Ritual, Roots and the Christian Experience
Ritual tells the story of our roots. It protects us from amnesia as it helps us keep alive the memory of how we came to be the people we are. Perhaps the only meaningless ritual is one that does not tell some people’s story. Ritual activity locates us in the world; it roots us in the ritualizing community and provides us a home. Ritual bonds the individual to the community, preventing aimless wandering; it helps us know who we are in relation to others and the world. Membership in the ritual community preserves us from the ultimate, radical identity crisis.
Religious ritual – all true ritual has about it a religious character – is the patterned way in which the community stands before God. It is the time-tested path, the community’s admittance to the holy ground. It is a particular moment of revelation in which the community experiences the story of its belief. In the telling and the doing of this story, the community meets its source and sustenance.
In Christian ritual activity, the divine is revealed in the ordinary – the people, their bread and wine, water and oil, the spoken word, the laying on of hands – disclosing the value, meaning and purpose of the world and of those who live in it. Christian ritual names the true order of things and fortifies us against the chaos of sin. Our ritual prayer is an experience of who and what we believe.
*Taken from ‘Preparing for Liturgy: A Theology and Spirituality’ by Austin Fleming with Victoria M. Tufano
The Year of St Joseph
In an apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”) Pope Francis has named from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021 as the Year of St Joseph. In the following section of this letter is information regarding why such a year was named, along with a prayer that can be used in our parishes.
According to the Vatican News: “The Letter marks the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To celebrate the anniversary, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special “Year of St Joseph,” beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2020 and extending to the same feast in 2021. The Holy Father wrote Patris corde against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which, he says, has helped us see more clearly the importance of “ordinary” people who, though far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day. In this, they resemble Saint Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”
At the conclusion of his Letter Pope Francis adds a prayer to St. Joseph encouraging us all to pray together:
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.
Some of you are already familiar with “Vivre et célébrer”, the French liturgical periodical/resource produced by the CCCB’s Office national de liturgie, which is available in digital format only and can be subscribed to free of charge. To learn more about “Vivre et célébrer”, please visit the CCCB website at https://www.cccb.ca/fr/liturgie-et-sacrements/revue-vivre-et-celebrer/.
People interested in receiving the latest issue of “Vivre et célébrer” can do so easily by completing the subscription form at https://www.cccb.ca/fr/liturgie-et-sacrements/revue-vivre-et-celebrer/abonnements/.
The imminent arrival of the new French translation of the Roman Missal has given rise to an interesting project aimed at enhancing not only the liturgical book, but above all, the ritual action it involves.
As a member of the Commission épiscopale francophone pour les traductions liturgiques (CEFTL), our country, through the CCCB, joined with France, Belgium and Switzerland to produce 52 podcasts, each lasting approximately one minute. They will gradually be available on the CCCB website under the sub-section Formation liturgique of the section Ressources en français: https://www.cccb.ca/fr/liturgie-et-sacrements/ressources-en-francais/formation-liturgique/
The texts of the recordings were produced by Father Olivier Windels, priest of the diocese of Liège. Four men and four women, including Canadians, were chosen to bring the texts to life through their reading.
Please consult the CCCB website for updates as new podcasts will be added periodically as they become available.