Last month the front page of the Hallam News carried an article by Bishop Ralph which begins a series of explorations of how we as a Diocese can respond to Jesus’ invitation to “Put Out into Deep Water”. This month Fr Peter McGuire writes about Liturgy in the Absence of a Priest. Liturgy in the Absence of a Priest Amongst the many things which we will need to take into account as we look ahead to changes which may be made to our parish structures is the fact that with fewer priests they will not be as available as they have been to preside at parish liturgies. We will, therefore, need to be clear if and when liturgies can be led by other people. Our situations may vary. Some parishes will have been used to this situation already: some parishes will have a permanent deacon: and some may have lay people who have been trained for some liturgical ministries. Permanent deacons are ordained members of the clergy. As well as assisting at Mass in various ways, they can lead liturgies of baptism, marriage and funerals as well as Services of Word and Communion, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and other non-liturgical devotions. The celebration of the liturgy will form part of their training and their ordination forms the basis of their faculty for liturgical leadership but this is only a part of a deacon’s ministry. Religious Sisters take pastoral responsibilities in various parts of our diocese and they may be called upon to exercise some liturgical leadership. Lay people too may also, at times, lead certain liturgies. We cannot, however, necessarily presume that either Religious or lay people will have received either training or any necessary commissioning. And, before they are called upon, there needs to be a clear understanding of what liturgies can or should be celebrated in the absence of a priest. Perhaps the most common experience of this in many parishes of our diocese has been what are often called ‘Eucharistic Services’. The Church knows these more formally as “Services of Word and Communion” and they were originally offered “in the absence of a priest on a Sunday.” (Rome 1988) The first focus, then, was on the importance of the Christian community still gathering on a Sunday, the Lord’s Day, when a priest was not available for the celebration of Mass. In such Services there are a number of roles: leadership, reading, bidding prayer, and music ministry as well as that of the distribution of Communion. And these ministries really ought to be shared out, as they should be at Mass. There should be no automatic presumption that it is the place of extraordinary Minsters of Communion to lead such Services nor that they are necessarily trained or fitted for liturgical leadership. Other parishioners may be more suited to lay leadership of liturgy and parishes should look out for people with these special talents. But perhaps the questions being most asked about these Services in the Church of England and Wales today are: 1) Should they be celebrated on weekdays at all? 2) But if they are, should they be simply Services of the Word? There are fears that without better catechesis and understanding some people see hardly any difference between these Services and Mass. As long as they receive Communion some parishioners may be quite satisfied and not really miss the event that is the complete celebration of the Eucharist. This may be particularly true if they are used to receiving Communion at Mass from hosts kept in the tabernacle, just as they do at these Services. To help us understand this we could perhaps compare it to the difference between preparing, cooking and then enjoying a meal together as opposed to microwaving a ready meal. Both deliver a meal but with one we are involved in the whole process whilst in the other most of the process happens elsewhere and we are only involved in someone else’s product. In the Eucharist the celebration of the whole process is important. Being part of the preparation for, and the bringing about of the presence of Christ in bread and wine as he wished, takes us deeper into what the Eucharist and Communion is all about. Bishop Ralph recently told the Council of Priests that he had come to the conclusion that there was really no justification in our diocese for Services of Word and Communion on weekdays. It is not as if Mass is not available in any area of our diocese for any length of time. There may occasionally be emergencies on Sundays – for example, if a priest fell ill suddenly – but on weekdays there are always Masses if not in our own church then in a neighbouring parish. This may come as something of a shock and disappointment to some priests and people, but Bishop Ralph has a duty to oversee the liturgy in our diocese and his decision must be respected. What is more, this gives us encouragement to explore the other ways in which we can pray together in the absence of a priest. The celebration of Services of the Word will, obviously, help us to become more aware of the Scriptures. The Word of God is not simply a preparation for Communion. The Word of God nourishes us and helps to inform and strengthen our faith. The Word of God has often been neglected and its power has too often been underestimated. Services of the Word may be priest- or lay-led. Lay people may be commissioned to lead some elements of Funeral Rites and the new Rite of Marriage, which came into use at Easter, envisages situations in which they may lead weddings too. We always have to remember that Roman Rites are offered to the universal Church and that circumstances and needs will be different in places throughout the world. It is the responsibility of the Bishops of […]
Archives for April 2016
SPIRITUALITY About Today Liturgy of the Hours Daily Mass Liturgy and Music Bishop Ralph’s Reflections Pilgrimages Pilgrimages Holy LandLourdesRomePadleyWalsingham Holy Land Pilgrimage, 19th to 26th November 2017 Diocese of Hallam Pilgrimage to the Holy Land led by Bishop Ralph Heskett CSsR – 19th to 26th November 2017. The Pilgrimage will visit all the major religious sites […]
AboutServicesClergyMore Info The Cathedral Church of St Marie is the Catholic cathedral in Sheffield, England. It lies in a slightly hidden location, just off the main shopping street in the city, but signals its presence with a tall spire. It is an especially fine example of an English Roman Catholic Church, with much fine interior […]
POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION AMORIS LAETITIA OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS TO BISHOPS, PRIESTS AND DEACONS CONSECRATED PERSONS CHRISTIAN MARRIED COUPLES AND ALL THE LAY FAITHFUL ON LOVE IN THE FAMILY DOWNLOAD PDF
SCHOOLS DEPARTMENT Home Primary Schools Secondary Schools Staff Governors Newly Qualified Teachers Vacancies Find a School Schools’ Home AboutMeet the TeamCourses and ConferencesInspectionsResourcesLinksContact UsFind Us Welcome to the Schools’ Department webpage If you follow the links in the Schools’ Department menu you can navigate to different sections containing information and guidance for schools and governors in the Diocese […]
“LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, […]
Many local companies raise money for St Wilfrid’s in various ways. Recently Jenny from DHL phoned the Centre to say that the day centre would be recipients of recent charity events arranged by DHL staff at their Sheffield site. Pictured above, Jenny and Steve popped in to make a presentation of over £400 cash to the Centre and Helen Lowry, Office Manager at St Wilfrid’s, was there to receive their generous gift.
Ever thought about volunteering abroad? Jesuit Missions currently has placements in Africa, Asia and central America, working with some of the poorest and most marginalised communities in the world. Over the summer, we have youth placements, for 18 – 25 year olds, which are fully funded and are based in central America or southern Africa, for a duration of 10 weeks. Longer and shorter placements are also available. For more information please call or email Clara on 020 8946 0466 or email@example.com.
Y5 at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in High Green recently experienced a fun and spiritual day with Hallam Youth Ministry’s InReality team. The aim was to think about the season of Lent and how we can prepare ourselves for Easter. The day started in prayer and song and then the children played a board game making their way through the ‘desert’ completing challenges on the three themes of Lent. The children split into small groups and reflected upon and interpreted different Stations of the Cross – complete with dramatic role play and costumes! The afternoon saw the children creating and leading their own liturgy for the whole school. It was a great day and all the children benefited from the experience.
It seems that everyone wants to visit St Wilfrid’s these days and Sheffield’s premier day centre for the homeless and vulnerable always extends a very warm welcome. In February St Wilf’s were delighted to welcome Craig and Karen McKay, the Master and Mistress Cutler who, during their visit, took part in a Karaoke session and had a great time laughing and joking with the clients. On the occasion of his visit Her Majesty’s Representative for South Yorkshire the Lord Lieutenant, Andrew Coombe was particularly impressed with the workshop and spent considerable time checking out with clients how things were made. The pottery figures also took the Lord Lieutenant’s eye and he complimented the work of volunteers and clients on their talents. It is great to have all these titled people take an interest in the work of the Centre and it goes to show that there really is ‘Only One St Wilfrid’s Centre’.