During the next several months, the archdiocesan office for liturgy and sacramental life will be renewing its commitment to serving as a resource to pastors, parishes and the faithful in the continued renewal of the sacred liturgy in the life of the church as called for by the Second Vatican Council.
Before Vatican II, things were relatively simple. The Mass had not changed in hundreds of years. Priests offered it, and people attended it. There appeared to be little need for diocesan liturgical support.
But the bishops attending the council actually saw a great need for liturgical revitalization in the life of the church and the faithful. They decreed that the sacred liturgy should be renewed as a whole, reformed as needed and revised as to best reveal its true nature and meaning. Dioceses began to establish liturgical commissions and offices to assist in this unprecedented ambition.
In those first years following the council, the Mass and sacraments began to change outwardly, and the faithful were called to renew inwardly and outwardly their liturgical experience. Training and education were needed, and diocesan liturgical commissions and offices were called to provide them.
Having learned a lot about liturgy in the past 50 years, we still have much more to learn. We must continually move forward in the process of liturgical renewal, learning valuable things from the past while still living in the present.
The Mass and sacraments are far more precious gifts than we fully comprehend. They constitute who we are and express how we are to live. The primary task of the diocesan liturgical office these days is to nurture sacramental formation and spirituality.
We’ve pretty much settled in concerning the revised Missal, and so the archdiocesan office for liturgy and sacramental life has prepared an evaluation tool to assist us in reviewing how we celebrate the Sunday Mass in our parishes. Pastors and parish music and liturgy coordinators can expect to receive this user-friendly resource by Advent.
In October, pastors and parishes will receive some materials designed to help us better appreciate our rites of Christian burial and the importance of accompanying and remembering those who have died in the Lord.
Beginning in January, I will provide the opportunity for any parish to host an “evening of reflection” on the beautiful gift of sacramental reconciliation. Using Jesus’ beloved parable about the prodigal son, his good father and his angry brother, we’ll begin with sin, plow through conversion, embrace mercy and conclude with redemption!
And, beginning this fall, we begin a new format for an archdiocesan choir. All singers are welcomed to learn more. Information may be found online at: www.archkck.org/choir.
“The Sacred Liturgy . . . indispensable source of the true Christian spirit” (Saint Pius X).