Pope Says Non-practicing Catholics Should Be Remembered in Liturgy

In Letter to Meeting at Assisi

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 30, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The liturgy must be attentive to the expectations of the faithful, but also to the needs of the baptized who do not participate regularly in liturgical and sacramental life, says a papal letter.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, made the affirmation in a message sent on behalf of John Paul II to the participants in Italy’s national Liturgical Week, which ended in Assisi today. The message says that for the baptized, participation in the Mass is at the «heart» of Sunday.

People have «a great need to hear and examine themselves, a need for theological references in which to anchor the options of pastoral liturgy; a need for priests — witnesses of the mystery — who let themselves to be guided by the Spirit and have the necessary competence to follow the liturgical norms and to apply them in concrete pastoral situations,» the letter continues.

At the same time, Christian assemblies are needed that «really live the meaning of participation, attentive to direction and willing to offer an increasingly appropriate and responsible liturgical service,» the papal message adds.

Celebrations should surmount «the obstacles of dispersion, of fragmentation of the community, of passivity and of indifference,» the text stresses.

The Pope calls for a «return to the roots of the faith and of the mission of the Church through an increasingly conscious participation in the Mass.»

Thus, the Eucharist can become «the force of that spiritual renewal that will help diocesan and parochial communities to celebrate the Mystery with joy.»

The Holy Father says the Eucharist should be connected «with the life of the parish.» He urges a valuing of «places, areas and moments of meeting with the Lord leading to a liturgy that is attentive to the expectations of the faithful, as well as to the needs of those baptized persons who do not participate regularly in liturgical/sacramental life.»

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