“‘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

New Executive Director of ICEL

A new General Secretary has been appointed to the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). He is Fr Andrew Menke, a priest of the diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, who has been executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Divine Worship since the beginning of 2017 and who relinquished his post this summer.

The prior General Secretary or Executive Director of ICEL was Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, ordained as a priest for Westminster diocese, who had had a varied career as an assistant priest, hospital chaplain and chaplain to Harrow, one of England’s premier “public schools”, also flirting with life as an Oratorian and influenced by the traditionalist Abbey of St Mary Magdalen at Le Barroux, not far from Avignon in Provence, France. He had started life as a musician, and trained at Trinity College and the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Fr Wadsworth was appointed to ICEL in 2009. At the time, this was seen as a bizarre appointment in that the man assigned to be responsible for English liturgical texts around the world was known to celebrate almost exclusively in the Latin Tridentine Rite. In 2013 he was given permission to found a new Oratory at a parish in Washington, DC.

Fr Andrew Menke has a different pedigree. After eleven years of priestly ministry and further studies, he was called to Rome in 2010 to serve as an official in the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. During his time in Rome he obtained a licence in liturgy from the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy. After almost five years he returned to the US in 2015 and was appointed Associate Director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Divine Worship, succeeding Fr Michael Flynn as Director in 2017.

New Director of PIMS

Dominican Father Robert Mehlart, OP, has been named as the new Director of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music. He has been appointed by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Culture and Education.

Fr Mehlart has been Director of Music of the Theatine Church in Munich, specializing in the performance of choral and orchestral-accompanied choral works, particularly those written for the Bavarian Royal Court (so works of Lassus, Mozart, Joseph and Michael Haydn, etc). A former chorister of the Regensburg Cathedral Choir, his educational background includes spells at the universities of Vienna and Oxford.

An abbreviated English biography will be found at http://robertmehlhart.com/biografie-englisch and a more extensive German one at http://robertmehlhart.com/biografie

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.