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Online Edition: August 2009
Vol. XV, No. 5

American Named Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship
Second CDW Undersecretary Appointed

by Helen Hull Hitchcock

An American Dominican theologian was named by Pope Benedict XVI as Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) and an archbishop. Father Augustine Di Noia, OP, had been Undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) since 2002, and had also been Secretary of the US bishops’ Committee on Doctrine. The announcement was made on June 16.

Archbishop Di Noia was consecrated on July 11, the feast of Saint Benedict, at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, by Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The new CDW Secretary succeeds Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, who had served in that office since 2005. Archbishop Ranjith was named Archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka, also on June 16.

Cardinal Francis George announced the appointment at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ meeting in San Antonio on June 17, and issued a statement of congratulations on behalf of the bishops’ conference:

The naming of Father J. Augustine Di Noia, OP, as secretary at the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is a matter of pride for both the Church in the United States and the Dominican Order.

Father Di Noia worked in the Secretariat for Doctrine at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops before going to Rome to work at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He always showed himself a fine scholar dedicated to the pursuit of truth and a generous co-worker available to friends and colleagues.

The bishops of the United States are grateful that Archbishop-elect Di Noia will bring his talents to the Vatican office responsible for the liturgy and sacraments throughout the entire world.

“I am happy the pope has entrusted to me an area that he considers so important”, the archbishop-designate told Catholic News Service June 16, shortly after the Vatican announced his new assignment. “I think the liturgy should give us a sense of the heavenly liturgy; it’s about God, not us”, he said.

The appointment of a native English-speaker to the CDW had been anticipated since last December when Spanish Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera was appointed prefect of the Congregation. Two reasons for this are the widespread use of the English language throughout the world, and that among the most important projects of the CDW in recent years has been overseeing the translation and approval of the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

The role of the CDW will be key in implementing the use of the new English Missal texts, and in approving English-language Scripture texts expressly for use in the liturgy. Though the Missal translation process is nearing completion, revising English Lectionaries is just beginning, and other English-language liturgical translation projects are in the offing.

At the time Father Di Noia was called to the Vatican as Undersecretary of the CDF in 2002, he was director of the Intercultural Forum for Studies in Faith and Culture at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington.

From 1993-2001, Father Di Noia was executive director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices at the USCCB. He was a member of the papally appointed International Theological Commission from 1997-2002.

Archbishop Augustine Di Noia was born in New York City on July 10, 1943, the son of Giacomo and Matilda (Carucci) Di Noia. He was ordained priest of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) in 1970, and received his doctorate from Yale in 1980. He taught theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington and has served as an adjunct professor at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Washington and at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York.

He was editor-in-chief of The Thomist, a quarterly journal of philosophical and theological studies, and has written numerous articles and essays. He is author of The Diversity of Religions: A Christian Perspective (1992), and co-author of The Love That Never Ends: A Key to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1996).

Second CDW Undersecretary Appointed

On July 4, The Holy Father appointed a second Undersecretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments: Monsignor Juan Miguel Ferrer Grenesche, who was Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Toledo (Spain), serving under the present prefect of the CDW, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares. Monsignor Ferrer had been appointed in April as a Consultor to the CDW. As Cardinal Cañizares’s Vicar General, Monsignor Ferrer had helped organize training workshops for the extraordinary form of the Mass. He also served as Mozarabic Chaplain of the Cathedral of Toledo and parish priest at Santo Tomé, where Mass in the extraordinary form is celebrated daily.

No description of the new undersecretary’s responsibilities has been given to date. However, the transfer of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to the CDF (see story below) may suggest that the newly created post will help oversee liturgical matters involving the extraordinary form of the Mass, as well as with administering the liturgy for the Spanish-speaking world.

The appointment of a second undersecretary of the CDW is an innovation. British Father Anthony Ward, SM, has been undersecretary since 2007. A long-time official of the CDW, Father Ward is also an advisor to Vox Clara, the group of English-speaking bishops and experts organized in 2002 to oversee the English-language liturgical translations.

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