Vol 45 No 1 March 2015



Title Author Topic Page
Our Cover: Cai Guo-Qiang, Heritage (2013) Farrell, Lindsay Art 1,16
Editor: Peace and Solidarity Elich, Tom Justice and Peace 2
Why Baptise By Immersion? Schwantes, Clare Baptism 3-5
Copyright for Parish Liturgical Music Harrington, Elizabeth Music 6
Readers Preparing Together Sullivan, Kevin Liturgy of the Word 7
Catechumenate Rolling Year Round Thomas, Sue Christian Initiation 8-10
Books - The Spiritual Meaning of the Liturgy: School of Prayer, Source of Life by Goffredo Boselli Cronin, James Catechesis - liturgical 11
Celebrating the Vernacular - Special Celebrations 12
Rites+People+Places - Catechesis - liturgical 12
Congratulations - Patrick O'Regan - People 12
Holy Year of Mercy - Calendar 12
ICEL Report - Texts – Liturgical 13
ACU Centre for Liturgy - Catechesis - liturgical 13
Graham Robert Hughes - In Memoriam 13
New Translation of Missal? - Texts – Liturgical 13
Canadian Lectionary - Texts – Liturgical 13
Cathedral Ministry Conference Morton, Ralph Ministries – Liturgical 14
God is in the Detail - Symposium Elich, Tom Architecture and Environment 14
AAL National Conference O’Rourke, Ursula Liturgy 15



Elich, Tom

Going back some decades, there was often a tension between those who were interested in liturgy and those who immersed themselves in social justice.  The former thought the latter mere activists, the latter considered the former remote from the cutting edge of the Christian gospel.  Liturgy and social justice of course are not mutually exclusive.  In fact, both are utterly necessary dimensions of the Christian life.  I would go further and affirm that they are deeply embedded, one in the other.


I have been reflecting on this since reading Barry Craig’s study of the Sign of Peace in the last issue of Liturgy News (44/4 December 2014).  He explains with admirable clarity why it was right for the Holy See to reject the proposition that the Sign of Peace be moved to the preparation of the gifts at Mass, and why the Roman tradition has maintained its intimate connection with the reception of Holy Communion.


He did not however deal with this significant paragraph in the July 2014 Circular Letter of the Congregation of Divine Worship on the Ritual Expression of the Sign of Peace at Mass:


  1.  The intimate relationship between the lex orandiand the lex credendimust obviously be extended to the lex vivendi.  Today, a serious obligation for Catholics in building a more just and peaceful world is accompanied by a deeper understanding of the Christian meaning of peace and this depends largely on the seriousness with which our particular Churches welcome and invoke the gift of peace and express it in the liturgical celebration.  Productive steps forward on this matter must be insisted upon and urged because the quality of our eucharistic participation depends upon it, as well as the efficacy of our being joined with those who are ambassadors and builders of peace, as expressed in the Beatitudes.


The first sentence about aligning the way we pray and the way we believe with the way we live is fundamental.  The logic of the rest of the paragraph is not entirely clear.  It seems to be conjugating three ideas:

  • building a just and peaceful world (the living),
  • understanding the Christian meaning of peace (the believing),
  • invoking and expressing the gift of peace in liturgy (the praying).


While the letter does emphasise that it is a serious matter, I am not sure where it presumes we ought to begin.  Whether we go from the liturgy to action in the world or vice versa, the final sentence suggests that the three must go hand in hand; with this I concur.


The brief letter is not much help in articulating the Christian meaning of peace: it just makes a couple of references to Christ in his Paschal Mystery as our peace.  We can turn to the Second Vatican Council for amplification: Peace on earth, which flows from the love of one’s neighbour, symbolises and has its origin in the peace of Christ who proceeds from God the Father.  Christ, the Word made flesh, the prince of peace, reconciled all people to God by the cross, and, restoring the unity of all in one people and one body, he abolished hatred in his own flesh.  Having been lifted up through the resurrection he poured forth the Spirit of love into people’s hearts.  Therefore all Christians are urged to speak the truth in love and join with all peace-loving people in pleading for peace and trying to achieve it. (Gaudium et Spes 78).  Peace is grounded in the Christian commandment to love one another and is intimately linked with the kingdom of justice Christ established in his death and resurrection.


This is not just a theology which leads to action.  It is precisely here that the liturgy operates.  At our Baptism, we are made one with Christ and so become members of the Church, the Body of Christ.  At Confirmation, we are sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit and the bishop says, Peace be with you.  At the Eucharist, we enter into the sacrifice of the cross, we are swept up in Christ’s great act of reconciliation and, in our communion, catch a glimpse of the unending banquet of unity in a new heaven and a new earth, where the fullness of your peace will shine forth in Christ Jesus our Lord (EP Reconciliation II).


Emphasising the liturgy as a bond of Christian love and peace in no way reduces it to a mere expression of human community, for the liturgy is clearly grounded in the action of Christ our Saviour.  The sign of peace in the liturgy is more than a smile and a handshake with those close by.  It acknowledges Christ the source of our reconciliation, unity and peace.  Maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one Body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called: one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all (Eph 4:3-6).


We understand the liturgy as the action of the Christus totus, the whole Church community, the Body of Christ united with its Head (CCC 1136).  This means not just the liturgical assembly which is a visible expression of the whole Church, but rather, in its deepest reality, the entire family of the baptised.  This puts us into a profound solidarity with Christian communities in every part of the world when we gather at the Lord’s table.  As we profess our unity in the Lord, the Christian communities of every war-ravaged corner of the globe stand with us at the altar. We cannot engage honestly in such a liturgical act without being peacemakers in our Christian lives, advocating and making peace.


Then, from the table, we are sent out: Go in peace!  Here is the link.  These few words connect our believing and praying with our mode of living.  This is the theme we will explore this year in the cover artwork of Liturgy News during 2015.