Celebrating the Mystery of Faith, originally based on the edition of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal of 2005, is now revised in advance of the release of the new Roman Missal (Advent 2011).
After a general introduction to the Mass and its structure, it includes a guide to the ministries exercised at Mass, the music of the Mass, as well as a commentary on the parts of the Mass , all with the purpose of promoting good and better practice. A five-session parish-based liturgical catechesis on the Mass is also given.
Celebrating the Mystery of Faith is a study book for priests, on their own or in groups; for liturgy teams; for ministers of the Word, music and communion; for parishes; and for all who want to better understand this mysterium fidei.
National Centre for Liturgy
The National Centre for Liturgy was founded to promote liturgical formation in the light of Vatican II. It was established in 1973 when the late Mgr Sean Swayne was appointed National Secretary for Liturgy.The National Centre for Liturgy houses the National Secretariat for Liturgy which works on behalf of the Episcopal Conference and the Irish Episcopal Commission for Liturgy and co-ordinates the work of the various consultative agencies on liturgy, church music, sacred art and architecture and liotuirge in nGaeilge. New Liturgy is the quarterly bulletin of the Secretariat. The National Centre for Liturgy has been engaged in the work of liturgical formation since 1973. The Centre also conducts shorter courses at other centres.
This study guide to the celebration of Mass was prepared by a team from the National Centre for Liturgy, including Moira Bergin, Sean Collins, Jane Ferguson, Patrick Jones, Julie Kavanagh, Columba J. McCann, Liam Tracey and Tom Whelan.
Some of the material is based on pastoral notes prepared during the 1990s by ICEL. This material has been updated in the light of the new edition of the General Instruction o f the Roman Missal. References in footnotes are given throughout this guide to the General Instruction so that the reader or study group may have ease of access to the key document.
All references to the General Instruction are to the edition for Ireland, published by Irish Liturgical Publications.
After an introductory statement on the Eucharist (Chapter one), and an introduction to General Instruction (Chapter two), three chapters put together material which is to be found in different places within the General Instruction. Chapter three treats assembly and the ministries that serve our Eucharistic celebration. Chapter four, under the title, The Eucharistic Celebration and its Symbols, is about the cluster of symbols, the actions, objects and words that is our liturgy. Music, though also treated under ministries, is the subject of Chapter five. These chapters serve as background to Chapter six that takes the reader through the Mass. Two chapters of the General Instruction consider the choice of texts for the Mass. This is referred to in Chapter seven of this guide, which also summarises the last and new chapter of the General Instruction on adaptations.
Finally a parish based study of the General Instruction, in five sessions, completes this guide. This liturgical catechesis opens the richness of the General Instruction to a parish liturgy team but always with the objective of a celebration of the Mystery of Faith, the Eucharist, that is worthy of God who gifts us with the salvation of Jesus Christ.
- CHAPTER ONE CELEBRATING THE MYSTERY OF FAITH
The study guide begins with a short statement about the Eucharist. It should be read along with the preamble and first chapter of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 1-26.
In celebrating the Eucharist, the people of God assemble as the body of Christ to fulfil the Lords command to do this in memory of me (Luke 22:19). In this most sacred action of Christ and the Church, the memorial of his death and resurrection is celebrated; God is adored in spirit and in truth, the Church identifies itself with the saving Sacrifice of its Lord and, nourished by his Body and Blood, looks forward in joyful hope to sharing in the supper of the Lamb in the heavenly kingdom.
At the Last Supper the Lord spoke to his disciples, took bread and wine, gave thanks, broke the bread, and gave them the Bread of life and the Cup of eternal salvation. After his resurrection from the dead, two disciples recognised his presence in these same actions: speaking, taking bread, giving thanks, breaking and sharing (see Luke 24:13-35). In the Eucharist the Church to this day makes Christs memorial and celebrates his presence in the same sequence of actions: in the Liturgy of the Word the assembly listens with hearts burning as the Lord speaks to it again and it responds with words of praise and petition; in the Liturgy of the Eucharist it takes bread and wine, gives thanks, breaks the bread, and receives the Body and Blood of Christ.
These two principal parts of the Mass are so closely connected as to form one single act of worship: the tables of Gods word and of Christs body are prepared, and from them the faithful are instructed and nourished; the spoken word of God announces the history of salvation, the Eucharist embodies it in the sacramental signs of the liturgy. In addition to these two principal parts, there are also the Introductory Rites, which prepare the people for word and Eucharist, and the Concluding Rites, which brings the peoples worship to a close and sends them out to witness and service.
The celebration of Mass is the action of Christ and the people of God, ministers and congregation. Within the one body of Christ there are many gifts and responsibilities. But just as each organ and limb is necessary for the sound functioning of the body (see 1 Corinthians 12), so every member of the assembly has a part to play in the action of the whole. It is therefore of the greatest importance that in all circumstances and on every occasion the celebration be so organised that priest, ministers and faithful may all take their own part. The participation of all is demanded by the nature of the liturgy, and, for the faithful, is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.
- By apostolic tradition, the Church gathers on the Lords Day to celebrate the Lords Supper. This Sunday Eucharist, at which the entire local community assembles and in which all play their proper parts, is the primary manifestation of the local Church and, as such, the most important and normative form of Eucharistic celebration. It should be in every sense inclusive and not be needlessly multiplied. The celebration of other Sacraments, when the Roman Ritual allows, may be accommodated within it.
- In the celebration of the Eucharist, all present, ordained or lay faithful, render the particular service corresponding to their role and function in the assembly. A celebration is the work of the whole body of Christ; the ministers and other members of the assembly have a part in the action and have a contribution to make. Each of these special services is performed for the good of the whole and for the glory of God.