Director for Worship
Rev. Robert J. Simon
Coordinator for RCIA
Words of this invitation said by the priest evoke an image in the bible’s Book of Revelation (19:9): “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition). The second part, said by the priest with the people, is a reflection of Luke 7:6-7. That passage contains the story of the cure by Jesus of the Roman centurion’s servant. The soldier, not a Jew, sent for Jesus to come to cure his servant. Later, the officer sent friends to Jesus, who was not far from the house. The message was that Jesus should not trouble himself, for the centurion was not worthy to have the Lord enter under his roof, or even for the officer to come to him to speak directly. The soldier asked that Jesus simply say the word so that the servant be healed. Our Lord praises the faith of this non-Jewish soldier, and of course, the servant was healed from afar.
This gospel story from Luke has been the background for the Invitation to Communion for centuries. Some Catholics may remember these words from the hand missals used in the 1950’s and 60’s to help the faithful to better understand the Mass when it was entirely in Latin. In the history of the development of the Mass the Church has taken these scriptural words of Luke’s gospel and adapted them to the liturgical context. The healing request is now for our souls (not for a servant). However, other words remain, especially “roof” (tectum in Latin), which represents our own abode or physical bodies into which Christ will be received in Holy Communion. In the gospel story, the Lord did not enter into the centurion’s house, but at Mass the Lord in the Eucharist does enter ours.
This scriptural background is what the Church would have us understand and be thinking about as we prepare to go to Holy Communion. It is not that we have to be specifically conscious of it each time the words are said at Mass. However, it is the deeply spiritual and prayerfully felt scriptural background of the Invitation to Communion. The forthcoming English translation now opens up the passage for the faithful in a way that has not been there before. Although what Catholics have been saying for the last forty some years is good, the new translation of the original Latin text is even better. Indeed, that is how it is with so many of the English texts of the Mass, which will come into use on November 27 with implementation of the third edition of the Roman Missal.
Dominus vobiscum, “The Lord be with you;” Et cum spiritu tuo, “And with your spirit,” are a greeting by the celebrant and the response of the people that occur four times in the Mass: at the introductory rites (with two added options for a priest, and a formula for a bishop), at the gospel, at the preface dialogue, and at the concluding rites. Perhaps of all the changes in the new English text of the third edition of The Roman Missal (to be implemented on November 27, 2011), this one may cause the most notice by the faithful. Some may remember it from their hand missals from the 1950s and 1960s before the reform of the liturgy by Vatican Council II. Also, it was used in the first translations of the mass texts in English before the publication of the English translation of the missal of Pope Paul VI of 1970. It is not, consequently, totally unfamiliar to many Catholics.
To say “with your spirit” is a more accurate translation of the Latin words. As a translation it is based on the principle of “formal equivalency,” which is the principle operative in all the new English translations of Latin liturgical texts. In fact, speakers of French, Italian, Spanish, and German, have been saying “And with your spirit” since the 1970s. Because this greeting/response at Mass has ancient liturgical usage, and to show unity with the universal Church, what is said in the English vernacular should accurately reflect the meaning of the ancient Latin text.
The use of the greeting goes back to the Old Testament. The Book of Ruth (2:4) gives us a view of its use in the everyday life of the Jews: “Boaz himself came from Bethlehem and said to the harvesters, ‘The Lord be with you!’ and they replied, ‘The Lord bless you!'” In the Gospel of Luke (1:28) the angel Gabriel greets Mary in this same way before the announcement that she is to be the mother of the Redeemer.
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (# 50) offers an explanation of the meaning of this greeting’s use at Mass:
“. . . by means of the Greeting he (the priest) signifies the presence of the Lord to the assembled community. By this greeting and the people’s response, the mystery of the Church gathered together is made manifest.”
So priest and people in this liturgical dialogue establish the context in which the important action of the Eucharist will occur.
The “spirit” of the people’s response refers to the spirit of the priest. It does not mean his human spirit (or soul), but the Holy Spirit that he received at his ordination which empowers him now to act in the person of Christ the Head of his body, the Church. Supporting this, St. John Chrysostom, a bishop of the late 300s and early 400s, and others, say that the wish of the people (“and with your spirit”) reminds the priest that it is the Holy Spirit in him that accomplishes the sacrifice of the Eucharist.
Thus, this new English text shows forth the deep scriptural and spiritual background of the ancient greeting at Mass used by the priest with the response of the faithful.
With the authorization of His Holiness, Pope Francis, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome, has decreed that the name of Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, be inserted into the Eucharistic Prayers II, III, and IV. The reason for this addition is explained in the decree issued by the Congregation. In part it stated the following:
“Exercising his paternal care over Jesus, Saint Joseph of Nazareth, set over the Lord’s family, marvelously fulfilled the office he received by grace. Adhering firmly to the mystery of God’s design of salvation in its very beginnings, he stands as an exemplary model of the kindness and humility that the Christian faith raises to a great destiny, and demonstrates the ordinary and simple virtues necessary for men to be good and genuine followers of Christ. Through these virtues, this just man, caring most lovingly for the Mother of God and happily dedicating himself to the upbringing of Jesus Christ, was placed as guardian over God the Father’s most precious treasures. Therefore he has been the subject of assiduous devotion on the part of the People of God throughout the centuries, as the support of that mystical body, which is the Church.
“The faithful in the Catholic Church have shown continuous devotion to Saint Joseph and have solemnly and constantly honored his memory as the most chaste spouse of the Mother of God and as the heavenly Patron of the universal Church. For this reason Blessed Pope John XXIII, in the days of the Most Holy Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, decreed that Saint Joseph’s name be added to the ancient Roman Canon. In response to petitions received from places throughout the world, the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI deemed them worthy of implementation and graciously approved them. The Supreme Pontiff Francis likewise has recently confirmed them. In this the Pontiffs had before their eyes the full communion of the Saints who, once pilgrims in this world, now lead us to Christ and unite us with him.” (English translation of the Decree promulgated on June 19, 2013)
Accordingly, the name of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is henceforth to be added at Mass to Eucharistic Prayers II, III, and IV, as they appear in the third typical edition of the Roman Missal:
Eucharistic Prayer II
English – that with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with blessed Joseph, her Spouse, with the blessed Apostles…
Eucharistic Prayer III
English – with the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with blessed Joseph, her Spouse, with your blessed Apostles and glorious Martyrs…
Eucharistic Prayer IV
English – with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with blessed Joseph, her Spouse, and with your Apostles…
Resources for Those with Gluten Intolerance
(compiled from the USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship Newsletter from November 2003, March 2012 and August/September 2012)
In recent years, pastors across the United States have received numerous questions from those afflicted with various manifestations of gluten intolerance, such as Celiac-Sprue disease, as well as alcohol intolerance in relation to the reception of Holy Communion. Many gluten intolerant sufferers are unable to ingest wheat flour commonly used in the preparation of communion wafers in the United States.
Those who suffer from gluten intolerance, especially that form of it known as “Celiac Sprue” disease, may each react differently to varying amounts of gluten contained in wheat bread and other products. Medical opinion on the best treatment for such people varies greatly. While many doctors advise patients with this condition to adopt a totally gluten-free diet, others merely restrict gluten intake. As a result, the common advice given to many Celiac Sprue and gluten-intolerant patients is to receive only the Precious Blood at Holy Communion. However, additional concerns can emerge when the Precious Blood has been “contaminated” with gluten at the co-mingling rite. As a result, the administration of the Precious Blood – whether under the form of wine or of mustum – to persons with these conditions must carefully take into account the need to avoid any mixing of the sacred species at the altar or a communion station.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, products containing less than 20 ppm may be labeled as “gluten free.” An article in the magazine Gluten–Free Living states that the equivalent of 27,000 ppm (10 milligrams) per day is usually safe, though this number may well vary from person to person. The low–gluten hosts provided by the three suppliers approved by the USCCB contain 20 ppm, 100 ppm, and 162 ppm— all far below the recommended safe allowance. In any event, the hosts contain sufficient amounts of gluten to be used as valid matter for the Eucharist. Individuals seeking to purchase these hosts should do so through their parishes. Here is a listing of approved low-gluten host suppliers in the United States:
Congregation of Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration
Altar Breads Department
31970 State Highway P Clyde, Missouri 64432
Web: www.altarbreadsbspa.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Dispose of Old Copies of the Sacramentary
(From the USSCB Committee on Divine Worship Newsletter, March/April 2011)
There is relatively little written about exactly what to do with liturgical books which have been replaced by updated or revised editions, but some related writings, as well as some common sense, can provide some context. The Book of Blessings, no. 1343, indicates that the Sacramentary, the Lectionary, and other liturgical books are counted among those articles used in the Sacred Liturgy which ought to be blessed using the rite provided for that purpose, the Order for the Blessing of Articles for Liturgical Use (nos. 1341-1359). The Latin De Benedictionibus, editio typica, however, does not explicitly mention the Missale among the articles that are properly blessed.
Whether or not the Sacramentary has been blessed by an official rite, it is appropriate to treat it with care as it has been admitted into liturgical use. Its disposal should be handled with respect.
It is advisable to retain a copy of the Sacramentary for parish archives or liturgical libraries.
For the proper disposal of the Sacramentary or other liturgical books replaced with updated or revised editions the Secretariat recommends:
- Burying the Sacramentary in an appropriate location on church grounds, or perhaps in a parish cemetery if there is one.
- Placing Liturgical books or Bibles are in the coffin of the deceased as a sign of devotion and love for the Liturgy (a custom observed in various Eastern Churches)
- Burning Liturgical books and placing the ashes in the ground in an appropriate location on church grounds.
Disposal and Replacement of the Paschal Candle
(from the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship Newsletter, April 2014)
The Secretariat of Divine Worship offers the following protocol for the disposal old Paschal Candles:
The first response must be that they may not be reused. The paschal candle must be new each year and receive its blessing at the Paschal Vigil. Paschale Sollemnitatis, the 1988 Circular Letter concerning the preparation and celebration of the Easter feasts, states that the paschal candle must “be renewed each year” (no. 82). This does not mean that the old candle must be thrown away. Most suppliers of candles accept the return of used candles (and will sometimes even offer a discount for the exchange). These suppliers will then recycle the wax to produce new candles. If, for some reason, a parish is unable to recycle the candle wax, then the old paschal candle, as a blessed object (a sacramental) must be appropriately disposed of. This could involve burning the candle in a devotional manner (privately as opposed to publicly and liturgically) or even burying the candle in blessed ground. Candles are made to be burned, however, and it is better to find a way either to recycle or burn the wax.