Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments: February 2013 Archives

Sacra Liturgia 2013: a preview

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There are few opportunities for good and solid learning on the sacred Liturgy these days. Many of the conferences that pass for the advancement of Catholic thinking on the Liturgy are ideological. BUT, the forthcoming conference in Rome, Sacra Liturgia 2013, provides a great venue, a a clear context, a group of well-informed speakers dealing with the Catholic worship of the One Triune God.

Recently, a member of the Catholic World Report interviews one of the organizers, Dom Alcuin Reid, of Sacra Liturgia 2013 which will take place 25-28 June.

Dom Alcuin answers a question on Pope Benedict's contribution to liturgical life of the Church:

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Primarily in fostering the "new liturgical movement," I think. Firstly, by his teaching, above all in Sacramentum Caritatis, which is a profound tutorial on the liturgical and ecclesial celebration of the Blessed Eucharist. Also by his acts, most certainly through Summorum Pontificum, where he authoritatively asserted that that the rites that were once "sacred and great...cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or considered harmful." Finally, by his example: papal liturgies have shown us the meaning of ars celebrandi--the manner of celebrating the sacred mysteries with a true noble simplicity. And always, at the head of these liturgies has stood a man who has looked together with us toward the cross he had placed in the center of the altar. The liturgy is about Him, not me, he has taught us.

Clergy, religious and laity are welcome!

Dom Alcuin Reid is a monk of the Monastère Saint-Benoît in the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France. 

Reid's major work, The Organic Development of the Liturgy (Ignatius Press, 2005); he updated The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described (Burns & Oates, 2009) and he is the editor of From Eucharistic Adoration to Evangelization (Burns & Oates, 2012).

Sacra Liturgia 2013

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Chair of Saint Peter

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With the Church we pray

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that no tempests may disturb us, for you have set us fast on the rock of the Apostle Peter's confession of faith.

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Has anyone promised you anything? As Catholics, we can say with certainty that we have been promised something. In fact, we are promised not only something, but Someone. We can identify that we have been promised the truth, happiness (in this life) and eternal life (happiness in the next life); we've also been promised a rich relationship with God, with Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Today's feast of the Chair of Saint Peter is the Church's way of reminding God and each other that we have been promised all these things: truth, happiness, and life eternal with God.

For a very, very long time, actually since the 4th century, the Church of Rome has had a special commemoration of the pastoral, spiritual authority of Saint Peter as the rock upon which the Lord built His Church. Historians estimate that Saint Peter was executed between the years 64 and 68. In fact, the Church in Antioch, founded by Saint Peter, has also had this feast on their liturgical calendar. The witnesses found in the Apostolic Fathers, the Roman See has always held a special place in the obedience of orthodox Christian believers because of the bishop of Rome "presides in love" and in service over all the Churches of God.

Today's feast ought to remind each one of us that we don't celebrate furniture but it calls us to see in Peter Jesus. Each feast of a saint, including the Blessed Mother, always points to Jesus. To do otherwise would be idolatry. The Chair of Saint Peter is fundamentally about work, the mission of bishop as overseer, teacher and pastor conferred by Jesus on Peter, and continued through the ages to Pope Benedict XVI (and soon on his successor). See the Gospel of Matthew 16:13-20. What we celebrate today is the communion of faith, the truth of the faith given to us by the Lord through the apostles to the bishop of Rome and to all bishops. You may even say the feast we celebrate today is the ministry of the Church's Magisterium located in the Roman Pontiff in that he cannot teach error. That does not mean the pope is a saint; that the pope does not sin; on contrary, we believe the pope is a sinner and in need of redemption like each one of us: he has clay feet like you and me. But having clay feet doesn't mean that teach that we believe in "Christ, the Son of the Living God." His job is to help us see the face of Christ in this world, and to lead us to Him so that may enjoy eternity with Him.

In 2006, Benedict XVI gave the following address on this feast which is required reading,

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) under the direction of Monsignor Richard Hilgartner of the Secretariat for Divine Worship, has produced a packet of materials regarding the pope.

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We are 40 days away from the Nativity of the Lord. The Presentation of the Lord is a feast the Church in the Eastern part of the ecclesial world, known as an "Encounter," a second epiphany of the new born King and Messiah given the words of the Simeon. Christ is identified as the Light of the Nations.

The Christology of the Liturgy is quite clear and instructive: by no other person is salvation possible. By the same token this Light to the Nations is a supreme sign of contradiction (St Cyril of Jerusalem) and a stumbling block (St Paul)

The feast began to observed in the 6th. The Western Church made this feast more penitential because it began to be linked with the purification of Mary according to the Mosaic law.

In the Missal of Blessed John XXIII today ends the Christmas season whereas in the Missal of Paul VI the feast of the Baptism of the Lord ends Christmas.

Our liturgical observance of the Lord's Presentation is also called "Candlemas" because the Church blesses candles, all the candles to be used in the Mass, including the Paschal Candle to be used at the Easter Vigil; home candles are also brought to church for this blessing. Besides the special prayers prayed, Simeon's song Nunc dimittis, Saint John of Damascus' song Adorna thalamum tuum, Sion AND Zacharia's Benedictus are sung by the choir. Christ as the light of the world is not merely a theological statement, it is a reality in the life of the Christian. To what end do we reflect the light of Christ in the home, in the workplace, in social settings?

V. Zion, let your wedding chamber be prepared to receive Christ your King.

R. The Virgin conceived and gave birth to a son, yet she remained a virgin for ever. She knelt in worship before her child.

V. Simeon took the child in his arms and gave praise and thanks to God.

R. The Virgin conceived and gave birth to a son,  yet she remained a virgin for ever. She knelt in worship before her child.

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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This page is a archive of entries in the Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments category from February 2013.

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