Pope Welcomes Ambrosian-Rite Lectionary

Archbishop of Milan Presents Work to Pontiff

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI today welcomed a new lectionary for use in the Ambrosian rite, expressing his prayer that the communities who use that rite may always «walk in truth and charity.»

The Pope greeted the Ambrosian Church today when he addressed Italian-speaking pilgrims gathered to pray the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square.

«May the Ambrosian Church,» the Pontiff said, «nourished by the wisdom and the abundance of holy Scripture, always walk in truth and charity, and give valid witness to Christ, the Word of salvation for humanity of all times.»

The Ambrosian rite is celebrated mainly in the Archdiocese of Milan, Italy. The new lectionary is entering into use as the rite celebrates the First Sunday of Advent.

There was a change in criteria for selecting the Bible passages for the new lectionary. The old criterion was one of continuity: Every Sunday a passage would be read from the same Gospel and each Sunday would pick up where the preceding Sunday had left off. The new criterion is a thematic one: Every Sunday will highlight a particular aspect of the life and teaching of Jesus, supported by readings from the Old Testament and the epistles of Paul.

The new lectionary is divided into three parts: the mystery of the Incarnation, the mystery of Easter and the mystery of Pentecost.

Along with the new lectionary, the Ambrosian liturgical calendar has also been modified.

Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, archbishop of Milan, presented a copy of the new lectionary to the Pope.

Speaking with L’Osservatore Romano, the cardinal called the work «an ecclesial effort of great importance for the diocese and the communities of the Ambrosian rite.»

«What has been achieved is something like the restoration of a very valuable ancient building,» the prelate explained, «which one wants to enhance, returning it to its original splendor and also […] making it correspond to today’s needs.»

Cardinal Tettamanzi recalled that the Church of Milan, since the time of St. Ambrose, «has guarded and continually renewed its own original way of celebrating the mysteries of the life of Christ in the course of the liturgical year.»

He expressed his wish that «the new lectionary be received and seen as a gift that helps us to profess, celebrate and live the faith beginning from the Word of God,» reinvigorating liturgical life «like a beating heart of the community on its journey to holiness and in its missionary dynamism.»

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