Online Edition – Vol. VIII, No. 7: October 2002
Noted liturgist-editor dies: work helped "shape" parish liturgies — Woe to me if I integrate not thy native values… — Tonalities — Four receive awards for "contributions to pastoral liturgy" — Sacred Language "gratuitous"
Noted liturgist-editor dies: work helped "shape" parish liturgies
Liturgist Peter Mazar, the author of a highly influential series of books used for parish liturgy, died of "fast-moving lymphoma" in April, Pastoral Music reported in its June-July 2002 issue.
Mazar was editor at Liturgy Training Publications (LTP) and former editor at World Library Publications.
Mazar’s work, says Pastoral Music, involved "shaping some of the key annual publications on which many communities rely for liturgy preparation and liturgy-based education". He helped to edit LTP’s annual Sourcebook for Sundays and Seasons and Children’s Daily Prayer.
Mazar also authored To Crown the Year, a book on seasonal decorations for churches. Among the practices Mazar advocated were emptying holy water fonts during Lent, not having baptisms during Lent, adding "water-based flower essences" to fonts when water is present, and adding scented soap or flowers to the water for the foot-washing on Holy Thursday. "The splash of water adds to the atmosphere of the rite", he said.
Mazar’s approach to seasonal decorations is well-illustrated by the following suggestion for Easter:
"Clouds, rain, and lightning might be incorporated into the decoration rather playfully. One parish silk-screened impressionistic clouds onto bolts of diaphanous blue fabric. Another had cascades of glass beads drifting through Indian saris … in shades of blue, lavender and apricot".
He also favored pastel colors for vestments for Easter, complaining that "on white vesture it’s common to see gold, scarlet, or royal trimming, but not yellow, pink, aqua, or peach".
According to Pastoral Music, Mazar’s death came "after a difficult year in which [he] suffered the loss of his father, the fading health of his mother, and cancer surgery for his partner, Barry".
The 2003 edition of the LTP Sourcebook is dedicated to Mazar’s memory:
"Sourcebook for Sundays and Seasons 2003 is lovingly dedicated to Peter Mazar, who served as both author and editor of Sourcebook at various times. Every page of this book shows his influence. He was instrumental in shaping how it is arranged, he directed the artists whose images adorn the pages and the cover, and he edited the words. Peter died while Sourcebook 2003 was in production, on April 22, 2002, at the age of 49.
"The cover is a fitting tribute to him. He loved God’s creation, and cooperated fully with God in making the world beautiful. He was an avid and talented gardener. He could give you the Latin name for every plant, tell you how Christians in different places and eras saw it as a revelation of the mystery of God, and then show you how to use it as a decoration, a food or even a toy! He decorated his office, the public areas of the offices at LTP, his parish church and every flat surface of his home for each feast and season. His Christmas trees and Halloween decorations were legendary, as were his generosity, his kindness and his wicked sense of humor.
"As you read Sourcebook you may wonder if the lavish vision unfolded herein of keeping the church’s calendar is possible. It is. Peter showed us how".
[Clarification: published in the December 2002 – January 2003 Issue – In the October 2002 NEWS, we ran a report, "Noted liturgist-editor dies: work helped ‘shape’ parish liturgies". We received several letters from readers who were perplexed at what they understood to be our praise for the late Mr. Peter Mazar’s work. We did not intend to imply that we approved of the liturgical innovations cited in the story. Our story on the death of this influential writer on the Liturgy quoted without comment the praise of his supporters. We apologize for any confusion that we may have inadvertently caused.]
To "build an Asian civilization of love", the life and witness of one of history’s greatest missionary saints, Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier, who devoted his life to evangelization in China and the Far East, must be deconstructed and revamped to suite contemporary sensibilities. In the words of Jesuit General, Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, from the September 2002 edition of the New Orleans Province Newsletter:
"Works are a better witness than speech, in the words of Xavier: ‘Let all witness more by their lives and by their works than by preaching’. In Asia more than anywhere else, our lives must be authentic and revealing of the love of Christ which urges us on to build an Asian civilization of love.
"At this point we must part from Xavier. He was haunted by the need to save Asia from damnation. He was overwhelmed by anguish at the prospect of the loss of so many. If he had not believed in this threat of hell for the ‘gentiles’, he would probably have stayed in Europe. In his belief, evangelization is necessary, because without baptism there is no salvation.
…Xavier was aware of the dismay he aroused in the neophytes by the implication that all their ancestors were in hell. The Buddhists assailed this man from the West who spoke of God as harsh and pitiless toward human beings. There was no middle way for Xavier….
This theological thought does not prevent Xavier from giving himself body and soul to the ministry of the poor and oppressed he meets. For his total dedication, Xavier remains a model, but not for the motivation behind it. Xavier presents the reverse image of what we wish to be in Asia: not overthrowers of altars but people who try to integrate the native values into the Good News".
"The prospect of preaching at all the Masses on the weekend the pastor was removed oppressed me. Already the media and church leadership had started casting accused priests into two mutually exclusive categories: ‘good and holy’ or ‘evil and unfaithful’. There seemed to be no place for the grayer tonalities of sin and repentance that my pastor had taught me to respect in the lives of our parishioners".
– Barry R. Strong, "When the Pastor Is Removed", America, Vol. 187 No. 5, August 26, 2002.
The Pastoral Liturgy Center of the University of Notre Dame presented its 2002 "Spirit and Truth Awards" to four liturgists during its annual pastoral liturgy conference this spring.
The recipients, honored for their "contributions to pastoral liturgy" are Doctor Lynn Trapp, director of worship and music at Saint Olaf Catholic church in Minneapolis; Victoria Trufano, senior acquisitions editor at Liturgy Training Publications of the Archdiocese of Chicago; Sister Dolores Dufner, OSB, composer of the lyrics to "Sing a New Church [into being]", commissioned by both the National Association of Pastoral Musicians [NPM] and the Pittsburgh worship office for the 1991 NPM National Convention; and Father Tom Elich, director of the liturgical commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, Australia, and an advisor to the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL).
Father Elich’s critique of the study translation of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (IGMR) prepared by the US Bishops Commission on the Liturgy was published on the web site of the "progressive" liturgy group, "WeBelieve!".
Father Elich objects to the use of terms such as "paten" and "chalice" as "gratuitous changes" because:
"The eleven conferences of bishops who voted to approve the GIRM in the revised Sacramentary were fully aware of the lobby groups wanting to change ‘plate’, ‘cup’, ‘song’, etc., and they rejected their proposals. Now, without reference to anyone, these changes to our approved text are made".
Father Elich’s idea of a "lobby group" apparently includes the Holy See: the recent Instruction on translation, Liturgiam authenticam, explicitly rejected ICEL’s use of "kitchenware" terms, and insisted on the traditional sacral vocabulary, "paten", "chalice", etc.