DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY     September 30, 1999     vol. 10, no. 186


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      Every day we present a short point that helps bring into focus the treasures of the Roman Catholic Church that comprise the great Deposit of Faith.

      It is no secret that over the past thirty years fewer and fewer know their Faith and it shows with the declining number of vocations, parish participation and attendance at Holy Mass. We have the new Catechism of the Catholic Church but for the common man, the one brought up on sound bites and instant gratification, it is more of a text book and that in itself prompts them to shy away from such a tome. So what's a loyal Catholic to do in evangelizing to fellow Catholics and understand their Faith? Our answer: go back to basics - to the great Deposit of Faith. We have the Baltimore Catechism which, for unknown and ridiculous reasons, was shelved after Vatican II. We have the Holy Bible but there are so many newer versions that the Douay-Rheims and Confraternity Latin Vulgate in English versions, the ones used for so long as the official Scriptural text authorized by the Church, seem lost in a maze of new interpretations that water down the Word. This is further complicated by the fact there are so few Douay-Rheims editions in circulation though it is available on the net at DOUAY-RHEIMS BIBLE. We have so many Vatican documents available at the Vatican web site and other excellent Catholic resource sites that detail Doctrine, Dogma and Canon Law. We have the traditions, and the means of grace but how do we consolidate all these sources into one where it is succinct and easy to understand? We have the perfect vehicle. It is called "My Catholic Faith", now out of print, that was compiled by Bishop Louis Laravoire Morrow and published by My Mission House. This work ties in Scriptural references, the Sacraments, Dogmas, Doctrines, Traditions, Church documents, Encyclical and Papal decrees to clearly illustrate the Faith in simple, solid and concise terms that all can understand and put into practice. We will quote from this work while adding in more recent events and persons when applicable since the book was written in the late forties during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. We also quote from the Catholic Almanac published by Our Sunday Visitor for the Roman Curial offices.

    Nothing in Holy Mother Church's teaching has changed and therefore we feel confident that these daily "points of enlightenment" will help more Catholics better understand their faith, especially those who were not blessed with early formation of the faith in the home and their parish school. Regardless of where any Catholic is in his or her journey toward salvation, he or she has to recognize that the Faith they were initiated into at the Sacrament of Baptism is the most precious gift they have been given in life.


Other Curial Agencies

        Having covered the nine Sacred Congregations, the three Tribunals, the eleven Pontifical Councils, and the temporal Offices in the Roman Curia, today we cover the other Curia Agencies: Prefecture of the Papal Household and the Office for Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. Tomorrow, we will feature the Vatican Press Office and the Holy See's high-profile director Joaquin Navaro-Valls and the Vatican Information Service, which includes L'Osservatore Romano, plus the Central Statistics Office.

  • Prefecture of the Papal Household

       This office, with Bishop James M. Harvey as Prefect, is responsible for the Papal Chapel, organizing papal audiences including private and public ones in Paul VI Hall and St. Peter's Square. In addition this office is in charge of overseeing and preparing non-liturgical elements of papal ceremonies as well as coordinating itineraries and other arrangements for papal visits and trips the Holy Father will make away from the Vatican. It is this office which determines protocol regarding papal audiences and other formalities involving the Holy See with outside interests.

        The background on this office stems from the time of Pope Sixtus V in 1588 when he established the Sacred Congregation for Ceremonies which continued until August 15, 1967 when Pope Paul VI supplanted the congregation with this prefecture, updating and reorganizing it on March 28, 1968.

  • Office for Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff

       This office is highly visible wherever the Holy Father celebrates Mass or a liturgical event for the Master of Ceremonies is the well-known face of Monsignor Piero Marini who few know but would recognize instantly. He prepares all liturgical preparations for the Holy Father or his representative during official papal liturgical functions. During the function, whether it be Mass or Benediction or something else, you'll see him standing near the Pope directing the other ministers near the altar, adhering to strict liturgical procedures.

        This office dates back to the early Church and evolved over the years until it was formally established by Pope Paul IV in 1563 as a result of the Council of Trent. In 1917 it was somewhat revamped by Pope Benedict XV and further restructured by Paul VI in 1967 as the Prefecture of Pontifical Ceremonies. In Pope John Paul II's Motu Proprio Pastor Bonus on June 28, 1988 it was reorganized and Msgr. Marini appointed with its present title.

      Tomorrow: the Roman Curia: Other Curia Agencies part two

September 30, 1999       volume 10, no. 186


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