Mar 15, 2010

Liturgical Roles and Responsibilities

Online Edition: March 2010, Vol. XVI, No. 1

Liturgical Roles and Responsibilities

Bishop Serratelli Keynotes Society for Catholic Liturgy 2010 Conference

by Daniel G. Van Slyke

Bishop Arthur Serratelli, chairman of the Committee on Divine Worship of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), was the keynote speaker at the opening of the annual conference of the Society for Catholic Liturgy (SCL) on January 28.

The four-day conference, “Munera Liturgica: Liturgical Roles and Responsibilities”, was held on the campus of St. Mary’s Parish in Greenville, South Carolina and hosted by Father Jay Scott Newman, pastor.

Bishop Serratelli, of Paterson, New Jersey, opened the conference with his address on liturgical ministries. He began by explaining the theological and scriptural framework and origins of sacred liturgy. Then he commented on the meaning, value, and proper manner of fulfilling various liturgical roles from the usher and the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion to the priest. Bishop Serratelli dwelt especially on the lector’s role in proclaiming the Word of God as a living reality in the Church. He ended by pointing out the “golden thread” that unites all these ministries together: proper reverence for the thrice-holy God whom the angels never cease to praise.

Father Gerald Dennis Gill, director of the Office for Worship in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, delivered the plenary address on Friday, “The Munera in Chapter III of the IGMR 2002 Read through the Lens of Sacrosanctum Concilium and Lumen gentium”. Father Gill began with the formula Dominus vobiscum and its response, Et cum spiritu tuo, to illustrate the hierarchical arrangement of munera within the Mass.

He then addressed the various munera [services, duties, or roles] described within the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM or IGMR), particularly the distinction between the munus of the baptized and the munus of the ordained. Father Gill demonstrated the distinction’s origins in documents of the Second Vatican Council. He emphasized that the ordained have the duty to lead, while the faithful have the duty to be led, to lift up their hearts to the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving.

Conference attendees participated in beautiful liturgical celebrations at St. Mary’s Church, first consecrated in 1904 and beautifully restored in 2002. Lauds, Vespers, and solemn Mass were sung on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with the Saturday Mass being offered in Latin.

Dr. Edward Schaefer and the Florida Schola Cantorum offered a moving concert of sacred music on Saturday evening. Dr. Schaefer, associate dean at the University of Florida, is an expert on Gregorian chant.

Distinguishing Roles in Liturgy

“Contrasting Perspectives on the Participation of the Laity in the Priestly Ministry” was the title of an address by Father Robert A. Pesarchick, academic dean of theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia. Father Pesarchick compared the Holy See’s 1997 interdicasterial Instruction “Ecclesiae de mysterio, on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest”, with the USCCB’s 2005 statement “Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry”. Father Pesarchick stressed the need to distinguish between the common priesthood of the baptized and the ordained priesthood, and suggested that “Co-Workers” is in tension with the Vatican Instruction in this regard.

Dr. Daniel G. Van Slyke of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, analyzed “The Acolyte’s Ministry in Historical Perspective: Rites of Ordination or Institution”. After tracing the development of Latin rites of ordination from the fifth century, Dr. Van Slyke evaluated the 1972 Institution of Acolytes. Sister Madeline M. Grace, CVI, of the University of St. Thomas in Houston, thoroughly outlined “Liturgical Roles and Responsibilities within the Early Church, Specifically as Seen within the Celebration of the Eucharist”.

Dr. Robert Fastiggi of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit discussed “Lay Participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice”. Dr. Fastiggi gave special attention to the contributions of Pope Pius XII to a theological understanding of how the lay faithful participate in the sacrifice of the Mass: 1. the faithful do participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, but as members of Christ’s Mystical Body; 2. there can be no re-presentation of the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Christ without the priest, the head of the Body; 3. participation is primarily interior, so all the exterior elements of the liturgy should foster interior adoration and the spirit and posture of self-sacrifice; 4. participation in the Eucharist is meant to overflow into a life of personal self-offering; 5. Mary is the perfect model and teacher of Eucharistic adoration and participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

Dr. Richard H. Bulzacchelli, professor of theology at Aquinas College in Nashville, presented a paper on “The Bridegroom Typology and the Male-Only Priesthood”. Exploring the topic within its biblical context, he highlighted the bridegroom imagery for God in Scripture, with the bride of God being humanity. Dr. Michael Foley, of Baylor University, also made the case for an all-male ministry in the sanctuary.

The Role of Music, Art in Worship

Dr. Helen Harrison, an Australian authority on sacred music, kicked off the pastoral workshops with a presentation on how “Even a Choirless Congregation Can Sing the Communion Antiphon”. Father Gavin Vaverek discussed “The Role of the Common Priesthood in the Liturgy as Different from the Ordained Priesthood”. Father Vaverek is Promoter of Justice and Commissioner for the Diocesan Liturgical Process in the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. In his address on “The Priest as Cultural Patron”, Father Robert Johansen of Dorr, Michigan, pointed out that knowledge of Catholic culture cannot be taken for granted even among seminarians and priests, and he proposed a serious effort to help Catholics, from school children to seminarians, appreciate fine literature, visual arts, music, and architecture.

Organist and composer Father Thomas Buffer delivered a dynamic presentation in conjunction with Kathleen Tully, music director at St. Patrick Parish in Columbus. They pointed out resources for bringing good music to the liturgy, and explained how to recognize good liturgical music. Peggy Hammett, who serves in sacramental formation for the cathedral in Tyler, Texas, offered the final workshop, titled “The Role of Fostering Liturgical Environment through Liturgical Design”.

Father Paul J. Keller, OP, president of SCL, conducted the business meeting, at which four members were elected to the SCL board of directors: architect Dino Marcantonio of New York City, Father Cassian Folsom, OSB, prior of the Benedictine monastery in Norcia, Italy, Dr. Carmina Magnusen Chapp, academic dean of religious studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and organist Jane Errera of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The SCL board adopted a statement of support for the new translation of the Missale Romanum: “We gratefully receive the translation of the Ordinary of the Mass that has been approved by the USCCB for use in the Dioceses of the United States, and confirmed by the Congregation for Divine Worship”.

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Dr. Van Slyke teaches patristics and sacramental theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, and is a board member of the Society for Catholic Liturgy.



Daniel G. Van Slyke