RCHBISHOP SAMPLE of Portland, Oregon gave a presentation this past week to the philosophy club at The Catholic University of America. His topic was very appropriate for the month devoted to All Souls: “It Comes to Us All: A Reflection on Our Own Death.” I attended the presentation, during which the archbishop spoke thoughtfully and beautifully about his experiences surrounding death and dying, as both a priest and a son.
Meanwhile, back in Portland, the archdiocesan Office of Divine Worship recently published an excellent new resource, entitled the Archdiocesan Liturgical Handbook. The book is available for free PDF download here, and it is also available for purchase in paper and kindle formats through Amazon.
At 350 pages, this is a substantial publication, and it addresses many topics, ranging from the pontifical celebration of Mass at the cathedral to the requisite pastoral care for couples seeking marriage. In addition to a very interesting section on funerals, the book also includes careful treatment of sacramentals, the repurposing of sacred objects, the catechumenate, Eastern & Orthodox Christians, and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. This is by far the most comprehensive diocesan handbook on the liturgy I have ever seen.
Primarily the work of Msgr. Gerard O’Connor, director of Portland’s Office of Divine Worship, the publication also acknowledges the collaboration of the (arch)dioceses of Washington, Pittsburgh, and Denver. The text, itself, relies heavily upon official liturgical documents relevant to the many topics for which guidance and directives are offered.
N HIS introduction to the volume, Archbishop Sample describes the handbook as “a living document which guides and steers the liturgical praxis within our Archdiocese.” Most dioceses have some form of local liturgical regulations, but I doubt if very many have promulgated a document this complete.
By virtue of its quality and thoroughness, Portland’s Archdiocesan Liturgical Handbook serves as a model of the seriousness with which every local Church should approach the duty of divine worship.