REGINA — Liturgical changes and the next steps in implementing the four archdiocesan priorities announced in August were among the topics discussed at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council (APC) meeting Dec. 2 in Christ the King Parish Hall.
The discussion on liturgical changes was initiated by Archbishop Donald Bolen who, over the past two months, engaged in conversations within the archdiocese about celebrating the liturgy, and whether there might be some simple changes or moves toward greater consistency. He told the meeting that it is now six years since the new Roman Missal was introduced, and while no major changes are anticipated, this was an opportunity to provide clarifications on some areas where there is confusion, and move to greater unity in other areas.
APC members pointed out that there are differences in practice during masses, ranging from when parishioners are kneeling, standing, or sitting before, during, and after communion; when liturgical volunteers should bow toward the altar, and when and where readers, proclaimers, and other liturgical ministers should sit while awaiting their cue. They also spoke of the value of a unified approach in training laypeople as readers, proclaimers, and eucharistic ministers.
While acknowledging that there is room for local adaptation on some matters, Bolen said there is a desire that there be consistency in liturgical practices on essential matters throughout the archdiocese. He was appreciative of the discussion, and indicated that he had also initiated a consultation on the subject with the priests of the archdiocese, and was planning to take it up with the Council of Priests at their next meeting. He later told the Prairie Messenger that he hoped to issue a pastoral letter some time in January outlining refinements to address some of the concerns raised by the clergy and people of the archdiocese.
The meeting also spent considerable time on presentations and table discussions on the next steps to be taken to move forward with the four priorities Bolen spelled out in August:
1) Building vital and viable parish faith communities;
2) Living Evangelization and Discipleship;
3) Listening, Engaging in Dialogue, seeking Justice and Reconciliation; and
4) Growing in Faithful and Responsible Stewardship
At the time of the announcement, the archbishop said he had arrived at the priorities after a period of discernment that included prayer and a wide consultation process with clergy, religious women, staff, the lay faithful, Catholic organizations, parish leaders, and community partners.
Leah Perreault, consultant to the archbishop, said the next steps are “to get us to a concrete work plan,” so that the different groups and individuals in the archdiocese can see what the plan is to do this work and how the priorities will be accomplished.