Lectionary Update

The Liturgy Office website now has a section devoted to the Lectionary: https://www.liturgyoffice.org.uk/Resources/Lectionary/index.shtml


Information about the text of the Lectionary for use in participation aids etc. has been sent to publishers. if you wish to receive this information please contact the Liturgy Office: liturgy.office @ cbcew.org.uk


The texts of the Responsorial Psalms for Volume 1 of the Lectionary are now available on application. Volume 1 includes all Sundays, Ash Wednesday, the Paschal Triduum, Solemnities and Feasts of the Lord.

Composers should email the Liturgy Office: liturgy.office @ cbcew.org.uk – They will be sent the texts for Volume 1 and the Lectionary for Mass: A guide for Composers which provides information about the Lectionary and setting the texts. The following information should be provided:

  • Name
  • Publisher name, where applicable
  • Diocese
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Request for any texts not included in Volume 1.

To love you more dearly – New Prayer and Liturgy Directory launched by CES and Bishops’ Conference

Cover of Prayer and Liturgy Directory

from Catholic Education Service

A new Prayer and Liturgy Directory for Catholic schools, colleges and academies in England and Wales has been launched at a conference in York.

The directory was presented to dioceses on 17 October by a host of speakers including Dr Sue Price, Director of Pastoral Outreach at the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, and its editors Martin Foster, Director of the Liturgy Office for the Bishops’ Conference; and the Revd Professor Peter McGrail, Subject Lead for Theology, Philosophy and Religious Studies at Liverpool Hope University.

Titled To love You more dearly and published by the Bishops’ Conference and the CES, it is the first such document to support prayer and liturgy coordinators, senior leadership teams and governors and others in implementing the understanding of the Catholic Church in prayer and liturgy.

Communal prayer forms a major part of the spiritual life of the school and to pupils’ moral and spiritual development, with participants invited to recognise God’s action in their lives and that of the school. For example, this can include classroom prayer at the beginning or end of the day, and prayer at the start of a staff meeting.

The Directory has been approved by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and was subject to a number of wide-scale consultations with practitioners which helped to shape and develop the text.

In the preface the Most Revd George Stack, Emeritus Archbishop of Cardiff and Chairman of the Department for Christian Life and Worship, and the Rt Revd Marcus Stock, Bishop of Leeds and Chairman of the Department for Education and Formation, write: “In Catholic schools and colleges across England and Wales, teachers and other adult members of the school community have long supported the life of prayer and liturgy within their schools with imagination and dedication.

“We hope that this directory will affirm what is good practice, while also setting a high bar to which all can aspire.”

Topics covered include the use of music; celebrating sacraments; devotions and more. Sections can also be used to provide focused guidance as follows:

  • in developing school policies and systems
  • in directly planning prayer and liturgy
  • as a focus for evaluating practice
  • in staff formation
  • as reference points for Catholic school inspectors to support their judgments

Part of a series, the document follows on from To know You more clearly, its Religious Education counterpart published earlier this year.

The title of the new Prayer and Liturgy Directory, To love You more dearly, is taken from a prayer by St Richard of Chichester, a Bishop in the 13th century remembered for his generosity to the poor, mercy shown to sinners, and reform of the liturgical life of his diocese.

Supporting resources for schools, based on the directory, are currently being prepared.

To love You more dearly was drafted and edited by experts including Martin Foster, Director of the Liturgy Office for the Bishops’ Conference; the Revd Professor Peter McGrail, Subject Lead for Theology, Philosophy and Religious Studies at Liverpool Hope University; Philip Robinson, Chief Inspector of the Catholic Schools Inspectorate; Catherine Bryan, Deputy Director of the CES; Dr Nancy Walbank, CES Religious Education Adviser; Elaine Arundell, Primary RE Adviser for the Archdiocese of Westminster, and of the National Board of RE Inspectors and Advisers (NBRIA); Matthew Dell, Senior Lecturer in RE at St Mary’s University, and of Association of Teachers of Catholic Religious Education (ATCRE); Deacon Paul Mannings of the Archdiocese of Liverpool, and of NBRIA; Jane Porter of the Association of Catholic Chaplains in Education (ACCE), and Cardinal Newman School, in Luton; and Peter Ward of NBRIA.

Download and read To love You more dearly

New Lectionary to be launched in England and Wales for Advent 2024

The Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has confirmed the approval by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for the new Lectionary. 

The Lectionary, which includes the scripture readings for Mass and the sacraments, will come into use in Catholic parishes in England and Wales from Advent 2024.  

Cardinal Arthur Roche, Prefect of the Dicastery, wrote to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops’ Conference, confirming the new translation of the Lectionary, which has been done in collaboration with the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.  

He said: 

“The use of the English Standard Version – Catholic Edition, already in use in India, along with the Abbey Psalms and Canticles will help to ensure that the Word of the Lord reaches God’s holy people without alloy. 

“The collaboration of the Episcopal Conference with the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland is another notable feature of this project which highlights the importance of different episcopal conferences within a small geographical area working together for the overall good of the Catholic population in the British Isles.  

“What has now been achieved ensures that a stable version of the Lectionary will endure in Great Britain for years to come. Both Conferences are to be commended for this cooperation.” 

The Lectionary was revised after the Second Vatican Council. Paragraph 51 of Second Vatican Council document Sacrosanctum Concilium said: “The treasures of the bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God’s word.” 

Archbishop Emeritus George Stack of Cardiff, Chair of the Department for Christian Life and Worship, welcomed the dicastery’s ‘confirmatio’ for the Lectionary:  

“As we mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council we can see that the Lectionary is one of the great fruits of the Council. It fulfils the mandate of the Council Fathers to open up the scriptures for the faithful so that Sunday by Sunday Christ himself speaks to us in the word.  

“The new Lectionary gives us an opportunity to hear that word with fresh ears as we engage with a text which is intended for public proclamation and reflects up to date biblical scholarship.  

“I hope that parishes and other communities will engage in preparation for the Lectionary so that all the faithful will hear the word of God with deepened faith and understanding.” 

The Lectionary will be in use from Advent 2024 and will be published by the Catholic Truth Society (CTS). 

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:

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.

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