As parishes have begun to open their doors again to the public, they seek to do so in as safe a manner as possible. In the Archdiocese of Chicago, this has meant that pandemic teams have been formed in parishes and people have been educated on safe practices through webinars.
Throughout the country, parishes are taking steps to adopt best practices for celebrating the liturgy well and safely. Still, as Deacon Francis Agnoli states in the article "Minimizing Risks at the Liturgy," no matter the precautions taken, a safe liturgy cannot be ensured.
"Parishes can just try to ensure that the liturgy is 'safer,'" he states. To do so means understanding, at least somewhat, the nature of COVID-19. To assist in once again celebrating the liturgy, Agnoli has written a two-part article for this issue, with the first part "Reopening Parishes Safely during the Pandemic" providing general principles regarding the spread of the virus, interventions such as face coverings, and social distancing, and the role of cleaning and disinfecting.
In the second article, the author walks through the Mass and other rites, providing an approach to celebrating the liturgy during this time.
With Advent soon to be upon us, Rev. Ronald Patrick Raab provides the meditation "Waiting in Hope for the Light That Scatters All Darkness." This reflection on a prayer from a penitential service in the Rite of Penance is especially poignant during a time when so many need to be comforted after their lives have been torn from them due to the pandemic and due to racism. Our need is evident for Christ, the light of lights, to show us the way out of darkness.
When parishes celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation in a communal setting, using form 2 of the Rite of Penance (Reconciliation of Several Penitents with Inividual Confession and Absolution), care needs to be taken with the spaces set up for the penitent and confessor to meet.
In "Dedicating Worthy Spaces to Celebrate Reconciliation," Rev. J. Philip Horrigan explains that the setting is an integral part of the ritual act.
Parishes will want to be sure to distribute the downloadable inserts in their bulletin and through faith formation sessions. In "Modeling Faith through Voting," Kathryn Ball-Boruff explains that parents should be ready to discuss with their children how their votes reflect their values.
In "A Merciful God Awaits Sinners," Kathy Kuczka shows how reflecting upon Scripture can help a person examine their lives prior to confession.
Since the July/August issue was unable to acommodate the book reviews, two pages of reviews are in the magazine. The six reviews are of books on issues affecting young Hispanics, sacraments, ministry, and the effect of Pope Francis on the Church.
Finally, I would like to echo the words of St. Paul to the Thessalonians in the reading on the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Paul tells the community that he gives thanks to God for them and acknowledges their faith and labor of love. During the past several months lay and ordained ministers have joined together to creatively reach the needs of their communities. My heart fills with gratitude for your work and ministry. May your days be blessed.
Bishop Joseph N. Perry
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
Using the liturgy as its source, Pastoral Liturgy® has been intentionally designed to be of service to the whole parish with resources for leaders and parishioners, those who are just beginning to learn about liturgy, and those who are seasoned volunteers and professionals.
The six 32-page, full-color issues follow the course of the liturgical year to provide guidance for liturgy preparation, faith formation, liturgical art and architecture, and the many areas of parish ministry that flow from the liturgy to witness the Gospel and build the kingdom of God.
Pastors, parish staffs, liturgy committees, catechists, musicians, architects, and everyone seeking to learn more about how the liturgy forms and informs all of parish life will find this resource a valuable support to understanding the liturgy more fully and incorporating it as the source for all they do. That's why Pastoral Liturgy® magazine is the liturgy magazine for the whole parish!