Tag Archives: liturgy

Beautiful Liturgy is hard work, Monsignor Guido Marini reminds

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The worship of the Triune God is our single most important work. No other work of the faithful, laity and clergy alike, is equal to praise of God through the sacred Liturgy and personal prayer. Jason Horowitz of The Washington Post published an article on December 25, 2010, “Pope’s master of liturgy helps Benedict restore traditions.” Very interesting indeed. I, for one, am very grateful to Monsignor Guido Marini for the hard work he’s done in helping the Church pray more authentically, particularly at the Liturgy celebrated by the Supreme Pontiff. A native of Genoa, born in 1965, Monsignor Marini is the Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, a position he’s had since October 1, 2007. In a previous incarnation Marini served Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi (now archbishop of Milan) and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, (now Secretary of State), both former archbishops of Genoa. He earned a doctorate in the psychology of communication and also holds the duel doctorate in canon and civil law.

In Rome on
a rainy Christmas Eve, Pope Benedict XVI followed a procession of Swiss guards,
bishops and priests down the central nave of St. Peter’s Basilica to celebrate
midnight Mass before dignitaries and a global television audience.

And
Monsignor Guido Marini, as always, followed the pope.

A tall,
reed-thin cleric with a receding hairline and wire-framed glasses, Marini, 45,
perched behind the pope’s left shoulder, bowed with him at the altar and
adjusted the pontiff’s lush robes. As Master of Pontifical Liturgical
Celebrations, he shadows the pope’s every move and makes sure that every
candle, Gregorian chant and gilded vestment is exactly as he, the pope and God
intended it to be.

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Cardinal Cañizares Llovera: Creativity in Mass has no place

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Andrea Tornielli published an interview with Antonio
Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, 65, from Spain, Prefect of the Congregation for
Divine Worship in Il Giornale, “Basta con la messa creativa, in chiesa
silenzio e preghiera” [“Enough with the Creative Mass, in Church
Silence and Prayer”].


You will want to read this very fascinating interview in
Italian here
. Shawn Tribe at the New Liturgical
Movement blog
has posted a translation of just a few paragraphs with
the hope of posting a translation of the full interview in due time.

Father Z
has provided what is likely the central point of the interview:
 

Andrea Tornielli: How do you judge the state of Catholic
liturgy in the world?

Cardinal Cañizares: “In view of a risk of the routine, in
view of some confusion, impoverishment, and banality in singing and in sacred
music, one can say that there is a certain crisis.  For this reason a new
liturgical movement is urgent.  Benedict XVI, pointing to the example of
St. Francis of Assisi, very devoted to the Most Holy Sacrament, explained that
the true reformed is someone who obey the Faith: he doesn’t act in an arbitrary
way and doesn’t claim for himself discretion over the rite.  He is not the
master but the custodian of the treasure instituted by the Lord and entrusted
to us.  The Pope asks, therefore, from our Congregation to promote a
renewal in conformity with Vatican II in harmony with the liturgical tradition
of the Church, without forgetting the Conciliare norm that orders not to
introduce innovations when the true and verified need of the Church requires
them, with the caution that new forms, in every case, must flow organically
from those already in existence.”

Mass Ad Orientem: 10 good reasons

ad orientem.jpgA friend started a few years ago, after doing the required study and catechesis, to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass facing East, or if you will, facing God. Father Kirby argues well his case for a priest to offer Mass suing the ad orientem gesture. And for goodness sake, don’t call it “Mass with the priest’s back to the congregation.” It only shows ignorance of a proper liturgical tradition to say such. This aspect praying the Mass is met with fear and anger from bishops and seminary professors, not to mention pastors and laity that has more to do with a lack of understanding of liturgical prayer and too often agenda-ladened.

Father Mark Daniel Kirby lists 10 good reasons why a priest ought to celebrate Mass in the more venerable and correct way of celebrating the Mass:

1. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is experienced as having a theocentric direction and focus.
2. The faithful are spared the tiresome clerocentrism that has so overtaken the celebration of Holy Mass in the past forty years.
3. It has once again become evident that the Canon of the Mass (Prex Eucharistica) is addressed to the Father, by the priest, in the name of all.

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The Liturgical Institute launches

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2010 is the 10th anniversary of the Liturgical Institute at Mundelein Seminary. Congrats to Father Douglas Martis, Denis McNamara and Kevin Thornton for the hard work of making the LI a place of prayer, study and research/publication.

The Institute’s publishing venture, Hillenbrand Books, has 33 titles to date, many outstanding in research and writing.

The enrollment has never been higher, the work of the Liturgical Institute has not been more vigorous than it is now and our engagement in the Church’s sacred Liturgy as never been as needed as it is now in the 21st century.

Preparing for Advent: the wreath as a sign that Salvation is at hand


Prophet Isaiah GPiamonte.jpgThe new liturgical year begins tonight at First Vespers for Advent (as a point of comparison, the Church in Milan which follows its own liturgical calendar and set of customs began Advent on November 14th this year [2010]). A new liturgical year refreshes our understanding of good Catholic customs and practices, a renews the emphasis of ongoing conversion and encourages a lively following of God Incarnate — all these things are essential hallmarks of Advent.

The newness the Advent gives to us is seen as a feast for the senses (Catholics are sensual people) known through investment of our best resources and energies: the Church’s vesture changes to purple, silence is observed a little more in the Liturgy, the sacred Scriptures draws out attention to waiting and preparing the way of the Lord (think of the Prophet Isaiah pictured right), the season’s music focuses our hopes and loves on the Kingdom already present but not fully realized and our homes, the “domestic church,” reinforces our seeking God together. As Father U. Michael Lang, CO, said in a recent essay on vestments, “Divine beauty manifests itself in an altogether particular way in the sacred liturgy, also through material things of which man, made of soul and body, has need to come to spiritual realities: the buildings of worship, the furnishings, the vestments, the images, the music, the dignity of ceremonies themselves.”

As one small sign for the daily and weekly journey, our movement in this season of preparation is the Advent wreath — a tangible sign of movement to recognizing more deeply that our Salvation is at hand. The Advent wreath is, however, not a parish church custom as much as it is custom for one’s home (but you can’t persuade too many priests to move the Advent wreath out of the sanctuary these days).

A favorite historian of liturgical customs is Jesuit Father Francis X. Weiser’s 1958 Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs: The Year of the Lord in Liturgy and Folklore, but I also look to Pius Parsch, Dom Gueranger and the Directory of Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2001) to recall the Advent sensibility given to us by the Church. These authors are particularly helpful in preparing the faithful and especially the children in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and other CCD programs about the sacred Liturgy. About the Advent wreath Weiser writes:

The Advent wreath originated a few hundred years ago among the Lutherans of eastern Germany. It probably was suggested by one of the many light symbols which were used in folklore at the end of November and beginning of December… The Christians in medieval times kept many of these lights and fire symbols alive as popular traditions and ancient folklore. In the sixteenth century the custom started of using such lights as a religious symbol of Advent in the houses of the faithful. This practice quickly spread among the Protestants of eastern Germany and was soon accepted by Protestants and Catholics in other parts of the country. Recently it has not only found its way to America, but has been spreading so rapidly that it is already a cherished custom in many homes.

Advent wreath ex.jpg

The Advent wreath is exactly what the word implies, a wreath of evergreens (yew or fir or laurel), made in various sizes. It is either suspended from the ceiling or placed on a table, usually in front of the family shrine. Fastened to the wreath are four candles standing upright, at equal distances. These candles represent the four weeks of Advent.

 

Daily at a certain time (usually in the evening), the family gathers for a short religious exercise. Every Sunday of Advent one more candle is lit, until all four candles shed their cheerful light to announce the approaching birthday of the Lord. All other lights are extinguished in the room, and only the gentle glow of the live candles illuminates the darkness. After some prayers, which are recited for the grace of a good and holy preparation for Christmas, the family sings one of the traditional Advent hymns or a song in honor of Mary.

 

The traditional symbolism of the Advent wreath reminds the faithful of the Old Testament, when humanity was “sitting in the darkness and in the shadow of death” (Luke 2:79); when the prophets, illumined by God, announced the Redeemer; and when the hearts of men glowed with the desire for the Messiah. The wreath — an ancient symbol of victory and glory — symbolizes the “fulfillment of time” in the coming of Christ and the glory of His birth.

 

In some sections of Europe it is customary for persons with the name of John or Joan to have the first right to light the candles on the Advent wreath and Christmas tree, because John the Evangelist starts his Gospel by calling Christ the “Light of the World” and John the Baptist was the first one to see the light of divinity shining about the Lord at His baptism in the Jordan. (pp. 54-55)

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]yahoo.com.
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