Submissions for a new edition Lectionary
In June bishops further considered a revision of the Lectionary during their Summer General Meeting. The Lectionary is the book from which Holy Scripture is proclaimed during the celebration of Mass and the current Lectionary is based on the 1966 Jerusalem Bible.
Bishops had invited submissions on the possibility of adopting the 2019 Revised New Jerusalem Bible (RNJB) as the basis of a new edition of the Lectionary. The decision for a new edition of the Lectionary is necessary as new copies of the current 1984 print-run are not readily available and a simple reprinting would not be sufficient, given that certain changes have been introduced to the Lectionary over the last 35 years. These changes include replacing “This is the Word of the Lord” with “The Word of the Lord,” as well as new selections of readings from the National Proper for Ireland and the addition of a number of new celebrations, including the Vigil of Pentecost. Also, after more than fifty years of continual and fruitful use, the Jerusalem Bible has been updated, correcting some imprecisions in its translation, as well as giving consideration to developments in the English language over this half century.
The consultation process produced over 200 relevant submissions from individuals and another 20 from different organizations. The consultation process was managed by the Secretariat for Liturgy of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The bishops expressed their thanks to all those who took the time to respond to the consultation request which helped to inform their decision in relation to selecting an appropriate Bible translation as the basis of the new Lectionary.
Some submissions were more detailed than others, such as from the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland (AMRI), on behalf of its 7,000 members. Other respondents with a deep expertise of Biblical scholarship included the Irish Biblical Association, the Tarsus Scripture School and the Cork Scripture Group. Overall, submissions expressed a clear preference for adopting the Revised New Jerusalem Bible (RNJB) as the basis of a new Lectionary for use during Mass in Ireland.
Over 150 of the individuals who made submissions (and virtually all of the organizations) believed the RNJB struck the right balance in regard to “inclusive language” and gender-sensitivity, with a few others suggesting that it did not go far enough and some thinking that it went too far. Of the other Bible translations mentioned, ten individuals suggested using the Revised Standard Version 2nd Catholic Edition, eight suggested the English Standard Version, six suggested the New Revised Standard Version and four suggested the Inclusive Bible. The remaining submissions expressed no preference on the appropriate Bible translation.
The results of the Lectionary consultation were considered by the Bishops’ Conference during its summer meeting. Bishops decided to explore collaboration with other English speaking conferences regarding use of the RNJB. The process of preparing a new edition of the Lectionary will take several years and it is hoped that the publication will be accompanied by new catechetical materials. Its introduction will provide an opportunity for a deepening of formation of Catholics in the Word of God (especially in light of the recent inauguration of the Sunday of the Word of God and Spiritus Domini, Pope Francis’ apostolic letter renewing the ministry of Lector).
- Bishop Francis Duffy is the chairman of the Council for Liturgy of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
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