SINGAPORE - Delegates to the 9th Asian Liturgy Forum say that the liturgical formation of clergy, seminarians, religious, and laity should consist not only of rubrical and pastoral considerations but, more importantly, of the spiritual wealth of the liturgy in order that they may live what they celebrate.
The Forum recommended special attention for the theology of the sacraments and encouraged the RCIA and its alignment with the liturgical seasons.
This year's five-day meeting from Oct 24-28 gathered 50 delegates from seven countries at the Domus Mariae of the Archdiocese of San Fernando in the Philippines. The Singapore Archdiocese delegation was led by Father J.J. Fenelon and included Liturgy Commission members Eileen Ng and Eileen Seow.
The Forum meets annually to discuss regional liturgical issues and present their recommendations to the Asian Bishops' Conference. The chairman of the Forum is Bishop Anthony Lee, bishop of Miri, Malaysia.
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At the end of their deliberations, the Forum members recommended that Lauds and Vespers (morning and evening prayers respectively) be promoted in parishes and advised greater attention to the celebration of the liturgical year so that the faithful may understand and live more fully Christ's mystery in the course of the year through Sundays, feasts, and liturgical seasons.
They acknowledged the role of popular devotions in the spiritual life of the faithful, but reminded that these should harmonise with the spirit of the liturgical season and lead the faithful to a Christ-centered celebration of the liturgy. Proper care, they emphasised, should also be given to the decorum required of the presider and ministers and to the liturgical music and environment to create the disposition conducive to prayer.
The delegates cautioned against the insertion of cultural elements into the liturgy that reduces it to a social or political gathering.
The Forum concluded that liturgical celebrations should inspire the assembly to give witness to Christ in their life and to be committed to the pursuit of justice and human development.
(Liturgy means the public, official worship of the church, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist.)