Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion

Each week, beginning in mid-October and continuing until the first Sunday of Advent, The Leadership Institute has published a series of articles that have been distributed at all parishes in the Diocese of Bridgeport as we await Bishop Caggiano’s promulgation of the Revised Liturgical Norms.

An intro to each article and the links to each in English and Spanish can be found below. The article below marks our final Catechesis piece on the Revised Liturgical Norms. Click here to learn more about the Norms.

The Eucharistic celebration is the source and summit of our faith. We are called to become what we receive and that should change everything: how we act, how we speak to one another, and how we live our lives. This week, read about those faithful individuals who assist the ordinary minister of the Eucharist in extraordinary ways.

The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
For Catholics, the Eucharist is the most important sacrament and the center of faith itself.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls the Eucharist “the source and summit of Christian life” (1324) and “the sum and summary of our faith” (1327). All other works of the Church spring from it:

“The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself” (CCC, 1324).

Continue reading our fifth Catechesis Article here.

The Role of the Reader at Mass

Each week, beginning in mid-October and continuing until the first Sunday of Advent, The Leadership Institute will publish a series of articles that will be distributed at all parishes in the Diocese of Bridgeport as we await Bishop Caggiano’s promulgation of the Revised Liturgical Norms. 

An intro to each article and the links to each in English and Spanish can be found below. A new article will be added each week. Click here to learn more about the Norms.

Nothing can be more distracting than a reader who proclaims Sacred Scripture as though he or she is seeing the words for the very first time. A well-formed reader is essential to an engaging Eucharistic experience. This week, read more about the role of the reader at Mass, including how Jesus is a role model for today’s readers.

The Role of the Reader at Mass
The one who serves as a reader in Sacred Liturgy is the person designated to proclaim Sacred Scripture (with the exception of the Gospel). This person would also proclaim the psalm response (in the absence of a cantor), and the Universal Prayer or, as it is commonly known, the Prayer of the Faithful (in the absence of a deacon). Though this person is often called a “lector,” a quick study of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) indicates that this is a misnomer. The lector is actually an instituted office of the Church, much like an Acolyte. So what is a reader?

“In the absence of an instituted lector, other lay people may be deputed (i.e., delegated) to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, people who are truly suited to carrying out this function and carefully prepared, so that by their hearing the readings from the sacred texts the faithful may conceive in their hearts a sweet and living affection for Sacred Scripture” (GIRM, 101). For the purpose of the Revised Liturgical Norms in the Diocese of Bridgeport, the term “reader” will be used as it most closely reflects the General Instruction. As a formal ministry, the ministry of lector is meant to be conferred on men who are preparing to become deacons and priests and it received as part of their preparation for ordination.

Continue reading our fifth Catechesis Article here.

The Role of Altar Servers in Liturgy

Each week, beginning in mid-October and continuing until the first Sunday of Advent, The Leadership Institute will publish a series of articles that will be distributed at all parishes in the Diocese of Bridgeport as we await Bishop Caggiano’s promulgation of the Revised Liturgical Norms. 

An intro to each article and the links to each in English and Spanish can be found below. A new article will be added each week. Click here to learn more about the Norms.

The young men and women who answer the call to serve at the altar as servers fulfill and important duty. They are called to help the celebrant, to set the table, and assist as he receives the gifts of the community. They do all these things as invisibly as they can so as to not distract from the solemnity of Mass. This week, read more about the history of Altar Servers and the important ministry they provide.

The Role of Altar Servers in Liturgy

The server is both a member of the assembly and a minister in the sanctuary. With a foot in both worlds, the server has an unusual perspective when participating at Mass. He or she is called to fully and actively participate in the liturgy, and yet is also called to serve in a particular way.

At the last supper, someone had to set the table and prepare the meal. The servers are not mentioned, but unquestionably the very first Eucharist would have relied on servers. When the early Church gathered together for the breaking of bread in homes, someone had to perform the same functions. In time the liturgy became more stylized, and so did its ministers.

Continue reading our fourth Catechesis Article here.

Music in the Sacred Liturgy

Each week, beginning in mid-October and continuing until the first Sunday of Advent, The Leadership Institute will publish a series of articles that will be distributed at all parishes in the Diocese of Bridgeport as we await Bishop Caggiano’s promulgation of the Revised Liturgical Norms. 

An intro to each article and the links to each in English and Spanish can be found below. A new article will be added each week. Click here to learn more about the Norms.

Have you ever been to Mass and been so moved by the music you look at the author’s name? You are so overwhelmed by the words, you have to know who penned such beauty? Music can be a powerful part of our liturgical experience. This week, read more about the power of music in Sacred Liturgy as we prepare for the promulgation of the Revised Liturgical Norms this Advent.

Music in the Sacred Liturgy

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. Psalm 104:33

Music is a gift from God, and the capacity to make music dwells within each human person. Music is also – simultaneously – an individual and communal activity. It is music’s communal nature that makes it an ideal art form for use in Divine Worship. The primary animator of this art form in the liturgy is the assembly. At certain times the priest, the deacon, the choir, the musicians, the psalmist, and the cantor have specific roles of their own, but it is the assembly that participates in every moment of the liturgical celebration.

Continue reading our third Catechesis Article here.

The Role of the Laity in Liturgy

Each week, beginning last Sunday and continuing until the first Sunday of Advent, The Leadership Institute will publish a series of articles that will be distributed at all parishes in the Diocese of Bridgeport as we await Bishop Caggiano’s promulgation of the Revised Liturgical Norms. 

An intro to each article and the links to each in English and Spanish can be found below. A new article will be added each week. Click here to learn more about the Norms.

Today, more than ever, the role of the laity in Sacred Liturgy and in the Church in general, is important for Catholics to understand. The second catechetical article, “The Role of the Laity,” discusses how laypeople are called to share in the mission of Christ’s Church by living in the midst of the world and addressing all its problems and concerns with the divine message of salvation.

The Role of the Laity in Liturgy

Never before in the history of the Church has the absolutely essential role of the layperson been so dramatically emphasized as it is now. Particularly since Vatican II, the Church has called for a renewal in the life and role of the laity. Yet among the faithful, there remains a fundamental lack of understanding of the lay vocation and its role in the Church’s mission.

For many, there is a notion that the only real vocation in the Church is the ordained or vowed priesthood and religious. They believe “the Church” is the ordained office and only people in habits or collars are called to serve. Many think that the role of the laity is to help out around the parish and that they are not called to play an integral part in the mission of the Church.

Continue reading our second Catechesis Article here.

What is the Sacred Liturgy?

Each week, beginning this Sunday and continuing until the first Sunday of Advent, The Leadership Institute will publish a series of articles that will be distributed at all parishes in the Diocese of Bridgeport as we await Bishop Caggiano’s promulgation of the Revised Liturgical Norms. 

An intro to each article and the links to each in English and Spanish can be found below. A new article will be added each week. Click here to learn more about the Norms.

Week One: What is the Sacred Liturgy?

Until the documents of the Second Vatican Council were published, Sacred Liturgy was shrouded in mystery. The first catechetical article, “What is Sacred Liturgy?” asserts that today, we have a better balance in understanding the aspects of the Liturgy and an even greater grasp of what the Church believes and teaches about the Sacred Liturgy will bring forth much fruit for the life of the Church.

After the Second Vatican Council (1962- 1965), when the word liturgy sprang into more common usage, its definition (from the Greek leitourgia) – the work of the people or work on behalf of the people – soon resulted in an emphasis solely on the first, rather than the more important second understanding. Some explain this as a consequence of the Council’s call for “full, active and conscious participation” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 2, 14) in the worship of the Church as the “right and duty” of the Christian people, particularly as individuals and the entire assembly gradually assumed a more active role in liturgical celebrations. It is true that, immediately after the liturgical reforms of Vatican II, the tendency was to focus on the assembly’s role in the celebration of the Liturgy while failing to recognize the more important “work of God” being accomplished in the assembly’s midst. While a better balance in understanding both aspects of the Liturgy now exists, an even greater grasp of what the Church believes and teaches about the Sacred Liturgy will bring forth much fruit for the life of the Church.

Continue reading our first Catechesis Article here.

Bishop Announces Revision of Liturgical Norms

BRIDGEPORT—The norms, or rules, governing liturgical and sacramental practices in the Diocese of Bridgeport, will be revised over the next four years, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano announced.

“When we concluded the diocesan synod, one of the major initiatives which I confirmed was the need to revise the diocesan sacramental guidelines,” Bishop Caggiano said on October 1. “The sacramental guidelines are really the depository of all the norms and guidelines that allow us to pray effectively and reverently as a Church.”

The norms were last promulgated in 1983 under Bishop Walter Curtis.

Noting that things change over, time Bishop Caggiano commented that it is important that we undertake these revisions to ensure that all sacraments and liturgical celebrations remain fruitful, collaborative, participative, and reverent.

The bishop met with the priests of the diocese on September 13 and discussed the norms, which were distributed as a provisional document. Final comments from priests are due October 10.

“As the guidelines involve hundreds of pages and every aspect of our prayer as a community, I decided to break the revisions over several years and to invite others into this process” Bishop Caggiano said. “For the last year, two dozen members of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission have been meeting to work on this first set of revisions, which cover those who serve in the important ministries of reader (lector), musician, altar server, and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

“Lay participation in the liturgy is an essential component,” the bishop added. “These norms are meant to enhance, and, in some cases, regularize how these ministries are undertaken.”

“There must be a delicate balance between a liturgy that reflects the particular needs of a community, especially our culturally diverse communities, and in keeping the liturgy consistent and authentically Catholic. The Commission has sought to accomplish this as the norms were revised,” the bishop said, acknowledging that “the norms will allow for diversity where diversity is allowed by Church law.”

“There will be changes,” the bishop said, “so it will be important to take our time and discuss the modifications that are coming. Once the norms are promulgated by sacred decree, we will live with the norms for one year and then review them to see if any further changes are necessary. This process will be repeated again and again until all norms are revised.”

Citing the angst that was caused by the sudden changes made to the celebration of liturgy in the United States in the years following Vatican II, the bishop has instead proposed a six-week catechetical journey in which all are invited and encouraged to participate.

Beginning October 15, 2018, The Leadership Institute of the diocese will issue several catechetical lessons for parishes to distribute. The first is a video in which Bishop Caggiano outlines his hope for the faithful and an overview of the revision process. Then, in the following weeks, articles will be circulated online and at parish Masses highlighting the importance of liturgy, the role of the laity, and each of the ministries discussed in the norms. These materials will be available in English and Spanish.

In addition to the written materials, Patrick Donovan, director of The Leadership Institute, announced plans for eight face-to-face meetings in October and November.

“The first four meetings are for those who serve as deacons, religious educators, coordinators of worship, choir directors, and others who share in the leadership in our parishes,” Donovan said. “There are four opportunities for parish leaders to come together in October to view the norms, make suggestions, ask questions, and discuss the revisions with those who share in the ministries governed by the norms.”

In November, there will be an additional four meetings, Donovan said. Those meetings, he said, are for anyone who serves as a reader, musician, or Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. Donovan added, “Any changes to the ministry of altar serving will be managed at the local level.”

The November meetings will include a chance to listen to proposed changes, learn about the formation process, and discover how those who are already serving will be grandfathered into ministry, using a truncated formation process.

Those who wish to view the resources or to sign up to attend any of the meetings in the coming weeks are invited to visit the Institute’s website, www.formationreimagined.org.

“This will be a guided process,” Bishop Caggiano said, “so that when the norms are promulgated on the first Sunday of Advent, all will understand what the norms are proposing and the principles behind them.”

“The Lord asks us to participated in his death and resurrection through grace—especially when we celebrate the Eucharist—and I am grateful to all who will accept this invitation to renewal,” the bishop said. “Through this catechesis and these revisions, may we become leaven for renewal in the rest of the world.”

For more information, contact Patrick Donovan, director of The Leadership Institute at 203.416.1657.

To learn more about the Revised Liturgical Norms or to sign up for one of the upcoming informational sessions, please visit https://formationreimagined.org/liturgical-norms/.