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.

Commemorating the First World War

PoppiresAt the Easter meeting 2014 of the Bishops’ Conference the following resolution was agreed:

To mark the centenary of the First World War and remember all those who lost their lives in the conflict, the bishops of England and Wales encourage the Catholic community to participate in local civic or ecumenical celebrations.

The bishops will celebrate Requiem Masses in their Cathedrals on or near the six key dates which have been identified as part of the anniversary celebrations.

  • Monday 4th August 2014 — the centenary of entry of the British Empire to the War
  • Saturday 25th April 2015 — the Gallipoli campaign
  • Tuesday 31st May/ Wednesday 1st June 2016 — the Battle of Jutland commemorating the war at sea
  • Friday 1st July 2016 — the Battle of the Somme
  • Monday 31st July 2017 — the start of the 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele)
  • Sunday 11th November 2018 — Armistice Day

Catholic parishes are asked to mark these important anniversaries on the nearest Sunday by offering Mass for all those who died and to pray in the intercessions for those currently serving in the armed forces, and for peace.

The Joint Liturgical Group of Great Britain has information about how the centenary is being marked in Wales and Scotland, a selection of Collect prayers and links to other resources.

Mass Settings – end of transitional period

Amen

The Bishops’ Conference has issued a Statement on the use of Mass Settings using the old translation of the Missal or settings which paraphrase the text.

Unlike some other countries which did not permit the use of previous settings as soon as the Missal was introduced the bishops did recognise that time was may be needed for settings to become available and for parishes and communities to find settings which suited their resources.

For many the starting point were the chants in the Missal itself which were freely available and could be simply sung without any accompaniment. This remains a primary option for parishes and communities. One of the hoped for benefits of using the Missal chants was to provide a common setting which Catholics would know wherever Mass was celebrated in English.

It was permitted to start singing the new translation at Mass from Easter 2011 – since then a large number of Mass settings have been published. In England and Wales, as is required in other countries as well, Mass settings are approved prior for publication for their fidelity to the text. Details of the process can be found here and a list of published settings here.

The Liturgy Office was asked to provide a resource – Singing the Mass – to assist parishes and schools who may be still looking for suitable settings. The resource focuses on the sung parts of the Ordinary (the texts at Mass which are the same in very celebration) where the new translation differs from what was used previously: the Gloria and the Eucharistic Acclamations (Holy, Memorial Acclamations and Amen). The recommendations are not intended to be exhaustive – other sources are indicated in the resource – but may give helpful pointers to the range of settings available.

 

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