Pope Francis meets with members of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments  (VATICAN MEDIA Divisione Foto)

By Francesca Merlo

Feb 9 2024

Pope Francis meets with members of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and reminds them that the Church cannot be reformed without a reform of the liturgy, which must be for all the people of God.

Pope Francis on Wednesday met with members of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as they gathered for their plenary assembly.

The Holy Father opened his discourse by noting that, even sixty years after the promulgation of the Sacrosanctum Concilium, it is still highly relevant. It contains, the Pope said, “a precise will to reform the Church in its fundamental dimensions: to make the Christian life of the faithful grow more and more every day; to adapt the institutions subject to change better to the needs of our time; to foster that which can contribute to the union of all believers in Christ; to reinvigorate that which serves to call all to the bosom of the Church”.

This is therefore a profound work of spiritual, pastoral, ecumenical and missionary renewal, said the Pope, adding that the Council Fathers were aware that “without a liturgical reform there is no reform of the Church”.

Pope Francis then went on to explain that Church reform depends on the Church’s love for Christ, like “spousal fidelity”, to the point of being fully conformed to him.

The Church as woman

Speaking of the role of women in the Church, Pope Francis stressed the importance of the Church itself being a woman. “That is why I said that every instance of Church reform is always a matter of spousal fidelity, because she [the Church] is a woman”, he said.

The purpose of the liturgical reform – within the broader framework of the renewal of the Church – is precisely to “bring about that formation of the faithful and promote that pastoral action which has the sacred Liturgy as its summit and its source”, the Pope said.

Pope Francis went on to note that although liturgical formation is necessary, “it does not exclude that there is a priority in the formation of those who, by virtue of the sacrament of Orders, are called to be mystagogues”, that is, the Pope explains, a teacher of mysticism.

A joint effort

In the spirit of synodal collaboration between the dicasteries, Pope Francis expressed his desire that the question of liturgical formation of ordained ministers be handled together with the Dicastery for Culture and Education, with the Dicastery for the Clergy and with the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, “so that each one may offer its own specific contribution”.

“It is necessary to ensure that the formation of ordained ministers also increasingly has a liturgical-sapiential imprint,” the Pope said, “both in the curriculum of theological studies and in the life experience of seminaries”.

Think of all the people of God

Bringing his discourse to a close, Pope Francis stressed that, as we prepare new formation paths for ministers, “we must at the same time think of those intended for the people of God”. The first concrete opportunities for liturgical formation, the Holy Father noted, are Sundays and the feasts days celebrated throughout the liturgical year.

“Other moments when people participate more in the celebrations and their preparation”, noted the Pope, referring to patronal feasts and the Sacraments of Christian initiation, can also be moments for liturgical formation of all the baptised. He added that “prepared with pastoral care, they become favourable occasions for people to rediscover and deepen the meaning of celebrating the mystery of salvation today”.

Finally, Pope Francis reminded those present that their task “is great and beautiful”. For this, he concludes, “I thank you so much” and “I bless you from my heart”. – Vatican News