Bread for the Eucharist

In a post, I published last week, I dealt with the problem of using a big host as opposed to the exceptional small precut hosts (which I reckon make up well over 99.9% of how Catholics receive Communion). While it must be admitted that these hosts have become more breadlike over the last decades, bigger options and wholewheat options are available. However, I must admit that the prepared hosts hold no romanticism for me, particularly after I came across this article a few years ago on the not so mainstream spirituality website Killing the Buddah.

Continue reading “Bread for the Eucharist”

Calling all Geometricians

Prior to Vatican II there was little emphasis on the breaking of the Eucharistic Bread.  Indeed, in the Tridentine Order of Mass the faithful never saw the broken Host (the celebrant showed them one of the small precut Hosts). Thus the ancient Biblical understanding of the Eucharist as being the breaking of the bread (fractio panis) was lost.

This changed, at least on paper, with the post-Conciliar reform of the liturgy. Continue reading “Calling all Geometricians”

“‘Indigenous liturgical adaptations” submitted to the Vatican for approval

Last March I posted about the proposal to “incorporate in the Catholic Eucharistic celebration indigenous Mayan rites” in Southern Mexico, centered around the Dioceses of San Cristóbal de Las Casas.  Now more details have been made public. The Mexican bishops’ conference have finished work on series of Indigenous liturgical adaptations for the celebration of the Eucharist for the “original peoples” of Mexico. During their 114th plenary assembly last April , the Mexican considered these adaptations and held a vote on them, where 103 of the 105 bishops voted to approve the adaptations.

ACI Prensa, the Spanish-language news partner of Catholic News Association (a service of EWTN News) Interviewed Cardinal Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel. Arizmendi is the emeritus bishop of San Cristóbal de Las Casas and coordinated the effort to prepare the proposed adaptations. CNA has published an English version of the story. Arizmendi has explained that “advancing the progress of inculturation of the Church in the native peoples and of taking responsibility for the celebration of Holy Mass with some elements of these cultures.”

 While earlier reports on the endeavor compared it to the Zaire Missal, the Cardinal explained that it’s not a question of creating a new Indigenous rite but of incorporating into the liturgy various ways of relating to God of these peoples and which express the same thing as the Roman rite, but in its cultural form.”

The adaptations were delivered to the Dicastery for Divine Worship in Rome where they are awaiting final approval. Arizmendi gave some details of the proposed adaptations that “can be incorporated into the Holy Mass without harming the eucharistic liturgy.” Three examples were mentioned.

The first of these is allowing a layman or laywoman to incense “the altar, the crucifix, the images, the offerings,” after the priest has blessed the incense.

The second is the appointment of a “senior layperson” would also be incorporated into the liturgical life of the community. This minister “is a man or woman who in the communities is entrusted with praying for the community; it’s a traditional position and is ordinarily called that by tradition and is chosen by the community, because they trust him or her.”

Finally, ritual dance would serve as a “Thanksgiving after Communion, [whereby] on some occasions, thanksgiving is performed with a ritual dance (light movements of the body), accompanied by instrumental music typical of the place.”


Cover art: Detail of the façade of la Iglesia de Santo Domingo in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas Mexico, from Wikimedia Commons

DDW confirms new Lectionary for Great Britain

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has announced that “the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has confirmed the approval by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for the new Lectionary.” Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland will also share this new edition of the Lectionary for Mass.

Their new Lectionary is based on the English Standard Version of the Bible – Catholic Edition and will use the Psalm translation from the e Abbey Psalms and Canticles.  In this sense the Lectionary will be similar to the edition recently published in India. The new British edition of the Lectionary will be published by the Catholic Truth Society (CTS) and is approved for use from Advent 2024.

As a final note, and forgive me for being pedantic, but allow me to offer a correction to the press release, the new ESV edition of the Lectionary is approved for Great Britain but not the “British Isles.” In other words, it is approved for the regions served by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. However, it is not approved for use in Ireland, which is served by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

Societas Meet Up

Two weeks from today, Societas Liturgica’s biennial Congress will start here in Maynooth. The Congress will have the theme of Liturgy and Ecumenism.  Over four days over 200 liturgists and scholars of liturgy will gather to reflect on this vital theme (for more details on the theme see pages 8-12 of the Societas’ newsletter).

A number of PrayTell contributors will be present at the Congress.  So hopefully some of the fruits of the discussion will contribute to future blog posts.

One of the challenges of contributing and reading a blog like this, is that there is not a lot of in person interaction.  The comments can be lively, but most readers don’t comment. In case anybody who reads or contributes to PrayTell would like to get together to share impressions and suggestions, I propose that we meet up and talk during the Tuesday (August 8) afternoon coffee break.