RDCA II, 53-56: Liturgy of the Word

Numbered sections 53-56 in Chapter II outline the events to take place during the Liturgy of the Word. Before the first word of scripture is uttered, the bishop has something to say:

53. The proclamation of the word of God is fittingly carried out in this way: two readers, one of whom carries the Lectionary, and the psalmist come to the Bishop. The Bishop, standing with the miter on, takes the Lectionary, shows it to the people, and says:

May the word of God always be heard in this place, as it unfolds the mystery of Christ before you and achieves your salvation within the Church.

After the people respond, “Amen,” there is a procession:

Then the Bishop hands the Lectionary to the first lector. The lectors and the psalmist proceed to the ambo, carrying the Lectionary for all to see.

Section 54 designates the first reading, Nehemiah 8:1-4a, 5-6, 8-10. The next Scripture is sung: the antiphon “Your words, Lord, are spirit and life” and Psalm 19: 8-9, 10, 15. After these, those preparing the liturgy have options from the Lectionary 701-706. The RDCA instructs that no lights or incense are to be used at the procession with the book of Gospels or its proclamation

II, 55 provides for the homily which “explains the biblical readings and the meaning of the rite.

II, 56 instructs that the profession of faith follows, but not the general intercessions.

Others may wish to comment in detail on the Old Testament scriptures used. The emotional connection to the Law described in Nehemiah and Psalm 19B is remarkable. And totally foreign to the American understanding, which sees law as something to be followed in total obedience, yet circumvented, avoided, or minimized whenever possible. Many Americans see law as something akin to an unpopular boss. For the chosen people, it inspired a relationship of intimacy, as deep as family. Perfect, trustworthy, right, clear, pure, true: these are words that describe a romantic love. We might ask why the Law is emphasized at the dedication of a church. I like to think of the Catholic genius for incarnation: that vital aspects of our faith are given a material reality. With this reality, we can better grasp the underlying truth. In other words, we don’t just know the Law, we walk through its doors, we sit in its presence, we see and hear what it has to offer.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to RDCA II, 53-56: Liturgy of the Word

  1. In all honestly, this part of the rite leaves me kind of underwhelmed, and I think it is one of the few places in the revised rite that needs to be revised. With the Liturgical Movement and especially with Vatican II, a renewed emphasis was placed on the proclamation of the word in the liturgical assembly, it is as if God is speaking to his church. A balance was restored between the Word and Sacrament. Here the word seems to be minimized again, any signs of honor associated with the proclamation of the word are omitted and are only present after the dedication of the altar. The criticism of this section is also one shared by other commentators.

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