Monday, June 22, 2009

Selected entries from the Pastoral Letter on the Sunday Mass

The Archbishop of Manila, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, has issued a Pastoral Letter 
on the Sunday Celebration of the Eucharist entitled "“Without Sunday, We Cannot Live”.  This is posted in the website of the archdiocese and can be downloaded in pdf here.

I have posted here selected entries from the pastoral letter with my emphasis and comments (the Z Style)


14. The liturgical assembly is not only a collection of individuals but the gathering of God’s people called by God to exercise its royal priesthood in the offering of the sacrifice of praise.  [The priesthood of the baptised is different from the priesthood of the ordained.  WE MUST NOT CONFUSE THIS!  Only the validly ordained priest in full communion with the Church can offer the Sacrifice of the Mass, with or without the people. ] Everything in the celebration is so arranged to promote and develop an awareness of the assembly’s common dignity and purpose, its mutual relationship, and its connectedness with the whole church.

15. The Church earnestly desires that all the faithful be led to that full, conscious, and active participation [Here's the liturgical timebomb! The Latin text of Sacrosanctum Concilium is actua participatio (actual participation) NOT activa participatio or active participation.  The meaning of these words are radically different.  Active particiaption opened a floodgate of creativity and antiquarianism!] and in liturgical celebration called for by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people’ (1 Peter2:9; see 2:45) is their right and duty by reason of their baptism (SC 14, RS 37).

17. As your pastors, parish priests share with you their pastoral obligation to ensure that the liturgy is celebrated authentically with due regard for liturgical norms and the needs of the faithful. [IMHO, we should just stick with the faithful observance of the liturgical norms.  If we give in to the "needs" of the faithful, that's where the trouble begins.  What it they need dancing and born-again songs in the Mass to make the celebration "livelier"?  Shall we allow it?  Liturgical norms were set for a purpose otherwise we will all have a smorgasbord of liturgies, per country, per diocese, per parish.]  Parish priests have the duty to promote the full and active participation [see this word again?] by all the people, since the liturgy is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful derive the true Christian spirit (SC 14). Pastors are thus responsible for the instruction of the assembly
regarding their duties and roles in the celebration of the liturgy and for the proper training and formation of lay ministers [I think there is no such thing as a lay minister].

21.  The homily is done at the ambo or the chair [only bishops are allowed to give the sermon/homily at the chair] but not at the altar or the nave of the church.
[That is because in the Philippines some priests would walk around during the homily.  This can be seen on televised Sunday Masses.]

Proper vestments should at all times be worn in keeping with the liturgical norms. Liturgical vesture signifies the sacredness and dignity of the celebration in which Christ and his paschal mystery are at hand. [Overlay stoles are becoming a norm in the Philippines.  Yet there are no concrete efforts to curb this liturgical abuse]

24. When there is no deacon, a reader may carry the Book of the Gospels in front of the presiding priest in the entrance procession and lay it on the center of the altar. (GIRM, 118b, 119,120 194-5) [We do not have permanent deacons in the Philippines so only transitional deacons which are SOOO rare are assigned in parishes.  So this provision becomes a norm for a reader and an exception for a deacon.  Personally, I do not like this provision.  Only the deacon should carry the Book of the Gospels.  If there are no deacons around, let the reader carry teh Lectionary.]

25. The choir is at all times a part of the assembly. [Huh?!?  Since when was the choir not part of the assembly?  One parish I went to went as far as taking the choir out of the choir loft and placing them near the sanctuary to emphasize this point.  Duh!] It should not replace the assembly or dominate the assembly in songs that rightfully belong to them. [Yeah!  Just like in "Charismatic-Healing Masses"  Without the priest, you would think you attended a revivalist worship service.]  The members of the choir participate in the liturgical celebration like the rest of the assembly, but as choir they are also agents of active participation. They exercise their role by leading the assembly in the singing of the praises of God. (GIRM, 103)

The music director, working collaboratively with other ministers, has a particular responsibility to help select musical settings that allow the worthy celebrationof the liturgy, respecting the different nature of the texts and actions of the liturgy, the feast, and the liturgical seasons. (GIRM, 111,352,366; Sacramentum Caritatis, 42)
[Wow I hope this is followed.  Most parishes in Manila, and I mean not only in the Archdiocese sing songs not even classified Catholic.  Songs from Praise, Inc. and other "born-against" Christians are being sung in our Masses and no one is stopping them, not even their own parish priests!]

To ensure the proper exercise of the ministry of music,we strongly recommend that the members of the choir avail themselves of the formation programs offered by the Archdiocesan Music Ministry and the Institute of Music in the Liturgy. [AHA! Leaves a bitter after taste.]

28.Altar Servers
It is a proven fact that many ordained ministers developed their vocation to the priesthood because of their membership in this ministry when they were young. We therefore wish to continue the practice of reserving this ministry to young boys, in order to introduce them to the life and ministry of the Church. (Redemptionis Sacramentum) [Mabuhay Cardinal Rosales!  That'll stop the novelty of altar girls-soon-to-be-hoping-to-become-womyn-priests!]

Liturgy Coordinator
30. We should not belittle the importance of preparing thoroughly [if we keep on thinking of something to make the Mass "livelier".  Yeah you need preparation.  If you attend a Tradional Mass, the preparation rests with Mass goers not with the liturgist.] our Sunday Eucharistic celebration, if we want it to be a source of spiritual growth of our brothers and sisters and the summit to which all activities of the Church are directed. (GIRM, 111,352, RS, 39) We strongly recommend that every parish should have a liturgy coordinator designated to help and assist the pastors in the preparation and coordination of liturgical celebrations. (GIRM, 106) The
liturgy coordinator works in collaboration with the pastor and the other lay liturgical ministers.

The person to be appointed to as liturgy coordinator should have received formation through the liturgy programs of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission [See the trend?]

Parish Master of Liturgical Celebrations
31. The General Instruction on the Roman Missal (no. 106) encourages the appointment of competent ministers called Master of Ceremonies in parishes who will “oversee the
proper planning of sacred actions and their being carried out by the sacred ministers and the lay faithful with decorum, order, and devotion.” “For a liturgical celebration…to be distinguished by grace, simplicity and order,” the Ceremonial of Bishops suggests, “a master of ceremonies is needed.”  [This is am surely in support of.  The presence of a Master of Ceremonies in important liturgical celebrations even in a parish setting is very important...especially in the celebration of the TLM whiiiccchhhh unfortunately it restricted in the archdiocese.  I hope someone out there corrects me on this one.]

32. Many parish priests have attested to the great help such ministers contribute to parish liturgical celebrations as well as to the need for their necessary formation and training. Since liturgy is not only about rubrics and norms [watch out...], the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission will offer liturgical formation with the historical, theological and pastoral aspects and the spirituality of the liturgy. [ As long as it is not the brand on liturgy Annibale Bugnini or Piero Marini espouses!  We want the ones from Guido Marini (the better Marini that is), WDTPRS and the New Liturgical Movement.

Ministry for Liturgical Environment
33. The materials used for divine worship must always be worthy, beautiful and dignified. (Cf. SC, 122-124; GIRM,288) The Mother Butler Guild and in some parishes called Ladies of the Altar are tasked to take care of the vessels, vestments, and other liturgical paraphernalia. They are to ensure that these are kept clean, orderly and worthy of the divine realities they signify. [Amen!]

34. The liturgical documents have recognized the need to “seek the noble assistance of the arts and welcomes artistic expressions.” (GIRM, 289) The parish can tap the talents and skills of the members of the community who are artistically inclined. They can help in the planning and the preparation of an environment that encourages active participation [here's the word again. What encourages active participation?] and serves worthily and beautifully the dignity of worship. Their gifts of creativity, vision and the depthness to see beyond the ordinary lead the people of God to a profound experience of the sacred. [Try attending a TLM.  No need for creativity and you'll fell the profound experience of the sacred.]

39. We realize how the Church desires to nourish us with the Word of God in the Eucharistic celebration. After the council it produced a new Lectionary for the Mass that unfolds the full treasury of the Bible, so that a richer fare might be provided for the faithful at the table of God’s word. [So before the Council we do not have the richness of the Bible?]

45. The great importance of the assembly’s response and acclamation can be difficult to bring out in the short word Amen. This should be sung or at least spoken loudly both at Sunday and weekday celebrations. Musical settings that moderately prolong the Amen or repeat it, though not excessively, can help the assembly respond more adequately to the prayer. [How many Amens is appropriate?]

46. The proper gesture for the Lord’s Prayer is raised hands. [WHAT?!?!  Says who?!?! Read this commentary about this abuse here

The breaking of the bread is done with dignity and deliberation by the priest celebrant, if necessary with the help of a deacon or a concelebrant. (RS 73) It should never be done during the words of consecration. [Good!  Some priests act out the Words of the Institution.  Reverend Showman, eh?] Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion who
will assist at Communion should take their place in the sanctuary after the exchange of peace.

48. ? The faithful are not ordinarily to be given Communion from the tabernacle [Huh?!  Is this the "sharing of the one bread kind of thing?"]. (SC 55; Euch. Myst, nos. 31-32; GIRM 85) Serious effort should be made to observe this norm as a regular practice in our parishes rather than as the exception.

Signs of unjust discrimination or social distinction among persons at the Lord’s Table are to be avoided. When there is obvious intent of profanation, the priest and ministers should gently refuse to give Communion, avoiding the attention of the public.

Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion receive communion from the priest celebrant and receive the vessel of Communion from him.

The manner of receiving communion, whether by hand or in the mouth, is the prerogative of the communicant. [Precisely!  This means even with the  swine flu scare, we can receive it  in the mouth.] (RS 90)

The purification of vessels after communion should be done at the side table and not on the altar. (GIRM 163, 279) [Huh? Why not on the altar, by the priest?]


Aside from male only altar servers, I will not be too giddy about the pastoral letter.  Does not even mention the motu propio Summorum Pontificum.  The cardinal has not even addressed the response of What do you think?

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