“Entrusted to the Church”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the sacraments as “efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us” (CCC 1131). These seven gifts entrusted to the Church calls for the Church at all levels to always be attentive to how they are celebrated taking into account the particular needs of the people, in various cultures and throughout various periods in our history.
On the universal level of the Church, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments advises the Pope on universal principles and procedures as he continues to implement the teaching of the councils in regards to liturgy. Each national conference of Catholic bishops is called to set certain policies and practices for each nation that reflects the local culture, language and needs of a local people. Not every nation celebrates Mass exactly the same way as many discover when traveling or immigrating. Even within a country, there may be differences. Each individual Bishop leading a diocese has certain responsibilities in caring for the celebration of the sacraments. A pastor of a parish has a few decisions that need to be made. In addition, the entire People of God play an important role in the proper celebration of these efficacious signs of grace.
As our new archbishop has traveled from parish to parish celebrating the sacraments, he has noticed a wide variety of ways Mass is being celebrated. His desire is to make us, as a local Church, more uniformed in how we celebrate Mass. He has written a pastoral letter on the Eucharist and has called for a special Year of the Eucharist to help us reflect upon this gift given to us and our call to celebrate it worthily. There will be a few changes that we will implement by the first Sunday of Advent. We will explain those changes in future newsletters.