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Celebration of the Word of God

A Liturgical Enquiry

by Emmanuel Chinedu Anagwo (Author)
Monographs 210 Pages

Summary

This book focuses on the clarion call by Pope Francis and the Second Vatican Council for an elaborate celebration of the Word. It is predicated on the dearth of the Word of God in liturgical assemblies and rituals. Basing its theological and liturgical framework upon the text of Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC) no. 35, the study sets out with the aim to argue for a rediscovery of the power of the Word of God. The work employed library research method, social survey method, and liturgical exegesis. The book equally addresses some challenges and the theme of liturgical inculturation in the announcement of the oracular word in African Traditional Religion (ATR). Some practical recommendations were made to be viable indicators for a necessary liturgical aggiornamento needed in the 21st century Church in Africa and beyond.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Contents
  • Abbreviations
  • Chapter One Introduction
  • Background to the Study
  • Aim of the Book
  • Argument of the Book
  • Significance of the Book
  • Definition of Terms
  • Celebration
  • Word of God
  • Design of the Book
  • Chapter Two General Perspectives on the Celebration of the Word of God
  • Nature and Purpose of Celebration
  • Dynamics of the Word of God
  • The Bible and the Liturgy
  • The Liturgy of the Word
  • Liturgy of the Word and Eucharistic Celebration
  • Celebration of the Word of God
  • Evaluation
  • Chapter Three Context, Field Work and Data Analysis
  • Nnewi Diocese and the Celebration of the Word
  • Challenges Facing the Celebration of the Word for the Church in Nigeria
  • Research Questions and Hypotheses
  • Fieldwork Methodology
  • Data Analysis Results
  • Analysis of Questionnaire
  • Analysis of Oral Interview
  • Analysis of Participant Observation
  • Evaluation
  • Chapter Four Liturgical Exegesis of Sacrosanctum Concilium 35
  • Historical Background to Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC) 35
  • Presentation of the Text
  • Liturgical Exegesis of the Text
  • Emergent Theologico-Liturgical Themes from the Exegesis
  • Abundant Use of the Scripture
  • The Word of God as an Essential Part of the Liturgical Celebration
  • Clerics as Ministers of the Homily
  • Homily to be Scripturally Based
  • Homily to be Liturgically Oriented
  • The Need for Liturgical Instruction
  • Recognition of Bible Service
  • Spirituality of the Celebration of the Word of God
  • Summary
  • Chapter Five Inculturation on the Celebration of the Word
  • Igbo World-View on the Word of the Oracle
  • The Role of the Agents of the “Word of God”
  • The Communal Dimension of ‘Okwu nke Osebuluwa’
  • The Word of God and Its Enrichment with Cultural Values
  • Sacredness of the Word
  • Sense of Respect and Reverence for the Word
  • The Sitting Posture to Listen
  • The Status of Standing Posture
  • The Posture of the Proclaimer
  • The Word of God in the Local Language
  • Evaluation
  • Chapter Six Summary, Recommendations and Conclusion
  • Summary
  • Recommendations
  • Constant Reading of the Word of God
  • Pastoral/Liturgical Care of the Children and Youths
  • Integrating the Physically Challenged in the Celebration of the Word
  • Adequate Preparation for the Celebration of the Word by the Celebrant and Participants
  • Proper Liturgical Books at the Parish and Diocesan Celebrations
  • Collaborative Ministry between the Celebrant and the Faithful
  • The Use of Modern Means of Communication
  • Adopting the Traditional Communicative Skills
  • Ongoing Comprehensive Formation for the Ministers of the Word
  • Sustaining the Culture of the Enthronement of the Word
  • Establishment of Bible School for the Laity
  • Return to Lively Word
  • Liaising with Media Houses Around
  • Return to Elaborate Celebration of the Word
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix I Questionnaire
  • Appendix II Questionnaire Analysis
  • Appendix III Field Work and Statistical Data
  • Appendix IV Questionnaire for Oral Interview
  • Appendix V
  • Bibliography
  • About the Book
  • About the Author
  • Index
  • Series index

Abbreviations

Acts

Acts of the Apostles

ATR

African Traditional Religion

Can

Canon

Cf

Confer

Col

Colossians

Cor

Corinthians

Deut

Deuteronomy

Dr

Doctor

DV

Dei Verbum

Eccl

Ecclesiastes

Ed

Editor

EIA

Ecclesia in Africa

Eph

Ephesians

Etc

Et cetera

Exo

Exodus

Ezek

Ezekiel

Gal

Galatians

Gen

Genesis

GIRM

General Instruction of the Roman Missal

Heb

Hebrews

HOD

Head of Department

Hos

Hosea

IL

Instrumentum Laboris

Inc

Incorporation

Int’l

International

Isa

Isaiah

Jer

Jeremiah

Josh

Joshua

Kgs

Kings

LG

Lumen Gentium

Macc

Maccabees

Matt

Matthew

Mr

Mister

Mrs

Misses

Msgr

Monsignor←21 | 22→

NCDC

Nnewi Catholic Diocesan Community

Nr

Number

Nos

Numbers

Para

Paragraph

Pet

Peter

Prof

Professor

Ps

Psalm

Rev

Revelation

Rev

Reverend

Rom

Romans

Sam

Samuel

SC

Sacrosanctum Concilium

Sr

Sister

Vol

Volume

Wis

Wisdom

Chapter One Introduction

Background to the Study

Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Aperuit illis, published on 30th September, 2019 establishes that “the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God.”10 Nonetheless, there appears to be a longstanding controversy over the role of the Word of God in liturgical celebrations, all because of the new interest in biblical study and liturgical renewal. Today, more than ever, many Churches, denominations and sects have demonstrated that they are Bible-oriented communities. Not just satisfied in advocating for their members to always read and make the Bible their vade mecum (Go-with-me), some of the Churches have been branded in that line. Such names include Bible Life Church, Word of Life Bible Church, African Bible Church, Bible Believers Church, Bible Believers Ministry. Others are Bible Enrichment Fellowship, Bible Life Holiness Church, Bible Life Holiness Ministry, Bible Pattern Church, Bible Purity Church, Bible Way Pentecostal Church, Bible Church Movements, First Fruits Bible Church, to mention but a few.11

Significantly, the Catholic Church is not left out in the race. She is also caught up in the web of this cross pollination and fertilization of ideas, in the authentic search to give the Word of God its rightful place in contemporary Nigeria. In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI declared that the year should be dedicated to the Word of God and a Lineamenta entitled “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church”12 was published and the Synod of Bishops was held to that effect. After centuries of neglect, the place of the Word of God is, therefore, regaining its rightful place in liturgical celebrations.13 It has the ability to form ←23 | 24→and inform Christians. This is because, “for Christians, the Holy Scripture is not only a source of revelation on which to ground one’s faith, it is also an indispensable reference point for morality.”14 The Church is seriously engaged, too, in the reformed rites of liturgy because of the outstanding liturgical principle that liturgia semper reformanda est “liturgy is always in need of reform.” In this regard, the tables of the Word and Sacraments are explained to be indissolubly joined and mutually interpretative and inclusive. In the past, Protestants were known to be championing the Word justifying their mantra, sola scriptura while Catholics held unto the administration of the Sacraments. Hilary Okeke warns that “those Christians who accept only the Scriptures are in permanent fundamental error.”15 Today, the good news is that the Catholics and the Protestants have realised the complementarity and mutual enrichment of the Word and the Sacraments; hence, the move to be inclusive in their use and application in their liturgical worship.

To be fair to liturgical history, ever since the reformed liturgy of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), the Catholic Church has always recommended recourse to the Scripture. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy has stated that liturgical acts derive their meanings from the Scripture and that the norms of liturgical revision should include the increased use of the Scripture.16 The Council Fathers insisted that all the liturgical preaching must be nourished and ruled by the Sacred Scripture.17 Liturgical preaching was to “draw its context mainly from the scriptural and liturgical sources”18 and the homily which ought to flow from the “sacred text” must give an explanation of certain aspects of the readings from the Sacred Scriptures taking into account, peculiar needs of the congregation and the local and contextual exigencies. The reformers returned to the ancient tradition of preaching which derived directly from the biblical readings proclaimed in the liturgy and this leads to the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals.

Nowadays, however, there is a noticeable lack of emphasis as far as the celebration of the Word of God is concerned on liturgical worship. The pivotal role ←24 | 25→of the Word suffers this anomaly as it is not elaborately celebrated. Insufficient time and preparation characterise the delivery of the Word of God. Imagine a situation where the priest is constrained to finish the homily on Sunday within five minutes because the parish project has to be accommodated within the liturgical celebration to raise funds for parish hall, school, father’s house, Church building, father’s car, etc. At another extreme, the priest will speak for over one hour; yet, the content is shallow and empty. What of the priests and lectors who are hearing the readings of the day for the first time during the liturgical celebration, trusting themselves to the Holy Spirit to inspire them during the delivery. The faithful have little or nothing from God’s Word to go home with. The quality of the celebration of the Word of God is thus compromised because its liturgy is characterized by haphazard affair, makeshift and rescue operation. This goes against one of the outstanding liturgical principles to evolve active, intelligent and plenary participation of the people in the liturgy. To compound the matter, preachers are usually too abstract and unrealistic. What they preach is fragmentary and lacks sincerity. Their homilies are too moralistic, etc.

Now the lingering question is whether the priests, and indeed, the ministers of the Word (like the lectors) have missed their target audience or have inadequately prepared their homily or worse still, the faithful have not sufficiently provided the ground for the Word of God to germinate. Ideally, liturgical celebration works with the principle: no liturgical action should take place without the Word as part of it.19 In other words, there ought to be two scenes in one act. First celebrate the Word, then the sacrament or blessing.20 Each must complement the other for the full realisation of the liturgical worship. None should supplant the other. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case as segmentation is the order of the day. There is always a disconnection between faith and moral conduct. Some Christians do not believe that what is celebrated in the Church ought to flow into their socio-communitarian living. The expression “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” (Matt 22:21) is wrongly interpreted and applied by them. Remarkably, the Eucharist, for instance, remains the summit and fountain (culmen et fons) of Christian life, mission and celebration.21 Its celebration ←25 | 26→ought to flow in the blood-stream of the faithful who take part in the worship. Christianity is experiential. It cannot be dichotomized, dualized or polarised. Regrettably, that is what obtains since the fruits of the celebration are not fully reflected in their daily activities.

Aim of the Book

Details

Pages
210
ISBN (PDF)
9783631831434
ISBN (ePUB)
9783631831441
ISBN (MOBI)
9783631831458
ISBN (Hardcover)
9783631820360
Language
English
Publication date
2020 (September)
Tags
Catholic Church Roman liturgy Reading Homily Spirituality
Published
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 210 pp.

Biographical notes

Emmanuel Chinedu Anagwo (Author)

Emmanuel Chinedu Anagwo is a priest of Nnewi Diocese, Nigeria. He holds Dip. Lat, BPhil, BA, BTheo, MED, MTh, Licentiate in sacred liturgy (STL) and a doctorate degree (PhD) from the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Nigeria. He currently teaches sacred liturgy at the Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

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Title: Celebration of the Word of God