Perth's Archbishop calls for liturgical fidelity

Perth's Archbishop calls for liturgical fidelity

Archbishop Barry J. Hickey

Last March, the Archbishop of Perth, Most Rev Barry Hickey, circulated the priests of his Archdiocese with a paper titled Priests and the Eucharistic Liturgy.

Archbishop Hickey explains the paper's "intent" as "to seek the co-operation of the priests in maintaining the tradition and competence of the Church in matters of worship to ensure fidelity to the true spirit of the liturgy so that the wonder of the Paschal Mystery be always revealed in a reverent, prayerful, joyful and loving way."

Priests and the Eucharistic Liturgy directs, among other things, that:

  • A priest should not allow his "personality and skills" to prevail over "the sacred mysteries being celebrated" for "the Mass is never simply the action of the people. It is primarily the action of Christ united with His people. 'Through Him, with Him, and in Him', the faithful offer sacrifice, praise, worship, and thanks to God."
  • Whatever licit "cultural adaptations" reflecting "ethnic traditions, local customs and events" are introduced, "the essential elements of the Mass must always remain intact."
  • "Excesses are to be avoided lest the frame become more important than the picture. The essence of the Mass is not to be lost in a host of distractions".
  • Priests should use the homily on Sundays and Holydays to provide not merely Scripture reflections but "a systematic presentation of the Faith." Priests "should make every effort to link Scripture reflections with daily life and with Church teachings".
  • Priests should show proper reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament by means of genuflection, and not by a bow, unless age or infirmity require it.
  • Eucharistic adoration should be encouraged. "Every effort ... should be made in new churches as well as in older ones, to ensure that the area surrounding the tabernacle is suitably decorated to encourage adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and that provision is made for people to spend time before the tabernacle in prayer."

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