HCWEOM 1-4: Connecting Worship In and Outside of Mass

The first twelve sections of the rite HCWEOM constitute its “general introduction.” These sections are to the various rites of Eucharistic worship as the GIRM is to the Roman Missal. All of the rites have them. Many clergy and liturgists do not familiarize themselves with them, but they contain important gems of understanding assist in the comprehension of the rubrics and other guidelines. The first heading in the “GIHCWEOM” is “Relationship Between Eucharistic Worship Outside Mass And The Eucharistic Celebration.”

Rather than split up the section, I’ve decided to post it all together for context and a unity of thought. This document first establishes the centrality of the Eucharist for both the universal Church and local communities :

1. The celebration of the eucharist is the center of the entire Christian life, both for the universal Church and for the local congregations of the Church. “The other sacraments, like every other ministry of the Church and every work of the apostolate, are linked with the holy eucharist and have it as their end. For the eucharist contains the Church’s entire spiritual wealth, that is, Christ himself. He is our Passover and living bread; through his flesh, made living and life-giving by the Holy Spirit, he is bringing life to people and in this way inviting and leading them to offer themselves together with him, as well as their labors and all created things.”[Presbyterorum ordinis 5]

Worship of the Eucharist outside of Mass has no reference without the Mass itself:

2. “The celebration of the eucharist in the sacrifice of the Mass,” moreover, “is truly the origin and the purpose of the worship that is shown to the eucharist outside Mass.“[Eucharisticum Mysterium 3 e] Christ the Lord “is offered in the sacrifice of the Mass when he begins to be sacramentally present as the spiritual food of the faithful under the appearance of bread and wine”; “after the sacrifice has been offered . . . as long as the eucharist is reserved in churches and oratories, Christ is truly the Emmanuel, that is, ‘God with us.’ Day and night he is in our midst; full of grace and truth. he dwells among Us.”[Eucharisticum Mysterium 3b Mysterium fidei 67]

Veneration of the Eucharist is not diminished by the meal aspect of the sacrament:

3. No one therefore may doubt “that all the faithful show this holy sacrament the veneration and adoration that is due to God himself, as has always been the practice recognized in the Catholic Church. Nor is the sacrament to be less the object of adoration on the grounds that it was instituted by Christ the Lord to be received as food.”[Eucharisticum Mysterium 3f]

The following point is argued the weakest of the principles here, but it does root the devotion to the Eucharist to the celebration of Mass:

4. In order to give right direction and encouragement to devotion to the sacrament of the eucharist, the eucharistic mystery must be considered in all its fullness, both in the celebration of Mass and in the worship of the sacrament reserved after Mass in order to extend the grace of the sacrifice.[Eucharisticum Mysterium 3g]

My only disappointment (overall in Catholic formation, not necessarily from this document) is the lack of a more active and engaging catechesis for Catholics who demur from Eucharistic adoration, and for non-Catholics who may need a more nourishing argument in favor of the sacramental life. (And you’ll notice the centrality of the Eucharist is affirmed not for Catholics only, but for all Christians.)


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in HCWEOM, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to HCWEOM 1-4: Connecting Worship In and Outside of Mass

  1. Liam says:

    “A more active and engaging catechesis for Catholics who demur from Eucharistic adoration”

    What would that look like to you, Todd?

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