Bishop teaches on liturgy, Mass revisions in 2011 Festival Letter

Photo Caption: Bishop Jenky and priests of the diocese celebrate Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. The bishop’s 2011 Festival Letter is a reflection on the Sacred Liturgy.

By: By Jennifer Willems

Saying that “the liturgy is something near and dear to the heart of every Catholic,” Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, is using the pages of his Ninth Festival Letter to outline the ways the Diocese of Peoria will prepare for implementation of the new translation of the Roman Missal on the First Sunday of Advent 2011.

Titled “Credo! I Believe! A Reflection on the Sacred Liturgy,” the festival letter is dated Jan. 2, 2011, the Solemnity of the Epiphany. It is published in its entirety in the print issue of The Catholic Post dated Dec. 26, 2010, and can be viewed online by clicking on the “Festival Letter” link at upper right on this page.

The document also talks about the need for the revised translation of the Mass prayers and looks at five examples of what changed and why. Bishop Jenky’s reflection includes a call to personal holiness, “for that is the purpose of the divine liturgy — that our worship is offered to God ‘for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy church.'”

“I hope this festival letter can be a springboard for our diocesanwide effort not only to faithfully implement the third edition of the Roman Missal of Paul VI, but also to continue the larger liturgical renewal enthusiastically called for by the fathers of the Second Vatican Council,” Bishop Jenky said.

Noting that the liturgy is “the principle means by which we encounter God and God encounters us,” the bishop explained that over the centuries “the church has not been afraid to revise both her ritual and its language.”

“In this way, the church accomplishes two things. On the one hand, she ensures that the liturgy more clearly and faithfully hands on the truths of the faith,” he said, “and, on the other hand, she makes their comprehension more attainable by the faithful.”

The revised translation of the prayers of Mass is the result of a long and diligent process, according to Bishop Jenky.

“Our current translations have served us well for 40 years, but now it’s time to go deeper into the mystery, to see with renewed clarity the riches of our faith,” he said.

It is true that the revised translations generally follow their Latin sources more closely, but Bishop Jenky said this has been done for a good reason.
“Fidelity to the Latin ensures that Catholics throughout the world are united in their prayer,” he said, and that “the faith is passed on in all its fullness.”

Catholic culture will also benefit from having a “ritual language” that is different from everyday speech, the bishop said, noting that “it is all the more appropriate that when we enter into the sacred spaces of our churches, we should have a special, sacral language with which to address God.”

Bishop Jenky said it is important to note that not every text has changed. For example, the Lord’s Prayer and most of the people’s responses remain the same.

There has been a slight “tweaking” in other prayers, such as in the Holy, Holy, Holy, he said, while more obvious re-translations has taken place with other texts and responses. The bishop explored five of those re-translations, including the omission of a common form of the Memorial Acclamation: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”

“This particular acclamation was an American adaptation included in the 1970 and 1975 editions of the Sacramentary approved by the Vatican,”
Bishop Jenky explained. “Yet there has never been a version of this acclamation in the original Latin missal. The Vatican turned down the request to add this exception for the United States, in part, because it has no roots in the Latin tradition but perhaps more importantly for theological reasons.”

The first time the Son of God is directly addressed in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, this is a pinnacle moment, the bishop said. “The American acclamation ‘Christ has died’ grammatically speaks about Christ in the third person, lessening our profession that he is truly present on the altar.”

To help people explore these texts and their theology, and to prepare for their implementation, Bishop Jenky said the 2011 Summer Catechetical Institute will focus in a special way on liturgical renewal, and fall workshops are being planned for liturgical musicians, permanent deacons and those in diaconal formation.

The bishop also hopes to prepare a short, instructional DVD that will be shown at the beginning of October and be followed by a “comprehensive, parish-based program.”

In addition, the bishop is asking that “commentators” and readers be at the microphone at Mass to lead the congregation in common prayers starting on the First Sunday of Advent 2011 and ending by the celebration of the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, on Jan. 1, 2012.

“More personally, I encourage the faithful to pray these new texts,” Bishop Jenky said.

“I pray that the months leading up to Advent 2011 give us an ‘excuse’ to deepen our love for the liturgy and renew all of our liturgical practices,” he said.

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