We read of urgency here, but how have we done in the past two generations?
6. Realizing the urgency of the evangelization of the world, bishops should promote missionary vocations among their own clergy and youth; and they should provide institutes engaged in missionary work with the means and opportunity to make the diocese aware of the needs of the missions and to inspire missionary vocations. (Ad Gentes 38)
In fostering vocations for the missions, the Church’s mission to all peoples and the ways in which various institutes, priests, Religious and laity of both sexes strive to fulfill this mission should be diligently explained. Particular emphasis should be given to the special missionary vocation “for life” (Ad Gentes 23-24), and illustrative examples should be given.
Note that even clergy are seen as potential candidates for an “additional” vocation.
Those “institutes?” Conferences, workshops, or what do you suppose is meant by this?
That vocation “for life” is certainly part of the Church’s mission. But the post-conciliar experience has seen a stronger following for a temporary commitment. That has advantages. It gives young people an opportunity to test the mission apostolate. It sends many of them back into the mainstream of the life of the Church to give witness for others.
At this week’s peer ministry training retreat, the students had the experience of daily Mass, plus the hinge hours, Vespers and Lauds, as well as Compline. There’s a significant small group of students who pray the Office regularly. I kept pretty much to the psalms as assigned from Christian Prayer, but I had to make a few substitutions for my young psalmists and their ability to learn new settings.
About the choice of hymns for Evening and Morning Prayer… I explained to my charges that hymns for morning and evening prayer should take their character from the time of day, or the liturgical season, or something significant about the “local” calendar. In this instance, it would be their retreat experience. Given all that, their choices were interesting:
- Thursday Vespers, “Day Is Done”
- Friday Lauds, “In Christ Alone”
- Friday Vespers, “The Summons”
- Saturday Lauds, “This Day God Gives Me”
Along with the French, the Welsh have a passel of terrific melodies. “Day Is Done” is not in the Eucharistic repertoire of our parish, but the students had no problem picking it up. The AABA format is so easy to sing, especially when the melody is so attractive.
“In Christ Alone” may be a P&W favorite, but it’s not really one of mine. However, in the context of the morning, it seemed quite good. In fact, I found myself able to pray, even as I was making up the chords to the melody line.
One of the students had a birthday, and the psalmist knew the young woman’s favorite song was John Bell’s text to that great tune. So that gesture of affection was okay with me.
Saturday morning, one of my staff colleagues chose the metrical text of St Patrick’s Breastplate, a nod to her Irish heritage.
The introduction (BLS 1-11) concludes with a note explaining this documents contains citations of universal liturgical law, but also suggestions based on experience and best practices. Bishops may choose to expand on some of the “optional” offerings and make them binding for their dioceses.
§ 10 § This document has been approved by the bishops of the Latin Church of the United States and issued by the authority of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on November 16, 2000. Built of Living Stones contains many of the provisions of universal law governing liturgical art and architecture and offers pastoral suggestions based upon the experience of the last thirty-five years. The document presents guidelines that can serve as the basis for diocesan bishops to issue further guidelines and directives for their dioceses. Where the document quotes or reiterates norms from liturgical books and the Code of Canon Law, those prescriptions are binding on local communities and dioceses.
The document has a particular organization to it. It begins with a chapter outlining the theology of liturgy, and from there addresses the concerns of architecture and art, as well as a practical section treating good pastoral and administrative practices in applying the principles of liturgy and community.
§ 11 § The document begins with a theological reflection on the liturgy and liturgical art and architecture. Since decisions about church art and architecture should always be based upon the theology of the eucharistic assembly and its liturgical action and the understanding of the Church as the house of God on earth, the first chapter is foundational for the chapters that follow. The second chapter outlines the liturgical principles for parish communities to apply when building or renovating liturgical space, and it reviews the spatial demands of the major liturgical celebrations during the year. The third chapter offers suggestions for including art in places of worship and for choosing artists and artistic consultants. The fourth and final chapter describes the practical elements involved in the building or renovation process, including the development of a master plan, the design process, the development of a site plan, and the role of professionals in the process. A section on the special issues involved in the preservation and restoration of artworks and architecture has been included.
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.