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Priest convocation addresses implementation of Roman Missal

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November 21, 2011

By Father Rob Waller 

DAYTON DEANERY — On Oct. 20 at Incarnation Parish in Centerville, the priests of the archdiocese attended their fourth and final preparation session for the implementation of the new English translation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition. 


The convocation did not focus on new wording of the texts, the process of the translation or the preparation of the people, as did the previous sessions, but on the priest himself and his own need for preparation. 


In the three-hour session, sponsored by the archdiocesan Priestly Formation and Worship Offices, Father Patrick Beidelman, vice rector of Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary and director of liturgy and worship for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, challenged the priests of Cincinnati to prepare themselves to “rediscover the Mass and discover something new about yourselves, too.” 


Quoting from the “General Instruction of the Roman Missal,” Father Biedelman reminded the 200 priests that “when [the priest] celebrates the Eucharist, he must serve God and the people with dignity and humility, and by his bearing and by the way he pronounces the divine words, he must convey to the faithful the living presence of Christ.”


He also asked them to remember the command given to them at ordination: “Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s cross.”


“We are at a new moment in the life of our faith family,” Father Biedelman said. “We will say new words and will come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Mass, and to a deeper commitment to worship God in the Mass. We will find something that gives us joy and something that challenges us. At best, the new focus on the new words will help us glorify God in all of life and advance on the way of our own salvation. We will uncover our love of priesthood, Eucharist and the Mass.”


Father Biedelman gave to the priests a set of “ten commandments for priests as we begin this new moment.” Among them were: 

• Take time to prayerfully prepare (yourself and the texts) before Mass.

• Pray slowly, speak clearly and be mindful of your pacing. Don’t panic if you or the people make small mistakes. Just be prayerful.

• Model how you want them to respond in the manner in which  you lead the prayer.


“What a blessing it is to act on behalf of the people as we worship God. As we recognize what an awesome gift it is, we realize our own unworthiness. We are in need of God’s grace and mercy,” Father Biedelman added. “We want to know that we are being our best and doing our best as we lead the people in prayer.” 


The priests left the gathering with resources for taking the prayers of the Mass to heart before speaking them and with the encouragement to pray them alone before praying them with others.


Prior to the presentation and reflection on the Roman Missal, the priests heard from Jim Rigg, the archdiocesan director of educational services and superintendent of Catholic schools, and Father Benedict O’Cinnsealaigh, president of the Athenaeum of Ohio and rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary.


Rigg reported on the visioning process undertaken by the Catholic Schools Office, noting that all parishes, even those not directly engaged with  schools of their own, are “stakeholders and beneficiaries of Catholic schools,” and pointed out that with the first data gathering phase of the project concluded, the second phase will focus on what the data means for the establishment of a new vision for Catholic school education.


During a humor-laden and heartfelt “Irish five minutes,” Father O’Cinnsealaigh spoke passionately about the formation of priests and all who minister in the Archdicoese of Cincinnati. While continuing “our unique focus on training priests,” it is the mission of the Athenaeum of Ohio to “do it all” to form everyone who is ministering in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati: priests, teachers, ministers and deacons, he said. 


Noting that 130 priests of the archdiocese have named the seminary in their wills, and outlining the number of priests on the faculty and the amount of money that is spent in operating all the programs of the Athenaeum, Father O’Cinnsealaigh urged, “Do not let all those resources and energy go to waste.” 


Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr concluded the convocation with his remarks, including a mention that there are presently a total of 42 seminarians studying at the college and the theology level for the Archdicoese of Cincinnati, a 10-year high. After responding to questions about upcoming guidelines for his “Youth, Faith & Sports” series and the June 2012 four-day convocation for priests, the archbishop closed the business section of the day. 


Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer then led the priests in prayer, prior to their dismissal and their return to their personal and internal preparations for the implementation of the new Roman Missal. 


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