Click here to view the Advent and Christmas guidelines for 2013.
Click here to download the liturgical directives for the year 2012 - 2013.
Click on the items below to download information regarding the Catechumenate Program
- Click here to download the North American Forum on the Catechumenate registration/brochure in English
- Click here to download the North American Forum on the Catechumenatethe registration/brochure in Spanish
- Click here for the Parish Celebration for Sending Catechumens for Election
Plenary Indulgence for the Year of Faith
According to a decree made public on October 5, 2012 and signed by Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro and Bishop Krzysztof Nykiel, respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Benedict XVI will grant faithful Plenary Indulgence for the occasion of the Year of Faith. The indulgence will be valid from the opening of the Year on 11 October 2012 until its end on 24 November 2013.
"The day of the fiftieth anniversary of the solemn opening of Vatican Council II", the text reads, "the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI has decreed the beginning of a Year especially dedicated to the profession of the true faith and its correct interpretation, through the reading of - or better still the pious meditation upon - the Acts of the Council and the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church".
"Since the primary objective is to develop sanctity of life to the highest degree possible on this earth, and thus to attain the most sublime level of pureness of soul, immense benefit may be derived from the great gift of Indulgences which, by virtue of the power conferred upon her by Christ, the Church offers to everyone who, following the due norms, undertakes the special prescripts to obtain them".
"During the Year of Faith, which will last from 11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013, Plenary Indulgence for the temporal punishment of sins, imparted by the mercy of God and applicable also to the souls of deceased faithful, may be obtained by all faithful who, truly penitent, take Sacramental Confession and the Eucharist and pray in accordance with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
"(A) Each time they attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in church or any other suitable location.
"(B) Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage, a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith (for example, minor basilicas and shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Apostles or patron saints), and there participate in a sacred celebration, or at least remain for a congruous period of time in prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints.
"(C) Each time that, on the days designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith, ... in any sacred place, they participate in a solemn celebration of the Eucharist or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding thereto the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form.
"(D) On any day they chose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.
"Diocesan or eparchal bishops, and those who enjoy the same status in law, on the most appropriate day during that period or on the occasion of the main celebrations, ... may impart the papal blessing with the Plenary Indulgence".
The document concludes by recalling how faithful who, due to illness or other legitimate cause, are unable to leave their place of adobe, may still obtain Plenary Indulgence "if, united in spirit and thought with other faithful, and especially at the times when the words of the Supreme Pontiff and diocesan bishops are transmitted by television or radio, they recite ... the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and other prayers that concord with the objectives of the Year of Faith, offering up the suffering and discomfort of their lives".
Liturgical Guides for Faithful Citizenship
Celebration of the Eucharist at which a Bishop Presides
We read in the Ceremonial of Bishops: “The bishop himself is the chief steward of the mysteries of God and the overseer, promoter, and guardian of all liturgical life in the particular church entrusted to his care”. Therefore, the preeminent manifestation of the local Church is present when the bishop celebrates the Eucharist, surrounded by his presbyters and ministers, and with the full, active participation of all God’s holy people. Thus a Eucharistic liturgy at which a bishop is the principal celebrant takes on a special character and dignity. Click here to download the entire policy in pdf format.
The Eucharist - His Sacred Heart Set on the Highest Hill
Built in the 19th century, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Paris, more commonly known as “Sacre Coeur,” stands as a sign of God’s love on a hilltop over the “city of lights.”
The beauty and majesty of its structure overshadows the reasons for its construction. Perhaps its beauty and majesty is meant to serve as a magnet for the faithful to come and adore the one who is the source of all light; perhaps its beauty and majesty is meant to be an invitation for the seeker to come and explore. The origin of the building of Sacre Coeur is buried in French history as a sign of reparation and expiation of sins which were committed during the French Revolution when the Church, the Eucharist and the other sacraments were defiled.
It might seem to the mind and heart of the contemporary reader that such things could never occur in our midst and in this day and age, but indeed they are still present today. Unfortunately, we have sometimes become immune to some of the more subtle acts of disrespect which unknowingly occur each week. Every parish has to struggle with the issues of reverence, silence, dignity, decorum, dress codes and behavior. It is necessary to repeat annually a catechesis to the assembly on the most basic elements of the Liturgy.
Any successful catechesis on the celebration of the Eucharist and on the reception of holy Communion needs to touch both the mind and the heart. For as our mind grows in the appreciation of the Eucharist, so then will our hearts lead our bodies to appropriate ways to dispose our selves to celebrate with reverence the sacraments of eternal life.
The Second Vatican Council, in #10 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, places the celebration of the Eucharist (with the reception of holy Communion) as the “summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the fount from which all the Church’s power flows.” As such, the Liturgy is nothing less than our participation in the paschal mystery of the Lord Jesus. As Saint Paul reminds us, “for as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes (1 Cor 11:26).” We know that in the gift of the Eucharist is the true and real presence of the Lord Jesus.
High on the hilltop, Sacre Coeur serves as a perpetual invitation to put behind them the sins of the past, walk in the newness of baptismal life, and to come to feast at the eucharistic table of the Lord. It seems then, that in every age of the Church and the Church in every place, the highest “hilltop” needs to be found and on it constructed a temple built of living stones to both give honor and respect to this central reality of Catholic life.
To this end, parish communities (or deaneries) might do well to once again revive and explore the former practice of “40 Hours Devotion” which was a part of our devotional past. By setting aside two consecutive days each year, apart from Holy Thursday and Corpus Christi, the opportunity to ponder the mystery of the Eucharist might be able to draw the faithful to newer levels of devotion to the real presence of Christ.
As individuals, we might examine our own lives and ask ourselves the question, “Am I prepared and properly disposed to receive the lord Jesus in holy Communion?” Have I fasted, am I free from serious sin, have I participated fully in the celebration of Mass with reverence and devotion, am I reconciled with my sisters and brothers, am I receiving Holy Communion reverently and in accord with the Liturgical Norms?
Each of us is meant to be and have a Sacre Coeur (sacred heart) where the Lord may dwell. Each of us has the responsibility to both cherish the sacrament we receive and to safeguard the sacrament which has been entrusted to us. Just as the people of France built this majestic and beautiful structure for the expiation of sins, we are to be mindful that God has called us to become a majestic and beautiful Church, the holy and beautiful people of God!
Father Robert Webster is the pastor of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Clermont.