Rorate Caeli

"We cannot tolerate liturgical errors." Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith's program for the liturgy in Colombo

H.E. Malcolm Ranjith at Benediction.
More pictures can be found here.

His Excellency Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith has proclaimed a special "Year of the Eucharist" for his Archdiocese of Colombo, from August 2010 to August 2011. The text of the Archbishop's circular, dated July 16, 2010 and announcing the Year of the Eucharist and enumerating its goals can be found here.

According to the Archbishop, the goals of this special year are the following. Emphases mine.
01. Uppermost in our mind is the urgency to live the Eucharist in daily life through well-coordinated and directed works of charity. I have already requested Seth Sarana, the social services arm of the Archdiocese, to work out a plan of action in this connection. The most holy Eucharist is broken before its reception. It becomes our strength and nourishment only in this broken form. The vine is pressed and crushed before it becomes the most Sacred Blood that purifies and begets new life. Similarly, we need to break ourselves for others, and be pressed and crushed for justice and peace simultaneously as we believe and celebrate this most holy Sacrament. Hence, I very earnestly request all priests, religious and the laity to combine devotion with animation to show our love for the poor and the less fortunate people in our society by engaging in works of corporal mercy. Let our love extend not only to the poor people, but also towards mother nature so that our Eucharistic spirituality would incorporate also an eco-spirituality. Let us not forget that the bread which becomes the body of Christ, and the wine which becomes the Blood of Christ are God's gifts and fruits of the earth's fertility which are produced as food through human labour. Let this Year of the Eucharist be truly an Year to live the love of the Lord among our brothers and sisters, and an Year which will make us be grateful to God for His wonderful creation by safeguarding the equilibrium of nature. Indeed Pope Benedict XVI called for such an engagement in favour of creation when he stated: The Eucharist itself powerfully illuminates human history and the whole cosmos. On this sacramential perspective, we learn day by day, that every ecclesial event is a kind of sign by which God makes Himself known and challenges us. The Eucharistic form of life can thus help foster a real change in the way we approach history and the world(Sacramentum Caritatis 92).

02. While enriching ourselves with the power and blessings of the Eucharistic Lord we look forward to deepening our understanding about the mystery of the Eucharist. Aided and inspired by the theology and the spirituality of the Eucharist we wish to accept the regulation of the celebration of the liturgy not as something imposed on us, but as something which flows naturally from the mystery we need to uphold, cherish and safeguard. I wish to draw the attention of all priests, religious and the laity to what follows in this connection:

2.1 The Liturgical Guardian of the Archdiocese of Colombo which has already been given to the priests in the Archdiocese, and which will be made available for all others from 29th August 2010, is the main point of reference in all matters pertaining to liturgical celebrations within the Archdiocese of Colombo. Please abide by its stipulations faithfully without trying to implement personal views and opinions. Those wishing to do things as they wish make themselves like God himself, and that is self-idolatry. During this Year we shall concentrate very specially towards eliminating all erroneous practices regarding the celebration of the most holy Eucharist, the Sacraments and the Liturgy of the Hours. I would draw your attention also to the renovation and construction of churches which need to be done according to the guidelines set forth in the Guardian. In order to deepen our understanding about the Eucharist I wish to appeal to all parish priests, heads of institutions, principals of schools, superiors of religious houses to organise liturgical formation sessions on the Eucharist, sacraments and the Liturgy of the Hours. Please pay special attention to the training of lectors which is conducted in the Archdiocese as a deanery level training session, formation of choristers and training of church organists while not neglecting other ministries.

2.2 I appeal to all rectors of seminaries, administrators of archdiocesan shrines, superiors of institutions and directors of archdiocesan apostolates to very specially cooperate in this effort. While not exempting others, in such places we cannot tolerate liturgical errors. The Episcopal Vicars and the Deans have been instructed to be responsible for the implementation of the Liturgical Guardian in all parishes and religious houses, while the Archdiocesan Coordinator for Liturgy and the Deanery Liturgy Coordinators have been authorised to closely monitor the progress of this endeavour. Religious in the Archdiocese are not exempted from following what has been accepted as the liturgical law of the archdiocese.

2.3 An effort will be made to make common Latin chants popular during this year. With this aim in mind the Archdiocesan Coordinator for Liturgy, together with Mr Francis D' Almeida will be organising sessions of practice in all 15 deaneries and teach all choirs some basic Latin chants which could be used in parishes and institutions. Once these practice sessions take place parishes may sing at least the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei at parish Sunday Masses on the first Sunday of the month. No. 36 of the Constitution on the Scared liturgy clearly sets forth the principles in this regard. Latin still remains the main liturgical language of the Church. In Sri Lanka we made a mistake in abandoning the language of our worship altogether. Let this Eucharistic Year be an occasion for us to resuscitate this lost tradition at least to some extent. I appeal to all priests, religious and laity to cooperate.

I also wish to affirm that as indicated in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of 7th July 2007 priests and institutions are now permitted to celebrate, where it is appropriate, the Tridentine Mass and the Sacraments in that rite. In this case it is best that the faithful be prepared for it beforehand. I myself hope to celebrate a solemn Eucharist in that rite sometime in the near future at the Archdiocesan Cathedral.

2.4 The sub-commission for Sacred Art and Architecture has been authorized to identify some churches for the improvement of church sanctuaries. I appeal to priests not to start renovating anything without the permission and supervision of this sub-commission. This sub-commission has been recently re-constituted and is headed by Revd Fr Cecil Joy Perera, our Liturgy Coordinator. At the same time the Ars Celebrandi required from us require that we think seriously about Mass vestments, altar linen, altar vessels and the liturgical vesture for various liturgical ministries. Let the Year of the holy Eucharist be an occasion to improve all such aspects of our celebration.

2.5 The Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission will also try to provide extra reading material on the holy Eucharist in all three languages. An effort is being made at present to provide a booklet with daily reflections on the Eucharist, and to make available at least some of the major Church documents on the Eucharist. Please try to make use of this Year to read, reflect, discuss and study such source material.

God bless this worthy Archbishop!!!