Liturgical Q&A

This week I share with readers some more interesting liturgical questions and the responses I gave.

Q. Last night, we had our Year 7 Graduation Liturgy in the Church and part of the ceremony included the priest anointing the students. Can you tell me the reason why we were not allowed to use the consecrated oil for this?
A. There are three oils blessed by the bishop for use in the liturgical rites: the oil of baptism used to anoint children and catechumens before baptism, the oil of the sick used to anoint the seriously ill, and sacred chrism which is used in confirmation, the ordination of bishops and the consecration of churches.
Graduating students do not fit into any of these categories so it is not appropriate to use these oils in blessing them.
Q. I have heard a couple of people (including a priest) say that the Penitential Rite is omitted when the Advent candles are lit. I certainly never saw the Advent Wreath as being Penitential. Did this come about when Advent was seen as a penitential season?
A. It is not so much a matter of the Penitential Rite being omitted when the Advent candles are lit, as the fact that there are several options for the Introductory Rites at Mass and a Penitential Rite (or Act, as it is now called) is not always one of them. If there is a Blessing and Sprinkling of Water, or the Reception of the Children to be Baptised, or an Advent Wreath ritual, it replaces the Penitential Act. The Introductory Rites are meant to be brief and to provide a lead-in to the main parts of the Mass which are the Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Q. I am under the impression that the Australian Church has permission to retain the former chant setting of the Our Father. I am disappointed it is not included with the alternative tones in the back of the Missal. Is this a subtle way of weaning us off it?
A. We are retaining the Australian chant setting of the Lord’s Prayer as arranged by Percy Jones in the same way as the US are retaining the version by Snow. The ICEL chant committee produced a version despite the fact that it was clear that each country would continue to do its own thing in this area.
Unfortunately the Australian setting is not included in the back of the CTS Missal as we can only use the ICEL chants and Rome would not permit local variations.
Q. We would like to use the contemporary Lord’s Prayer (Our Father in Heaven ... Forgive us our sins ... Save us from the time of trial, etc) at Mass in our parish. Is this allowed?
A. The version of the Lord’s Prayer you refer to has never been approved for use in the Catholic Church in Australia. It is the translation produced by the English Language Liturgical Consultation which the Catholic Church in the Philippines, India and New Zealand adopted in the 1970s. In 1998 the bishops conferences approved its use the revised Missal but this was rejected by Rome. The argument for retaining the ‘traditional’ translation is that it is widely known and changing it would cause confusion.
The ELLC version should always be used at interchurch services but only the traditional translation is permitted at Mass.


Elizabeth Harrington