Guidelines for Parishes in Living the Eucharistic Year

According to Holy See’s New Document

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 15, 2004 ( In its new document, «Year of the Eucharist: Suggestions and Proposals,» the Holy See dedicates one of the longest sections to advice to parishes.

The text, written by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, encourages parishes «to welcome the Holy Father’s invitation and to do everything possible during this Year to give Sunday Mass the central place that corresponds to it in the parish, appropriately called ‘Eucharistic community.'»

Here is a translation of the guidelines offered to parishes in the document published Thursday.

— Where necessary, reorder or give a stable location to places of celebration (altar, ambo, presbytery), and to the custody of the Eucharist (tabernacle, chapel of adoration), provide liturgical books; highlight the truth and beauty of the signs (ornaments, sacred vessels, ornamentation).

— Enhance or establish the parish liturgical group. Supervise instituted ministers and extraordinary ministers of holy Communion, of the acolytes, of the «schola cantorum,» etc.

— Give special attention to liturgical singing, taking into account the indications offered in John Paul II’s recent document on sacred music.

— Schedule in different periods of the year — Eastertide, Lent — specific formative meetings on the Eucharist in the life of the Church and of the Christian; a particularly propitious occasion for adults and children is the time of preparation for first Communion.

–Take up again and make known the «Institutio Generalis» of the Roman Missal (see «Mane Nobiscum Domine,» 17) and the «Praenotanda» of the Lectionary of the Mass; the «De Sacra Communione et de Cultu Mysterii Eucharistici extra Missam»; the recent encyclical «Ecclesia in Eucharistia,» and the subsequent instruction «Redemptionis Sacramentum.»

— Educate in the way one should be in church: what one must do on entering the church; genuflection or profound reverence before the Most Holy Sacrament; atmosphere of recollection, helpful suggestions for interior recollection during the Mass, especially at certain moments (silent times, personal prayer after Communion), and educate in external participation (the way to acclaim or pronounce in community the common parts). For Communion under both species, follow the dispositions in force (see SC, 55; IGMR, 281-287; «Redemptionis Sacramentum,» 100-107).

— Celebrate appropriately the anniversary of the consecration of one’s church.

— Rediscover one’s «own» parish church, knowing the meaning of what is usually seen in it: readings from the altar, the ambo, tabernacle, iconography, stained-glass windows, vestibule, etc. The visible in the church favors contemplation of the Invisible.

— Promote — offering also practical ways — Eucharistic worship and personal and community prayer before the Most Holy Sacrament (see «Mane Nobiscum Domine,» 18): visits, adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament and Eucharistic blessing, Forty Hours, Eucharistic processions. After the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, value in an appropriate manner the time of Eucharistic adoration (see «Directory of Popular Piety,» 141).

— Propose specific initiatives in particular circumstances (nocturnal adoration).

— Ascertain the regularity and dignity with which Communion is taken to the sick.

— Make known the teaching of the Church on the viaticum.

— Support the spiritual life of those who, being in irregular situations but participating in Holy Mass, cannot receive Eucharistic Communion.

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