Winter 2004 LiturgicalUpdate
Catholic Lenten Regulations
Lent is a season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving in preparation for
the renewal of baptismal promises at Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday when all are
called to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. Lent ends just before the evening
Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The highpoint of the liturgical year is the Triduum,
the three day celebration of the Paschal Mystery. The Triduum begins with the Mass of the Lord’s
Supper on Holy Thursday, continues with the Celebration of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ
on Good Friday, climaxes at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday and is completed with the Liturgies
of Easter Sunday. The Fifty Days of Eastertime, from Easter Sunday through
Pentecost, are a time of joy and celebration for the resurrection of Christ from the dead and
our baptism into the life of discipleship.
Catholics are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. This
means that Catholics who are eighteen to fifty-nine years old are required to keep a limited
fast, that is, to eat a single, normal meal and have lesser meals, as long as these do not add
up to a second meal. Children are not required to fast. Those with medical conditions requiring
greater or more regular food intake may be dispensed from this requirement.
Catholics are required to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday
and all the Fridays of Lent. This applies to Catholics who are fourteen years or older.
A person with special dietary needs may be dispensed from this requirement.
Prayer, fasting and charitable giving are hallmarks of Catholics who enter into
the season of Lent to prepare for the renewal of their baptismal commitment at Easter. In addition
to what the church requires, consider how you will prepare for Easter renewal this Lenten season.
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Easter Vigil Starting
Question: In 2004, what is the lawful time to begin the celebration
of the Easter Vigil in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe?
Answer: According to the rubrics, the time to begin the Easter
Vigil is after nightfall. (General Norms for the Liturgical Year, 21) Darkness is a
constituative element of the Vigil. Therefore, “this rule is to be followed in the strictest
sense”. (Ordo, 2004). The Bishop’s Committee on the Liturgy (BCL) responds that
the Easter Vigil should not begin any earlier than 30-45 minutes after Nautical Twilight. That
would mean that in New Mexico, parishes should not begin the Easter Vigil before 8:00 p.m. For
the sake of unity in the Archdiocese, the Archbishop asks that all parishes observe this law
and not begin the Easter Vigil liturgy before 8:00 p.m. on Sat., April 10, 2004.
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Funeral Liturgies on Holy
Thursday and During the Triduum
Question: Are funeral liturgies permitted during Holy Thursday and
Answer: The celebration of the funeral Mass is not permitted
on Holy Thursday and the days of the Easter Triduum. The appropriate rite to use is the “Funeral
Liturgy Outside Mass” in the Order of Christian Funerals in which the body is
brought to the church, the funeral ritual is celebrated without Mass, the final commendation
is given, and the burial commendation is provided at the cemetery. After the burial, at the
earliest date permitted by the liturgical calendar, a Eucharist for the deceased may be celebrated.
Sensitive pastoral care is needed in explaining these regulations to grieving families. Even
if no one dies during these days at your parish, it is still instructive to include an article
about this topic in the parish bulletin on Passion Sunday, or even the 5th week of Lent.
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Ritual Washing of Feet
Question: Whose feet should be washed on Holy Thursday at the Mass
of the Lord’s Supper?
Answer: The 2004 Ordo for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe notes, “The
group whose feet are washed should represent a cross-section of the local community”.
There is no exact requirement on the number of people whose feet are to be washed. The Holy
Thursday foot washing is neither a dramatic imitation of the Last Supper nor scriptural reenactment.
It is a ritual gesture expressive of our commitment to serve one another in love, peace, and
humility. “The principal and traditional meaning of the Holy Thursday mandatum …is
the biblical injunction of Christian charity. Christ’s disciples are to love each other …All
should obey the Lord’s new commandment to love one another with an abundance of love” (Bishop’s
Committee on the Liturgy Newsletter, April, 1996). The liturgy for Holy Thursday has never
permitted the washing of hands as an alternative for the washing of feet on this night.
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A nationwide survey revealed that over 80% of churches copy music in various ways: making weekly
participation aids and song sheets, making monthly/seasonal music booklets, making booklets for
special services such as wedding, funerals, healing services, copying songs on transparencies,
etc. It was further revealed that many churches perform these practices without regard to the
provisions of federal copyright law.
U.S. copyright law grants the owner of a creative work the exclusive right to
reproduce his or her work. Therefore, it is a violation of federal law to copy someone else’s
song without their express written permission for each copy made.
Many composers have chosen to give their copyright to music publishers who then
grant copyright licenses to parishes and institutions. The major music publishers of music used
at Catholic liturgy are:
- Oregon Catholic Press (OCP) 1-800-LITURGY
- World Library Publications (WLP) 1-800-566-6150
- GIA Publications (GIA) 1-800-GIA-1358
- Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) 1-800-234-2446 holds the copyright to
many contemporary songs which are at times used at youth Masses.
You are reminded to call these publishers and secure copyright permission before
reproducing any music. All provide for the purchase of yearly copyright.
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