St John XXIII & St John Paul II – Liturgical texts

The English translation of the liturgical texts for St John XXIII on 11 October and St John Paul II on 22 October have received the confirmatio of the Holy See and are now available for download from the Liturgy Office website:

Also received from the Holy See were the texts for the Feast of St Mary Magdalene including the new Preface.

Ash Wednesday – Praying at Home

For the first Lockdown last March the Liturgy Office and members of the Spirituality Committee produced material to help people pray at home during Lent, Triduum and Easter.

That material will be available again but here are two resources for Ash Wednesday which follow the pattern of last year’s material:

Praying at Home

A short time of prayer for families or individuals.

Praying at Home – Ash Wednesday

the PDF has two formats – A5 and A4 folded

A Mini-Retreat

Ideas for praying through the Day

The New Lectionary for England and Wales

For a number of years the Bishops of England and Wales have been considering the publication of a new edition of the Lectionary to replace that originally published in the year 1969 and second edition in 1981. After consultation with a number of English speaking Conferences of Bishops, the Bishops of England and Wales studied the translation of the Catholic Edition of the English Standard Version of the Bible produced by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India. From this text they have produced for the Church in India a Lectionary which has received ‘confirmatio’ by the Holy See.

The English Standard Version: Catholic Edition is seen as fulfilling the qualities the Church seeks when considering a translation of scripture namely: 

  • The evaluation and use of source material;
  • Accuracy of translation which conveys the meaning of the biblical authors;
  • Dignity and accessibility of language needed for a worthy proclamation of the Word of God.

 The Bishops of England and Wales agreed in November 2018 that this text should be the basis for the new edition of the Lectionary to be used in their territory. 

Significant elements of the Lectionary are contained in the psalms which are used in response to the readings. Noticeable work has recently been concluded on the revision of the Grail Psalms. This revision sought to reflect developments in the understanding of the texts, avoiding paraphrase whilst maintaining the poetry and rhythm of the psalter. The text was finalised last year and published by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops under the title of Abbey Psalms and Canticles. This volume will form not just the text for the psalms and canticles in the Lectionary but also  future liturgical books, such as the Liturgy of the Hours.

Since the beginning of 2020, the Department of Christian Life and Worship of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales has been preparing the text of the new Lectionary using the English Standard Version: Catholic Edition, together with the Abbey Psalms and Canticles.  As the work has progressed, the bishops have received completed sections every two weeks for their review and comment. The first of these were the texts for Sundays and Solemnities of Advent and Christmas.

The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland announced in July 2020 that they had also chosen the English Standard Version: Catholic Edition for the Lectionary. Since then, they have made an invaluable contribution to the comments and review of the text and enhanced the work of the Editorial Committee.

The Bishops of England and Wales received the first completed volume of the Lectionary at their Plenary meeting in November 2020. This volume consists of Sundays, Solemnities and Feasts of the Lord. Many bishops have spoken of their gratitude for the work undertaken in producing the translation. Work is continuing on the second volume and the text of the Weekdays in Ordinary Time will be presented to the bishops at their Spring Plenary meeting in April 2021.

Archbishop George Stack, Chair of the Department of Christian Life and Worship, said “The work of a new Edition of the Lectionary will be a gift to the Church in England and Wales. It will deepen the understanding and love of the scriptures by the People of God. In the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI it is indispensable that the word of God ‘be ever more fully understood at the heart of every ecclesial activity’.” (Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini)       

The Sunday of the Word of God
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
24 January 2021

Lectionary FAQs

What is a Catholic edition of the Bible?

There are a number of characteristics of a Catholic edition:

  • It includes the deuterocanonical books. These are texts in the Old Testament where there is an ancient Greek Jewish source but not a Hebrew one. These include Tobit, Wisdom, Sirach and Baruch. They have always been accepted by the Catholic Church as part of the Canon of Scripture.
  • The translation reflects  Catholic understanding of scripture.
  • The translation has received an imprimatur from a Bishops’ Conference.
  • There should be study notes to assist the reader.

What is the English Standard Version: Catholic Edition?

The English Standard Version is the latest in a series of English translations which go back to the 16th Century. These translations have all been based on a ‘word for word’ principle. The ESV is directly based on the Revised Standard Version and it is suggested that c. 6% of the text has been revised. Changes were made to modernise the language and reflect the latest scholarship. The publisher Crossway emphasis­es ‘word-for-word’ accuracy, literary excellence and depth of meaning.

Work on the Catholic Edition was done by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India in collaboration with Crossway.

What is the Abbey Psalms and Canticles?

The Grail Psalms have been part of Liturgy in English since before the Second Vatican Council. They are used in both the Lectionary and the Divine Office.

In 2008 a revision of the text was undertaken by the monks of Conception Abbey, Missouri. It sought to bring the latest scholarly understanding of the text and to review the text where the English was essentially a paraphrase of the Hebrew. This text was approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2010. A further revision in the light of use was prepared and approved both by USCCB and CBCEW, and has received the confirmatio of the Holy See. This text is now owned by USCCB who have renamed it Abbey Psalms and Canticles both in recognition of the work of Conception Abbey and also so that there was clarity about the edition being used. This text will be used in the Lectionary and in subsequent liturgical books, such as the Liturgy of the Hours.

How is the Lectionary being prepared?

The Lectionary is a liturgical book. Its basis, therefore, is a Latin editio typica which provides the common text used by the whole Church. Unlike other liturgical books where there is a text to be translated the Ordo Lectionum Missae(OLM) is a collection of references and texts . For each reading there is a scripture reference, the heading and the incipit (how the reading begins) in Latin, for the psalms the reference for the verses and the text of the response, similarly for the Gospel Acclamation. All of these texts in Latin are to be translated, though usually they are drawn from the scriptural text.

The initial task is therefore to compile, edit and lay out the readings etc. with reference to OLM drawing the readings from the ESV and the psalms from the APC. This editorial work will throw up some issues of translation or meaning. For example, in a few cases the verse where the reading begins makes sense in the Vulgate (the Latin version of the Bible which is OLM’s reference point) but not in the ESV – perhaps it is mid-sentence and so part of the preceding verse might be added. These editorial issues are reviewed by the Editorial Committee, appointed by the Department for Christian Life and Worship. 

The whole text has been divided into about 25 sections and a section is sent out to bishops for review and comment every two weeks. The first to be sent out, in Spring 2020, was Sundays and Solemnities of Advent and Christmas. The comments received are reviewed by the Editorial Committee.

Once a group of sections has been completed it is compiled into a single text. The first was Sundays, Solemnities and Feasts of the Lord. It was reviewed at the November 2020 Plenary of the Bishops’ Conference and received an initial vote. The second will be Weekdays which will be presented at the Spring 2020 Plenary.

Are there changes to the readings?

This is a new publication of the Lectionary using different scripture translations — the content remains the same. 

What is new?

There will be provision for Saints who have been inserted into the Universal Calendar since the last Lectionary was published in 1981. There will also be the readings for the National Calendars. In addition, some of the revised liturgical rites, such as Marriage, have additional readings.

Will the text be mandatory?

It is normal practice in the Roman Rite that there is only a single edition of a liturgical text in use in a particular territory. So in the same way as only the third edition of the Roman Missal (2010) may be used in the celebration of Mass (in the Ordinary Form), the same will be true for the Lectionary.

Who will be publishing the Lectionary?

The Catholic Truth Society have been appointed publishers for the Lectionary. They are working closely with the bishops to ensure that the published volumes are worthy, clear in page layout, sturdy and reflect the daily needs of the liturgy.

When will the Lectionary published?

It is expected that the bishops will complete their approval process in Autumn 2021. The text will then need to be reviewed by the Holy See and others. The earliest date for publication would therefore be in 2022. It will be important that People’s Missals and other ancillary material are available at the time of publication.

How many volumes?

The current Lectionary (1981) is in 3 volumes. One significant change in the layout is that all the readings will be given in sense lines as an assistance to the reader. This is recommended in the Introduction to the Lectionary and is common to most recent publications of the Lectionary. The effect is that readings do require more space and this means more pages. It has not yet been decided how many volumes will be published. It is recognised that they need to be manageable and not too large, the contents to be clear and to avoid too much repetition of texts.

Is there a revision of the Liturgy of the Hours as well?

The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) is responsible for translating the Latin liturgical texts for the English-speaking Bishops’ Conferences. It was approached by USCCB to assist in a new translation of the Liturgy of the Hours. Broadly this work can be divided into 3 areas: Psalms and Canticles; Scripture and scripture-based texts; other texts. The Abbey Psalms and Canticles will provide the first area. Other texts are being translated by ICEL — these include the hymns, many of which have not been available before, and the intercessions. The USCCB is using their own scripture version as the basis of readings and texts. As this version is not shared by other Conferences it is likely that an alternative will be considered. This vast project has been in progress for a number of years with the Bishops of England and Wales receiving, commenting and voting on the material which has been prepared by ICEL. There is not currently an estimated date for publication.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prayers

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has issued guidance on responding to the Coronavirus. This can be found of the Conference website and is kept up to date.

The Liturgy Office has prepared Prayers for use during a time of ‘flu and illness. This contains general prayers for health and also a note about Spiritual Communion and praying during Self-Isolation.

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.

Liturgy Study Guide



The Study Guide to Catholic Liturgy, published by SCM Press, has been a project the Liturgy Formation Subcommittee of the Department for Christian Life and Worship. It was recognised that an introductory ‘text book’ to Liturgy would be useful in many areas of the Church’s life, including those preparing for ordination, priestly and diaconal, lay liturgical ministers, catechists and teachers in Catholic schools. The book is intended to offer a foundation in Catholic liturgy through a consideration of key principles and then an exploration of the Sacraments and other rites of the Church. The subcommittee drew together liturgists and theologians with academic and pastoral backgrounds. This is reflected in the text which offers both a grounding in the theology of each rite also looks at the celebration of the liturgy and some of the pastoral issues which arise. Each chapter contains Questions for Reflection and the book concludes with a Glossary and a Further reading list.

To support the text there is a dedicated part of the Liturgy Office website: Study Guide to Catholic Liturgy

There is also a podcast introduction to the book with Bishop Alan Hopes, Martin Foster and Peter McGrail.

The contents of the book are:

Part 1 Principles of Catholic Liturgy 

  • The Roman Rite – Peter McGrail
  • Catholic Theology of the Liturgy – Peter McGrail
  • Fundamentals of Liturgy – Martin Foster

Part 2 The Sacraments 

  • Catholic Sacramental Theology – Richard Conrad, OP
  • Christian Initiation of Adults – Caroline Dollard and Peter McGrail
  • Christian Initiation of Children – Caroline Dollard
  • The Celebration of the Eucharist – Stephen Dean and Martin Foster
  • The Theology of the Holy Eucharist – Richard Conrad, OP
  • Sacraments at the Service of Communion – Martin Foster and Peter McGrail
  • Sacraments of Healing – Martin Foster and Peter McGrail

Part 3 Beyond the Sacraments 

  • Funerals – Andrew Downie
  • Times and Seasons – Jonathan How and Martin Foster

Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest & Calendar Notes

The Liturgical texts for the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest are now available. The Feast, which is celebrated on the Thursday after Pentecost, is Proper to England and Wales.

The following texts are ready for download:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest

  • Full text
  • Missal Texts
  • Lectionary Texts
  • Office texts

Also available on the same page is information about the new Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church. on the Monday after Pentecost.

This information is also included the annual Calendar Notes for 2019 and the draft notes for 2020.

Autumn 2015 Events

Sarum College

The Taizé Community: A Symposium

Fri 30 October, 12:00 pm to Sat 31 October, 4:00 pm

Sarum College is the venue for an academic symposium that will explore and review the significance of the Taizé Community.

This event is organised to mark the 75th year since the founding of the Taizé community in 1940 and the centenary anniversary of the birth of its founder, Brother Roger.

More Information

Bible Society & Bishops’ Conference Scripture Working Group

Open Minds, Burning Hearts
Journeying through Luke’s Gospel

10–12 November 2015 — Sedgley Park, Manchester

In November 2015, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Vatican II Document, Dei Verbum, there will be a national Scripture conference to be held at Sedgley Park Conference Centre in Manchester.

The theme of the conference will be Luke’s gospel, and the keynote speaker will be Dr Ian Boxall, Associate Professor of New Testament at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

More Information

Society of St Gregory

Winter Assembly & Crichton Memorial Lecture

Saturday 7th November – Blessed Dominic Barberi, Cowley Road, Littlemore, Oxford OX4 4JX

The James Crichton Memorial Lecture, sponsored by the Lisbonian Society. This year’s lecture will be given by Revd Professor Thomas O’Loughlin of Nottingham University, entitled ‘Language, Music, Liturgy – communicating the Word’

More Information

 Archdiocese of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University.

Vatican II and the Church Today

14-15 November at the Liverpool Archdiocesan Centre for Evangelisation

A weekend conference featuring internationally renowned speakers exploring the continuing impact of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council in the life and mission of both the local and global Church.  Featured speakers include authority on Vatican II,  Dr Massimo Faggioli, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP.  The weekend takes place 14-15 November at the Liverpool Archdiocesan Centre for Evangelisation.  Places must be booked in advance, on a first come first served basis.  Early booking is strongly recommend.  http://liverpoolvaticanii.org/ or by Phone 0151  522 1040.

Events 2015

Liturgy Seminar

Examining Ritual Practices: a Practical Theological Approach

Thursday 4 June — Sarum College, Salisbury

The seminar will explore how the practice of ritual lends itself to examination and research. Approaches to the study of ritual and their relationship to theories of ritual will be examined. The seminar is open to postgraduate students and others who have an interest in the study of ritual.

More Information

Society of St Gregory Summer School

The Word that is Life

27–31 July — High Leigh Conference Centre, Hoddesdon

In the renewed liturgy after the Second Vatican Council, the Word of God has a special place. The selection of readings at Mass were greatly expanded so that the treasures of the Bible were opened up and the revised Lectionary has become a shared gift across the denominations. Scripture has not only been the source of the words we proclaim but also those we sing and pray.

Over the last couple of years, the Summer School has reflected on the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and how it deepened our appreciation of the liturgy, not only in the Constitution on the Liturgy, but in the other documents as well. The Constitution on Divine Revelation. Dei Verbum, expressed the Church’s understanding of place of scriptures in the life and faith of the Church.

In this year’s Summer School, the place of scripture in the liturgy and the life and mission of the Church will be explored through keynote inputs, a range of workshops and liturgy and music.

More Information

Open Minds, Burning Hearts

Journeying through Luke’s Gospel

10–12 November 2015 — Sedgley Park, Manchester

In November 2015, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Vatican II Document, Dei Verbum, there will be a national Scripture conference to be held at Sedgley Park Conference Centre in Manchester.

The theme of the conference will be Luke’s gospel, and the keynote speaker will be Dr Ian Boxall, Associate Professor of New Testament at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

More Information

 

Homiletic Directory

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has issued a Homiletic Directory. Archbishop Roche’s introduction can be found on The Bishops’ Conference News site. There is an interview with him on Vatican Radio.

This fulfils a request for such a directory made at the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in 2008.

The Contents are as follows:

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Introduction

PART ONE: THE HOMILY AND ITS LITURGICAL SETTING

  1. THE HOMILY
  2. INTERPRETING THE WORD OF GOD IN THE LITURGY

III. PREPARATION

PART TWO: ARS PRAEDICANDI

  1. THE PASCHAL TRIDUUM AND THE FIFTY DAYS
  2. The Old Testament Reading on Holy Thursday
  3. The Old Testament Reading on Good Friday
  4. The Old Testament Readings of the Easter Vigil
  5. The Easter Lectionary
  6. THE SUNDAYS OF LENT
  7. The Gospel of the First Sunday of Lent
  8. The Gospel of the Second Sunday of Lent
  9. The Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sundays of Lent
  10. Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

III. THE SUNDAYS OF ADVENT

  1. The First Sunday of Advent
  2. The Second and Third Sundays of Advent
  3. The Fourth Sunday of Advent
  4. THE CHRISTMAS SEASON
  5. The Liturgies of Christmas
  6. The Feast of the Holy Family
  7. The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God
  8. The Solemnity of the Epiphany
  9. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
  10. THE SUNDAYS IN ORDINARY TIME
  11. OTHER OCCASIONS
  12. Weekday Mass
  13. Weddings
  14. Funerals

APPENDIX I: THE HOMILY AND THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Cycle A

Cycle B

Cycle C

Other Holy Days

APPENDIX II: POST-CONCILIAR ECCLESIAL SOURCES RELEVANT TO PREACHING

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The Directory will be available from the website of the Congregation and will be published by the Catholic Truth Society.

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