Category Archives: Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments

Blessing of Crosses

On the old liturgical calendar today we find the feast of the Discovery of the True Cross by Saint Helena. A few years ago I had the privilege of spending a month at the Abbey of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem in Rome where the relics of the True Cross and Passion are preserved. How beautiful and holy it was to be a part of a worshipping community that had the presence of such items connected with the oblation of Our Lord and Savior! Every day I spent time in prayer in the chapel holding the these relics. So, that the revised liturgical calendar deleted this feast is a sad state of affairs. It is, after all, the cross of Christ that gives new life! As part of the rites for the day we find the Blessed of Crosses. 

Discovery & Proof of the True Cross PdellaFrancesca.jpg

P: Our help
is in the name of the Lord.

All: Who made heaven and earth.

P: The Lord be with

All: And with your spirit. 

Let us pray.

Almighty everlasting God, merciful
Father and our unalloyed comfort, in virtue of the bitter suffering that your
only- begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, endured for us sinners on the wood
of the cross, bless + these crosses which your faithful will set up in their
vineyards, gardens, fields, and other places. Shield the land where they are
placed from hail, tornado, storm, and every onslaught of the enemy, so that the
produce, ripened for the harvest, may be gathered to your honor by those who
put their trust in the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives
and reigns with you forever and ever.

All: Amen.

New liturgical texts approved by Pope today, Mass to change

The Holy Father addressed Vox Clara during a lunch meeting, and approved the new translation of the 2002 Roman Missal. This is tremendous news. I look forward to praying the new texts! Not a perfect text but one that’s more theologically correct than the current missal. Some work still needs to be done but that ought to be finished shortly so that publishers, musicians, priests, and laity can make the new texts available for the anticipated inauguration for the First Sunday of Advent 2011. Each of the 11 English speaking conferences of bishops will get to work on rolling out the new missal in their countries with the proper catechetical formation for clergy and laity alike. The Pope’s words today:

archbishop incensing.jpg

I thank you for
the work that Vox Clara has done over the last eight years, assisting and
advising the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the
Sacraments in fulfilling its responsibilities with regard to the English
translations of liturgical texts. This has been a truly collegial enterprise.
Not only are all five continents represented in the membership of the
Committee, but you have been assiduous in drawing together contributions from
Bishops’ Conferences in English-speaking territories all over the world. I
thank you for the great labour you have expended in your study of the
translations and in processing the results of the many consultations that have
been conducted. I thank the expert assistants for offering the fruits of their
scholarship in order to render a service to the universal Church. And I thank
the Superiors and Officials of the Congregation for their daily, painstaking
work of overseeing the preparation and translation of texts that proclaim the
truth of our redemption in Christ, the Incarnate Word of God.

Saint Augustine
spoke beautifully of the relation between John the Baptist, the vox clara that
resounded on the banks of the Jordan, and the Word that he spoke. A voice, he
said, serves to share with the listener the message that is already in the
speaker’s heart. Once the word has been spoken, it is present in the hearts of
both, and so the voice, its task having been completed, can fade away (cf.
Sermon 293). I welcome the news that the English translation of the Roman
Missal will soon be ready for publication, so that the texts you have worked so
hard to prepare may be proclaimed in the liturgy that is celebrated across the
anglophone world
. Through these sacred texts and the actions that accompany
them, Christ will be made present and active in the midst of his people. The
voice that helped bring these words to birth will have completed its task.

new task will then present itself, one which falls outside the direct
competence of Vox Clara, but which in one way or another will involve all of
you – the task of preparing for the reception of the new translation by clergy
and lay faithful. Many will find it hard to adjust to unfamiliar texts after
nearly forty years of continuous use of the previous translation. The change
will need to be introduced with due sensitivity, and the opportunity for
catechesis that it presents will need to be firmly grasped
. I pray that in this
way any risk of confusion or bewilderment will be averted, and the change will
serve instead as a springboard for a renewal and a deepening of Eucharistic
devotion all over the English-speaking world.

Dear Brother Bishops, Reverend
Fathers, Friends, I want you to know how much I appreciate the great
collaborative endeavour to which you have contributed. Soon the fruits of your
labours will be made available to English-speaking congregations everywhere. As
the prayers of God’s people rise before him like incense (cf. Psalm 140:2), may
the Lord’s blessing come down upon all who have contributed their time and
expertise to crafting the texts in which those prayers are expressed. Thank
you, and may you be abundantly rewarded for your generous service to God’s

The sacred Liturgy shapes freedom & is the principle of our renewal

Cardinal Canizares at Mass.jpg

Curious to what others think, I was elated to see the connections the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship (Rome), Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, made with the sacred Liturgy in an interv: evangelization, civilization and freedom. It is not very surprising to me that the Prefect of this particular Vatican office said that the Liturgy is the vehicle for our intellectual and cultural renewal. It is new data for those see the Church’s liturgical life as a method for community organizing and feeling good about themselves. I was surprised however, that the Cardinal indicated that the Pope is in favor of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Not that the Pope is radically in disfavor  of it but that the Pope’s committed to the document. With all that document’s flaws and the misinterpretations, this is something for me to chew on. May be the Pope is right in that we have to re-evaluate our interpretation of SC. Since 2013 is the 50th anniversary of SC, I am hoping for a brilliant liturgical letter from the Pope. Ultimately, the point is, do we really know what the sacred Liturgy is and how it is a path unto our eternal destiny? Do we really understand that the Liturgy, not our ideology, sets bar for our interior conversion?

Here are some excerpts of the Cardinal’s interview:

“To evangelise the culture means having one’s gaze
fixed on Christ
because a man who accepts Christ – who is truly man – will have
Christ’s mentality, thoughts, and feelings,” he said.

“[To build] a civilisation of love, as John Paul II and
Benedict XVI have called for, seems to be a work of evangelisation because in
such a society, God really is recognized as God. The problem of our times is a
culture built without God.”

When it comes to re-evangelising the West in general he [the Cardinal] pointed to the example of St Benedict of Norcia and his search for God and
imitation of Christ. But changing the mentality, he said, includes measures
such as “renewing the liturgy”, reintroducing a “correct sense
of freedom” and presenting “a true and stronger” sense of

Being of similar mind to Benedict XVI he [the Cardinal] naturally has the
same approach to the liturgy which he sees not only as important for the
Church, but also for the world at large.

“Benedict XVI reminds us that the first document of the
Second Vatican Council was Sacrosanctum Concilium [the Constitution on the
Sacred Liturgy], and the last document was Gaudium et Spes, [the Pastoral
Constitution on the Church in the Modern World].” he said.

“If we want to be present as Christians in the world,
to form and renew the world, to bring peace, freedom et cetera, we cannot do
that without leaning on the liturgy
, on Sacrosanctum Concilium. For this
reason, the Holy Father is very committed to renew the liturgy, to recover
Sacrosanctum Concilium.”

“The liturgy is the first banquet of God; it’s where we can
identify God, it’s prayer, it’s where we can discover salvation, the work of
Grace – all of which are God’s initiative,” he said. “When this is
lived, when it is at the centre of one’s life, the heart changes, the mentality
changes, and also society.”

~Taken from Edward Pentin’s Catholic Herald article of April 16, 2010.

Grail Psalter, Revised –gets Vatican approval

Abbot Gregory Polan2.jpgOn November 11, 2008, Abbot Gregory Polan of Conception Abbey received the US bishops’ positive vote for the liturgical use of the Revised Grail Psalter. The Grail Psalter was first published for liturgical use in 1963 and revised by Abbot Gregory and monks of Conception Abbey according to current translation principles including Liturgiam Authenticam (2001)

Recently, the whole project received what is called the “recognitio” from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments (the Vatican office deputed by the pope to guide liturgical matters) in a March 19th letter to Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, Bishop of Paterson and Chairman of the US Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship.

The reception of Vatican approval of these texts means that future liturgical books will use this translation of the Psalms.

Read Conception Abbey’s press release on receiving the Vatican recognitio for the Revised Grail Psalter, which gives many of the interesting details of the work.

The Catholic Key Blog ran a story on the matter on Thursday, April 15, 2010.

Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus, That in all things may God be glorified

The newly baptized, the new lambs: Isti sunt Agni novelli

B16 baptizes Easter 2010.jpgThese are the
lambs, newly-baptized,

who proclaimed the
glad tidings:  Alleluia! recently come to
the waters, and full of God’s
light and splendor. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Lady, Queen, whom
grace from heaven, Has preferred to
all on earth, Now renewed, the
world is brightened, By your holy

Oh, how lovely and
how wondrous, Is the cure that
saved us all: Jesus, in His love,
becomes now, Victim for His people’s

Now renewed through
holy washing, In the font of our
rebirth, Soon the chrism’s
oil and fragrance, Will give strength
to us on earth!

To each Christian
now is given, Christ’s own Flesh
as Bread of Life. Christ’s own Blood
becomes the sweetest, Source of joy in all our strife!

Easter week brings so many joys, graces and consolations. One such joy, grace and consolation that I’ve been thinking and praying about all week during Mass and praying the Divine Office, is the is new life in Christ that those received into the Church at the Easter Vigil and on Easter Sunday. The gift of salvation given to us is has once again been given to other called not by human concern but by the Holy Spirit. The Neophytes –the newly-initiated Christians who were baptized and confirmed and communicated– live differently now that the doors of our God-given destiny has been received. Musically we can think of the chant text given above, “Isti sunt Agni novelli,” taken from the Cistercian collection Laudes Vespertine (Westmalle, Belgium, 1939) which gives a keen insight into this beautiful mystery of faith. May Christ shower His blessing on all of us!

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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