Recently, the Office for Divine Worship, under the leadership of Monsignor Gerard O’Connor, published a 350+ page document to guide parishes and their staff with the Liturgy. It is called the Archdiocesan Liturgical Handbook or ALH for short. It’s intent is “to serve as a guide to many of the aspects of the life of our diocese and our parishes that concern the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy and the understanding of the faith it expresses” (Archbishop Sample, ELH). It is intended to be a “living” document that will be updated over time as new situations arise. It includes “positions, policies, best practices, and particular norms for the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon” (ibid.).
I have been reading this document and highlighting things which may apply to us. Some need more reflection while others don’t even apply to us. For those that do apply to us, I will be sharing those items in the weeks and months ahead. Our Liturgy Committee will also be reflecting on these things to evaluate our own liturgies and determine if any changes are needed.
The chapters of the ALH covers many things about the Mass and beyond. Here are some of the topics: The Archbishop, the priest, deacons, movement and posture, lay ministers, bread and wine, sacred objects and furnishings, music and singing, the parts of the Mass, Masses with the Archbishop, Sunday parish celebrations, reception of Holy Communion, reservation of the Blessed Sacrament including perpetual adoration, aspects related to the RCIA, Baptism of infants, the seven Sacraments, Funerals, Extraordinary Form of Mass, Liturgical year, popular pieties, eastern Christians, and special circumstances.
I have not heard or seen such a document prepared for a diocese. So, this is rather innovative. I look forward to learning more and seeing where we find ourselves within the norms and guidelines of the ALH. In future bulletin letters, I will publish some of the texts that refer to things that most interest our community. And as always, I am open to your thoughts and constructive comments.
Fr. William Holtzinger