In his Apostolic Letter of June 29, 2022, Pope Francis wrote: “How can we grow in our capacity to live in full the liturgical action? How do we continue to let ourselves be amazed at what happens in the celebration under our very eyes? We are in need of a serious and dynamic liturgical formation” (Desiderio Desideravi, 31).
Since its founding in 1969, the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions has always been dedicated to such liturgical formation. More often than not, we focus our attention on adult formation. How often in our daily duties do we concentrate on the younger members of our assemblies?
At this year’s national meeting, we honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Directory for Masses with Children. This universal document was promulgated on November 1, 1973, by the Congregation for Divine Worship “by special mandate of the Supreme Pontiff, Paul VI.”It was not coincidental that the Church chose to publish this document at the same time that people all over the world were adapting to the reformed Liturgy and the revised liturgical texts. It was intended as a supplement to the new General Instruction of the Roman Missal (1969-1970). It was followed by the promulgation of three Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children (1975) and, eventually, a Lectionary for Masses with Children (1992).
Reviewing the Directory now seems timely. In a post-pandemic era when we are encouraging families with young children to return to Sunday worship, we need to educate parents and children alike. In a culture where families are struggling against the opinions of secular society, we need to nurture the Catholic identity of our youngest Church members. And in a time when entertainment is often more valued than true worship, we need to foster the full, conscious, and active participation of our youth in the liturgy, by the liturgy.
Therefore, I encourage you to participate in this year’s national meeting. Its theme is aptly titled, “Sign and Pledge of Communion: Masses with Children.” Like the document from which it is drawn, the theme recognizes the baptismal dignity of all the Church’s members! The committee has developed an impressive program of plenary sessions and workshops which address various facets of this topic – all areas of liturgical formation of children, of preaching to children, of music for children, and of training parents and other adults who form children.
In addition, we have reached out to diocesan and parish leaders in catechetical and Catholic school ministry to join us in this effort. They will be with us on the Study Day – in person and virtually. Feel free to share the Study Day brochure with colleagues in your own diocese.
We are very grateful for the kind invitation of Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and for the hard work of the good folks of Region VI. They have been tending to countless details and assure us of a warm Midwest welcome!
Please join us for this fifty-fourth national meeting of diocesan liturgical commissions! As always, we will benefit from networking among colleagues, sharing ideas, and studying the Liturgy. Essential to our gathering will be liturgies in which we invoke the Spirit’s guidance, proclaim the Gospel of Jesus, and offer God due praise!
Rita A. Thiron
FDLC Executive Director