In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Nov 14, 2011

 

November 9, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As you know, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a Decree of Implementation for the General Instruction on the Roman Missal for use in Canada. The Missal is the book used by the priest as he presides at Mass; it was called the Sacramentary in the recent past. The General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM) is the document attached to the Roman Missal and contains the norms regarding how the Liturgy is to be conducted throughout the Diocese. I have asked our pastors to begin the implementation of these norms immediately in the Diocese so as to be ready for the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011. In my letter to the pastors I listed a few directives that are to apply to the Diocese of Victoria and permitted by the General Instruction. The norms of the General Instruction are to be implemented in all English language and French language parishes and institutions in Canada.

The newly revised Roman Missal with its changes to some of the language relative to the original Latin edition promulgated by Blessed John Paul II will also be implemented on November 27, 2011 for all English language parishes and institutions throughout Canada. A newly revised French language edition will follow in the coming months. The newly revised Roman Missal, then, will become obligatory throughout the Diocese in all parishes, religious houses and institutions on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011.

The First Sunday of Advent will be a significant moment of Liturgical renewal in our Diocese and throughout the English speaking world. The norms of the General Instruction and the specific directives I have given to pastors are meant to assure consistent Liturgical practice in the Diocese of Victoria as oneness of our Faith is to be apparent in the unity of our gestures, postures and general participation in the Sacred Liturgy.

Your pastors will guide you through the various directives for our Diocese. I wish to mention here specifically two of them in order to assist in the implementation of the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM).

The GIRM makes clear that the posture to be assumed during the Consecration is kneeling. In the Diocese of Victoria therefore, the faithful are to kneel at the conclusion of the Sanctus and to stand when the priest announces, “The Mystery of Faith”. This is generally already being practiced in the Diocese however, a few parishes will be required to make a change.

Parishes without pews or kneelers will require the Faithful to stand during the Eucharistic Prayer and make a profound bow from the waist when the celebrant genuflects at the Consecration of the Bread and then again at the Consecration of the Wine.

In addition, the Faithful in all parishes are invited to stand at the invitation: “Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters)...” at the conclusion of the Offertory Rite. The Faithful are to remain standing through the Lamb of God on through to the reception of Communion.

Regarding the reception of Communion, the posture for receiving Communion is standing. Allowance is made in the GIRM for those who wish to receive communion kneeling to do so. While standing before the Minister of Communion, the recipient makes a bow of the head or another sign of devotion before receiving Communion.

Reception of the Eucharist may be either on the hand or on the tongue. When receiving on the hand, one hand is placed over the other so that the Host may be placed by the minister in the hand. Before receiving Communion the Faithful are to express their faith in the Real Presence of Our Lord by responding “Amen” to the minister when the words: “The Body of Christ” or “The Blood of Christ” are spoken by the Minister of Communion. The Eucharist is to be consumed immediately upon receiving it.

The norms found in the General Instruction and the directives given by the Diocese mark a moment of change and a wonderful opportunity for a renewed appreciation of the Mystery of the Eucharist from which the Church draws her very life. The Liturgy is public prayer to God and unity in posture and gesture as well as a full participation in the Liturgy on the part of the Faithful is a sign of a common expression of Faith of the local Church. I am deeply grateful to our pastors and all those involved actively in planning the Liturgy at all levels in the Diocese. Your pastors, local Liturgical Committees and the Diocesan Liturgical Commission can direct you to the many resources that offer excellent information and catechesis pertaining to the Mass.

Let us ask for the Lord’s blessings as we seek to implement both the General Instruction on the Roman Missal and the Roman Missal itself in the new Liturgical Year. Let us ask the Lord to help us more greatly appreciate and love our Eucharistic Lord and come to a deeper reverence for this great mystery of our Faith.

Yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Richard Gagnon Bishop of Victoria

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