Divine Worship & Sacraments

Pope Francis has asked that 2024 be marked as a Year of Prayer. The Holy Father announced its launch on Sunday 21 January 2024, on the fifth annual celebration of the ‘Sunday of the Word of God’. The Pope wrote: “From now on I am happy to think that the year preceding the Jubilee event, 2024, will be dedicated to a great ‘symphony’ of prayer. First of all, to recover the desire to be in the presence of the Lord, to listen to him and adore him.” In preparation for the Jubilee, therefore, individual dioceses are invited to promote the centrality of individual and community prayer during this year.

The Vatican has made some useful resources available to help people to better understand and rediscover the value of prayer, including at Mass, Exposition, and other liturgies. 

Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery outside Mass to Be Implemented on the First Sunday of Advent 2024

After a standard editorial review process by the Secretariat of Divine Worship, along with additional dialogue with the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, a timeline has been set for the implementation of Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery outside Mass (HCWEMOM), and was issued on January 25, 2024 in a decree of promulgation by Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, USCCB President.

The Holy See confirmed HCWEMOM for liturgical use in the United States on March 7, 2023; the text was received by the USCCB the following month. Several U.S. adaptations were then approved, almost all of them found in the Order of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction in chapter III.

The goal of the adaptations is to harmonize the book with existing customs for Eucharistic Adoration in this country, for example:

No. 92 – a rubric has been added to officially permit the priest or deacon to wear a white cope for Exposition;

Nos. 93 and 97 – the lyrics of the traditional hymns O salutaris Hostia and Tantum ergo Sacramentum, in Latin and English, have been inserted; other Eucharistic hymns may continue to be used;

No. 96 – clarifying instructions have been added for praying the Liturgy of the Hours during Adoration, especially Morning and Evening Prayer;

No. 99 – the text of the Divine Praises has been inserted for use during Benediction;

No. 100 – in addition to saying an acclamation, the people may alternatively sing a hymn as the minister withdraws after Benediction.

Ritual editions will go on sale beginning August 1, 2024, and its optional use will be permitted as of September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The obligatory-use date of HCWEMOM has been established for the United States as the First Sunday of Advent, December 1.

Ritual editions will be available at a discount through the ODWS online shop: details will be sent via Praenotanda when books are available.

As you consider the liturgical calendar for 2024, please be aware of the following:

During the 2024 liturgical year, there are three occasions when feast days are transferred:

• According to the Roman Missal, “Where the Solemnity of the Epiphany is transferred to Sunday, if this Sunday occurs on January 7 or 8, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the following Monday” (Proper of Time, emphasis added). Therefore, this Feast will take place on Monday, January 8, 2024, with only one reading before the Gospel. The First Week in Ordinary Time begins on the following day, Tuesday, January 9, and the readings assigned to Monday may be joined to those of Tuesday so that the opening of each book will be read.

• The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord on March 25 is impeded by Monday of Holy Week. According to the Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, no. 60, the Annunciation is therefore transferred to Monday of the Second Week of Easter, in this case, April 8, 2024.

• Since December 8, 2024 is the Second Sunday of Advent, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is transferred to Monday, December 9; the obligation to attend Mass, however, does not transfer. While Funeral Masses are not normally permitted on this day, they may take place this year since Immaculate Conception is not a day of precept (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 380). The Optional Memorial of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, December 9, is omitted.

There are also three occasions when non-obligatory Solemnities either precede or follow a Sunday: Mary, the Holy Mother of God (Monday, January 1), the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (Monday, June 24), and Saints Peter and Paul (Saturday, June 29). A more thorough discussion of the issues surrounding consecutive celebrations is found in the May-June 2016 BCDW Newsletter, “The Liturgical Celebration of Consecutive Feast Days (and Nights).” Notably, the document at the heart of that article’s analysis, “De Calendario Liturgico Exarando pro Anno 1984-1985” (Notitiae 20 [1984], 603-605), describes a year that falls almost exactly like 2024!

• On Sunday evening, December 31, the Mass of the Holy Family is celebrated, while at the Liturgy of the Hours Evening Prayer I of the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God is used. In celebrations with the people, however, Evening Prayer II of the Holy Family may take place. Because Holy Mary, Mother of God falls on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated, and Funeral Masses are permitted.

• On Sunday evening, June 23, the Mass of the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time is celebrated, though at a Mass outside the usual schedule, the Vigil Mass of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist may take place. At the Liturgy of the Hours, Evening Prayer I of the Nativity of Saint John is used; nevertheless, Evening Prayer II of the 12th Sunday may take place in celebrations with the people.

• On Saturday evening, June 29, at normally scheduled anticipated Masses, priests should anticipate the Mass of the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, though at Masses outside that usual schedule, the Mass of Saints Peter and Paul may be used. At the Liturgy of the Hours, Evening Prayer II of Saints Peter and Paul is used.

The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day) falls on a Saturday this year, a circumstance which has been more thoroughly treated in the January 2013 BCL Newsletter. On Friday evening, All Saints Day is celebrated at the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours, though, for pastoral reasons where it is the custom, Evening Prayer II of All Saints may be followed by Evening Prayer for the Dead. On Saturday evening, priests should anticipate the Mass of the 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time at normally scheduled anticipated Masses, though the Mass of All Souls’ Day may be used outside that usual schedule. At the Hours, Evening Prayer I of the 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time is used in individual recitation, though Evening Prayer for the Dead may be used in celebrations with the people.

For assistance with any issues related to the liturgical calendar, please contact the Office for Divine Worship & Sacraments.

Make plans now to celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (traditionally known as “Corpus Christi“) on June 2 in your parish.

Resources are available from the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions to assist you in preparing Mass and worship outside of Mass (including a Eucharistic procession) on this solemnity.

Consider organizing a group of parishioners to attend the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis July 17-21.

Consider using some of the resources of the TOGETHER initiative in your bulletin, social media, homily, or other means.

This is also a fitting day to commission extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.  You can find a ritual text for this on the ODWS website in both English and Spanish.  Also, please don’t forget to send the names of newly-trained and commissioned EMsHC to the ODWS so they can be authorized by Archbishop Schnurr.

If you have questions or need support to celebrate this solemnity well in your parish, contact the ODWS.

In-person and online formation and training for new and veteran extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion will take place each spring and fall.  Please share these opportunities with EMHCs in your parish and those looking to join this ministry.

Tues, Apr 30, 7-9pm, Mary, Help of Christians (Fairborn)

Thurs, May 2, 7-9pm, Online

Monday, May 6, 7-9pm, St. Ignatius (Monfort Heights)

Tues, May 7, 10am-12pm, Mercy Hospital (Fairfield)

  • This session will focus especially on ministry to the sick, hospitalized, and homebound

Thurs, May 9, 1-3pm, Online

EMHC Registration Form

Workshop registration for new and experienced Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC).

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Worship in the Church should foster the participation of all the faithful, including those with special needs of any kind. 

As pastors and parish leaders prepare liturgical celebrations, please keep the following in mind:

LOW-GLUTEN HOSTS: those with Celiac disease and others with gluten intolerance will benefit from receiving a low-gluten host, available from religious good stores. Please also remember that cross-contamination can occur when the same minister distributes both regular and low-gluten hosts.  Consider the use of a special pyx for low-gluten hosts or a designated minister.  You can find more information about these important issues on the USCCB website.

INCENSE: many people with respiratory issues struggle when incense is used in the liturgy. Even after incense is used, the irritants can remain in the air.  When there are multiple iterations of a liturgical celebration (e.g. 5 Masses for Christmas or 4 Masses for the weekend) consider using incense only at the last few, and publicize clearly that the first few will be incense-free.  Holy Cross Church in Dayton has committed to being perpetually incense-free.

HEARING ASSISTANCE: Many people need hearing assistance to participate fully in the Church’s liturgy.  In addition to the important of priests, deacons, and lay ministers speaking loudly and clearly when reading aloud the prayers and readings of the liturgy, a hearing assistance system may be of value for a parish church.  Such a system may include small devices with earphones, or the ability to receive amplified sound through a personal hearing aid or other device.

Offering ASL for Mass and parish events for the Deaf Community in your parish will provide an opportunity for growth and inclusion.  Members of the Deaf Community will need proper seating near the ASL interpreter and access to the readings, as well.

These are just a few of the many considerations for pastors and parish leaders in preparing liturgical celebrations that are welcoming for all people.

For more information on inclusive worship, please contact the Office for Persons with Disabilities.