Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Sacred Liturgy Nos. 39-50

39. Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament
The Blessed Sacrament is reserved for two reasons: in order to bring communion to the sick, and so that we may adore Jesus truly present in the Eucharist. The Blessed Sacrament is to be “reserved in a tabernacle in a part of the church that is truly noble, prominent, readily visible, beautifully decorated, and suitable for prayer.” There should be only one tabernacle in a church, and it “should be immovable, be made of solid and inviolable material that is not transparent (cannot be seen through), and be locked.” The tabernacle where the Eucharist is reserved is not to be on an Altar where Mass is celebrated. It may be located in the sanctuary or in a separate chapel but the chapel must be connected to the church and easily visible. The tabernacle must be constructed in such a way that it cannot be broken into, or the sacred species profaned.
A lamp is to be kept always burning when the Blessed Sacrament is in the tabernacle, as a sign of the living presence of Christ. The tabernacle veil is also a sign of the real presence of Christ in the tabernacle.
No one may take the Blessed Sacrament to his or her home or keep It on one’s person. If one is taking communion to the sick, one should go directly there from the church and not carry the Blessed Sacrament elsewhere.
GIRM 314-317, RS 139-133

40. Eucharistic Worship Outside Mass
The worship of the Eucharist outside Mass is of inestimable value in the life of the Church, and is closely linked to the celebration of the Eucharist itself. Therefore, both public and private devotion to the Eucharist ought to be vigorously promoted and supported by Pastors.
Adoration before Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament should be promoted for it is essential to the life of Catholics. The faithful are encouraged to make frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament, where Christ is truly present. Churches should be designated, at least in larger cities, for Perpetual Adoration.
The Blessed Sacrament, when it is exposed for Adoration, should never be left alone for any period of time.
Whenever possible, Eucharistic Congresses and processions of the Blessed Sacrament should be held, as an occasion for worship of the Blessed Sacrament, and as a public witness to the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, especially processions on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.
RS 134-145

41. Matter for Consecration
When the priest recites the words of consecration, echoing the words of Jesus, the bread and wine really and substantially become the Body and Blood of Jesus, though the appearances of bread and wine remain.
It is not possible to consecrate just anything into the Body and Blood of Jesus. The Scriptures record that Jesus took “bread” (according to ancient Jewish custom, it would have been unleavened wheat bread) and “a cup” (of wine according to Passover custom).
Valid matter for the consecration of the Eucharist, according to continuous Church tradition and law, is unleavened bread, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition; and pure, incorrupt, wine made from grapes, to which a little water is added at Mass. There can be no additives to the bread, such as fruit or honey. In order for the Eucharist to have the appearance of bread and wine while substantially being Christ’s Body and Blood, the matter for consecration must be real bread and wine, which are edible and resemble real food. Things like moldy bread, muffins, ordinary grape juice, wine that has turned to vinegar, or any other substitutes are unacceptable.
RS 48-50

42. The Church and its Furnishings
The celebration of the Mass is to be carried out in a sacred place. In situations of emergency, where no church is available, the place where Mass is celebrated must be decent and respectable. It is not lawful to celebrate Mass in a temple or worship space of a non-Christian religion.
Churches should be suitable for worship, conducive to the actual participation of the faithful, truly worthy and beautiful, and be signs and symbols of heavenly realities.
The Church seeks the assistance of artists in the design of sacred buildings. She strives to preserve works of art from throughout the centuries and promote new works of art in every age. Art used in the decoration of a church requires a true excellence which inspires faith and is fitting for the sacred purpose for which it is intended. Church decoration should be characterized by a noble simplicity rather than by ostentation or excess.
The proper arrangement of church furnishings expresses both the hierarchical ordering of the Body of Christ and the unity of the Body. Furnishings should be appropriate for the carrying out of all the liturgical ministries.
All churches should be dedicated, or at least blessed.
GIRM 288-294

43. The Church and its Furnishings Cont’d.
The Sanctuary of the church is the place where the Altar stands, where the Word of God is proclaimed, and where the ministers, servers, and readers exercise their offices. It should be marked off from the rest of the church by some structure and ornamentation.
In every church, there should be a fixed (not moveable) Altar. In other places where Mass is celebrated, the Altar may be moveable. The altar should be freestanding, so that one can walk around it, and should be the central focus of the church. A fixed Altar is dedicated; a moveable altar may be either dedicated or simply blessed. Altars should be made of solid, worthy materials, such as stone or wood. Relics of Saints may be placed under an altar.
“Old” Altars, which are part of the heritage of the parish church and are often of great artistic merit may remain when a new Altar is erected (See GIRM No. 303).
The altar must be covered with at least one white cloth for the celebration of Mass. Moderation should be used in the decoration of the Altar, especially during Advent, a season of quiet anticipation. During Lent it is forbidden to decorate the Altar with flowers. There is always to be a crucifix and candles on or near the Altar. Only those things required for Mass may be placed on the Altar.
GIRM 295-308

44. The Church and its Furnishings Cont’d.
The dignity of the Word of God requires that every church have a place suitable for proclamation – a stationary Pulpit or Ambo clearly visible to the faithful and constructed so that the readers may be easily seen and heard. From the ambo are proclaimed the Scriptures, the Easter Proclamation (Exsultet), and the Prayer of the Faithful. Only ministers of the Word are to use the ambo.
The chair for the priest must signify his office of presiding over the gathering and directing the prayer. It may be at the head of the sanctuary facing the people, or in some other suitable place, especially if the tabernacle is at the head of the sanctuary. Any appearance of a throne is to be avoided.
The “Blessed Sacrament should be reserved in a tabernacle in a part of the church that is truly noble, prominent, readily visible, beautifully decorated, and suitable for prayer.” The tabernacle must be lockable, and made of solid and inviolable material. The tabernacle may be in the sanctuary of the main church, or in a separate chapel, which is connected to the church and readily visible to the faithful.
GIRM 309-317

45. Sacred Images and Church Appointments
In the earthly liturgy, the Church participates, by a foretaste, in the heavenly liturgy. In venerating the memory of the saints, the Church hopes one day to celebrate the heavenly liturgy with Mary, the angels and the saints, and to enjoy fellowship with them. Thus, images of the Lord, the Blessed Mother, and the saints, should be displayed in sacred buildings for the veneration of the faithful. The Church honors the memory of the saints, hold up their example of faith, and prays for their intercession; Catholics do not “worship” saints or their images. Images should be arranged so as to usher the faithful toward the mysteries of faith celebrated in the church. There should usually be only one image of any given saint, and images should not be excessive in number.
A “noble simplicity” should be observed in the decoration of churches and the use of sacred art.
Every church is to have a sacrarium, a sink that empties directly into the ground, into which blessed water and water used to purify sacred vessels and linens can be poured (rather than into a sewer).
All the liturgical appointments, books, linens, vessels, furnishings, etc., which are used for the sacred liturgy, should be truly worthy, dignified, beautiful, suitable for sacred use in church, and be signs of heavenly realities.
GIRM 318, 325-26, 334, 348-51

46. Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest
On Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the day when Jesus Christ rose from the dead, the Church gathers to commemorate the Resurrection and the whole Paschal Mystery – Christ’s becoming man, suffering, dying, and rising for our salvation. She celebrates the Paschal Mystery especially by the celebration of the Mass. Every Christian community is rooted in and hinges upon the celebration of the Eucharist. It is the right of the faithful to have the Eucharist celebrated for them on Sundays and holydays of obligation. Pastoral solutions, under the direction of the Bishop and his priests, should be considered, so that all the faithful may celebrate Mass on these days. Priests have an obligation to provide Mass for the faithful.
If the celebration of Mass is not possible for some grave reason, then the faithful have the right to have the Bishop provide for them some celebration on Sundays and holydays. Those involved in such celebrations should keep alive a hunger for the Eucharist, and remember that these celebrations (commonly known as “Liturgy of the Word” or “communion service”) are extraordinary, and are not the same as the Mass. A lay person is not to be referred to as “presiding” over the celebration, nor to be confused with the role of a priest. It is “unthinkable” to substitute for the Mass ecumenical services or participation in the liturgies of non-Catholic churches or communities.
RS 162-67

47. General Norms
A genuflection – a reverence made by bending the right knee to the ground – signifies adoration. It is reserved for the Blessed Sacrament, and for the Holy Cross on Good Friday. The priest makes a genuflection after he elevates the Host and Chalice, and before Communion.
Everyone is to genuflect when passing the Tabernacle, or when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed on the Altar for adoration.
If the Tabernacle is in the sanctuary, the ministers of the liturgy genuflect when entering and leaving the sanctuary. However, during the liturgy, the focus is on the Altar, where the Eucharist will be consecrated, so the ministers bow to the Altar rather than genuflect toward the Tabernacle during Mass.
A bow of the head is made at the mention of the Trinity, the names of Jesus and Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor a Mass is celebrated.
A bow of the body is made toward the altar, and by the priest and deacon during special prayers of the Mass.
Each person also bows before receiving Communion.
GIRM 273-275

48. Norms Regarding Incense
When incense is used it is so at the following times:
at the beginning of Mass in procession and to incense the Altar,
at the Gospel to incense the Evangeliary (“Gospel Book”),
at the Offertory to incense the Gifts, Altar, Cross, priest(s), and people,
and at the Consecration to incense the Host and Chalice.
Incense is an ancient symbol of the presence of God. Incense also reminds us of the prayers of the Church rising up to Heaven, as the Psalms exclaim: “Let my prayer arise before You like incense” (Psalm 141).
When incense is used, certain rubrics apply. The Altar is incensed with a series of single swings. The Cross, Altar, priest, people, Evangeliary, and Eucharist are incensed with three double swings of the thurible. Relics and images of the B.V.M and saints are incensed with two double swings. Before and after incensing, a profound bow is made to the person or object being incensed.
GIRM 276-277

49. General Norms Regarding the Mass
The priest is to choose from the options for the Eucharistic Prayer (the prayer during which the bread and wine are consecrated and become the Body and Blood of Jesus) given in the Sacramentary. No one is to compose Eucharistic Prayers or change the prayers of the Church. The Eucharistic prayer is to be prayed entirely by the priest(s) alone. There is to be no musical accompaniment during this prayer.
The practice in some places of the priest breaking the Host at the time of the consecration is an abuse and to be corrected with haste.
The faithful have the right to a celebration of the Mass that is carefully prepared according to the liturgical norms of the Church, in which clean and dignified vestments, linens and furnishings are used. The practice of priests and laity altering the texts of the prayers of the Mass is to cease, for it renders the Liturgy unstable and distorts its meaning. Non-biblical texts (poetry, popular music, etc.) may not be substituted for the Scripture Readings.
The proclamation of the Gospel and the preaching of the Homily are reserved to the priest and deacon, and are never to be given to the laity.
If there is a need for a layperson to speak at Mass, this is to be done after the Post-Communion Prayer. This is not a substitute for the Homily.
No other creed or profession of faith may be substituted for the Creed of the Church at Mass.
It is not permissible to join the Mass with a communal celebration of the Sacrament of Penance, nor with a common meal, nor with political or secular events. The Mass is not to be celebrated in a dining room setting, with people seated at tables. It is not permissible to introduce into the Mass rites of other religions.
RS 51-79

50. Abuses and Sacrilege
A person who throws away the consecrated species (the Blessed Sacrament or the Precious Blood), or who takes them away from the church for a sacrilegious purpose, incurs a latae sententiae, that is, automatic, excommunication. A cleric who does this may be punished by being dismissed from the clerical state. These penalties show the seriousness of showing reverence and care for the Eucharist.
“Whenever an abuse is committed in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, it is to be seen as a real falsification of Catholic Liturgy.” (Redemptionis Sacramentum, No. 169) There is a need in the Church for both pastors and people to experience biblical and liturgical formation, so that the Liturgy may be celebrated without abuse, and so that Liturgy may be taught and presented accurately.
Where abuses persist, action should be taken to safeguard the Liturgy and the spiritual heritage of the Church.
Graviora delicta, or “grave abuses,” are those abuses which put at risk the validity and dignity of the Eucharist. In other words, grave abuses include those actions that make the Mass invalid or constitute serious sacrilege.
Even lesser abuses are to be treated as serious. The diocesan Bishop is responsible for issuing norms on liturgical matters and for dealing with abuses. It is the duty of everyone in the Church to do what is in their power to protect the Eucharist from irreverence and to see that abuses are corrected.
RS 169-183

The Sacred Liturgy Nos. 35-38

35. Liturgical Vestments
Not all the members of the Body of Christ have the same role. The variety of offices and ministries is shown outwardly by the diversity of sacred vestments. Besides being a sign of the office proper to each minister, the vestments contribute to the beauty of the sacred action. It is appropriate that the vestments worn by liturgical ministers be blessed according to the Roman Rite before they are used.
The garment common to all instituted lectors or acolytes, ordained priests and deacons is the Alb. It is a white robe (the word alb in Latin means “white”). It is tied at the waist with a Cincture. An Amice is worn if the alb does not cover the street clothes at the neck. It is a square piece of white cloth that ties around the neck. The pure white Alb represents purity and the Cincture around the waist symbolizes chastity.
For the priest and deacon, the Stole is worn for Mass and other liturgical functions. It is a band of fabric in the color of the day that hangs around the neck; for the priest it hangs straight and for the deacon it hangs at an angle across the body. The stole symbolizes the authority of the office.
A deacon wears a Dalmatic over the top of the other vestments at Mass. A priest wears a Chasuble on top, symbolizing charity, which covers all things and is to permeate his whole life.
The Cope is a cape worn for processions, the Liturgy of the Hours, and Benediction.
GIRM 335-144

36. Liturgical Vestments Continued
The Liturgy is always to be celebrated with all the required vestments. The celebrant at Mass is always to wear the Chasuble over the top of the Alb and Stole. Concelebrating priests may wear only the Stole over the Alb.
The Stole may not be omitted, nor is it to be worn over the Chasuble. The Alb may not be omitted either. A priest may not celebrate Mass without vestments, or simply with a Stole over the ordinary clothes or religious habit.
The colors of the vestments are important liturgical symbols. White is worn for celebrations of the Lord, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, of Saints who were not Martyrs, and for the Feasts of the Nativity of John the Baptist (June 24, Saint John the Evangelist December 27), the Chair of Saint Peter February 22), and the Conversion of Saint Paul (January 25). Gold and Silver vestments, festive in nature, may be used in place of White.
Red, symbolic of the fire of the Holy Spirit, and of the blood of Christ and of the Martyrs, is worn for the celebrations of the Lord’s Passion, Pentecost, and Feasts of the Apostles and Evangelists, and Martyrs.
Green is used during The Season of the Year (“Ordinary Time”).
Violet is worn in Advent and Lent.
Rose is worn on Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent) and Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent, as a symbol of hope and the joy we anticipate in Christmas and Easter.
Either Black, Violet, or White may be worn at Funerals.
RS 121-128, GIRM 346

37. Sacred Vessels
The vessels used in the celebration of Mass are held in high honor, especially the chalice and paten, in which the bread and wine, which become the Body and Blood of Jesus, are offered and consecrated, and from which they are consumed. Sacred vessels are to be made of precious metal, or some other solid material that does not rust, break, or deteriorate, and is not porous or absorbent.
Vessels may be fashioned by artists to reflect the customs of different places, provided they are distinguishable from ordinary items of everyday use, e.g. common wineglasses and household dishes. The vessels used for the liturgy are always to be of high quality, beautiful, and noble. They ought to be signs of the Church’s faith in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Sacred vessels are to be blessed according to the rites of the Church.
Preferably, the sacred vessels are to be purified after Communion but they may also be purified immediately after Mass. The water used to wash the vessels, which contains the sacred species, is poured down a sacrarium, a special sink (required of every church) that empties directly into the ground. Great care is always to be taken that the remaining Precious Blood is consumed during Mass, immediately after Communion, and that the vessels are purified well and reverently.
GIRM 327-334, RS 117-119

38. Linens Used in the Liturgy
It is the duty of pastors, and indeed all those entrusted with service to the Liturgy, to take care that the altar cloths and linens are always clean, neat, and appropriate for sacred worship. The linens that will receive the sacred species, i.e. corporal and purificator, need to be washed in the traditional way, by washing them in water and pouring the water into the sacrarium or directly into the ground.
The corporal is a square, white cloth placed on the Altar. On it are placed the chalice(s), paten, and ciboria. It helps to define for the priest the bread and wine he intends to consecrate: clearly those on the corporal, and not those on the credence table or in the cupboard. It also serves to catch particles of the sacred species that may fall on the Altar. The purificator is a rectangular cloth used to wipe the chalice after one has drunk from it. The pall is the square piece of cardboard covered in cloth used to cover the chalice. Current norms indicate that chalices are also veiled in a veil matching the color of the vestments of the day, or white.
Altar cloths are always white. Colored cloths according to the liturgical season are called frontals or antependia (from the Latin words meaning “to hang in front”). Great care should always be taken in the manufacturing, display and cleaning of the linens and cloths used in the Liturgy.
RS 120