RDCA II, 62: Prayer of Dedication

Just for the interest, I have the 2003 draft of the Prayer of Dedication. The Latin original has not changed since the mid-70’s, but the translation is something of a departure:

62. When these things have been complete, the Bishop, standing with his miter at the cathedra or near the altar, with hands extended, sings or says aloud:
O God,
sanctifier and ruler of your Church,
it is right for us to celebrate your name with joyful proclamation;
for today your faithful people desire
to dedicate to you, solemnly and for all time, this house of prayer,
where they will worship you devoutly,
be taught by the word,
and be nourished by the sacraments.

This house reflects the mystery of the Church,
which Christ made holy by the blood he shed,
that he might present her to himself
as a Bride made radiant,
a Virgin resplendent in the integrity of faith,
a Mother made fruitful by the power of the Spirit.

Holy is the Church,
the chosen vine of the Lord,
by whose branches the whole world is filled,
which raises its tendrils, carried on the wood of the cross,
upward to the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed is the Church,
God’s dwelling with the human race
a holy temple built of living stones,
set upon the foundation of the Apostles
with Jesus Christ its chief cornerstone.

Exalted is the Church,
a City set high on a mountain,
visible to all and glorious,
where the light of the Lamb for ever shines
and the grateful hymn of the blessed resounds.

Therefore, O Lord, we beseech you:
graciously pour out your heavenly blessing
on this church and on this altar,
that this place may remain for ever holy
and this table be ever set for the sacrifice of Christ.

Here may the flood of divine grace
overwhelm the offenses of humanity,
so that your children, Father, being dead to sin,
may be reborn to heavenly life.

Here may your faithful people,
standing around the table of the altar,
celebrate the memorial of the Passover
and be refreshed by the banquet
of Christ’s word and body.

Here may the joyful offering of praise resound,
the voice of men and women be joined to the song of the Angels,
and continual pray rise up to you for the salvation of the world.

Here may the poor find mercy,
the oppressed discover true freedom,
and all people be clothed with the dignity of your children,
until they come rejoicing
to that Jerusalem which is above.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

After a brief address to God, the bishop refers to the “house” twice: a place of prayer and a place that suggests the mystery of the Body. Four qualities of the 1978 translation (fruitful, holy, favored, and exalted) are presented as three here (fruitful omitted and “favored” becoming “blessed”). Here is the 1978 translation of the central text, more obviously epicletic: 

send your spirit from heaven
to make this church an ever-holy place,
and this altar a ready table for the sacrifice of Christ.

The earlier version also separates out two qualities or functions of the church and the altar.

Afterward, come four intercessions highlighting baptism, the Eucharist, the praise of God, and hospitality for the needy.

You may have other observations. What might those be?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, 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.

One Response to RDCA II, 62: Prayer of Dedication

  1. Such a beautiful prayer that almost didn’t get included in the rite. Originally there was not going to be an explicit prayer of dedication in the rite, only the rituals associated with the dedication and then the celebration of the Eucharist with a proper preface. Between 1974 and 1977, when the rite was published, Fr. Ignazio Calabuig drafted the Prayer of Dedication.

    In the Latin the 4 qualities of the Church are: fecundam, sancta, felix, and sublimis.

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