Lord — 6 January (transferred to the adjacent Sunday when it falls on Saturday or Monday)
  • The Ascension of the Lord — Thursday after 6th Sunday of Easter

The Holydays of Obligation for England and Wales are therefore:

  • According to a decision of the Bishops’ Conference (1984) Holydays which fall on Saturday or Monday are transferred to the Sunday.

The Bishops decided to retain the decision made in 2006 for the Body and Blood of the Lord to be transferred to Sunday as it allowed for Eucharistic Processions and other devotional practices to be celebrated.

For further information:

The place of silence

The fruit of silence is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is faith.
The fruit of faith is love.
The fruit of love is service.
The fruit of service is peace.

These words of St Teresa of Calcutta are a reminder of the importance of silence. The Liturgy Committee of the Department for Christian Life and Worship has produced a document The Place of Silence  which explores how silence is an integral part of any liturgical action. It looks, in particular, at the celebration of Mass and how silence is expected in different ways.

 

Forthcoming Liturgical Translations

In the document on translation Liturgiam Authenticam it is expected that the translation of all current liturgical books is revised. For English-speaking Bishops’ Conferences this work is done by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). Since the publication of Liturgiam Authenticam  in 2002 the first translation to be revised was the Roman Missal (2010) and this highlights another aspect of this process. For a number of liturgical books there has been a new Latin edition since the text was translated into English. So, therefore, the Roman Missal is the 3rd edition.

This year has seen the publication of the next two rites to be translated: Confirmation and Matrimony.

The translations are prepared by ICEL and reviewed by the bishops in two stages. The stages are referred to by the colour of the cover of the text. The Green Book is a text for review and comment. These are sent back to ICEL who then produce the Grey Book. This text is intended for voting on by the bishops. Any changes to the text have to be voted on separately. Once voting is complete the text  is sent to the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome and will eventually given recognitio.

The following list gives the texts currently under review in the order they are being considered. It is difficult to offer a timescale for the various books but as an indication the Green Books for Confirmation and Matrimony were first received in 2012.

  • Order of Dedication of a Church and an Altar
  • Exorcisms and Certain Supplications
  • Liturgy of the Hours
    • Supplement — celebrations added to Universal Calendar since publication
    • Partial revision (So far Green Books have been received for Advent–Christmas, Lent–Easter etc. which have translations of the Office Hymns, Intercessions and Magnificat & Benedictus Antiphons
  • The Order of Blessing the Oil of Catechumens and of the Sick and of Consecrating the Chrism
  • Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest
  • Order of Christian Initiation of Adults
  • Order of Baptism of Children
  • Rites of Ordination

In addition to this preparation is also being done on a new publication of the Lectionary.

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