Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Interview With Archbishop Patabendige, of Congregation for Divine Worship

VATICAN CITY, JULY 25, 2006 (Zenit) - A recent congress for the promotion of the liturgy in Africa and Madagascar marked a milestone: For the first time the event was held in the African continent.

The July 5-9 event was held in Ghana. To underline the importance of the event, there was a special message sent by Benedict XVI, who sees signs of hope in the liturgical awakening of the continent and the profound spirituality of the African peoples.

The Holy See agency Fides interviewed Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, about the congress and its significance.

The 58-year-old Sri Lankan prelate explained that one of principal goals of the congress was to identify together with the African bishops ever more effective ways to help the faithful live liturgical celebrations as a source of faith and courage to witness.

The congress brought together 100 members of bishops' commissions for liturgy, from all over the sub-Saharan area and Madagascar.

Q: Was the decision to make [the congress] regional, rather than to convoke it here [in Rome], a clear sign of ever greater attention for the Church's liturgy?

Archbishop Patabendige: Yes, this was the first regional meeting. In the past these meetings were held in Rome and the representatives of local Churches came here to take part. This time we decided to make it a local congress, to set it in the continent chosen as subject, like the meeting in Kumasi which has just ended.

It was an opportunity to hear the voice of Africa there on the spot, to dialogue with them and take part in their local liturgies. The latter would have been impractical for a meeting here in Rome.

Those liturgical celebrations were an opportunity for us to realize the variety of practices introduced through processes of inculturation.

In this way we were able very gently to tell the bishops what we found to be well done and what was not so well done. We did this very simply and respectfully and found great willingness on the part of the bishops to tackle the questions and deepen certain aspects of the liturgy.

Rather than create difficulties, it was an opportunity for the participants to enter into dialogue with the different people responsible. Some of the bishops were amazed when we explained certain aspects of the liturgy which they had hitherto not considered.

Q: So from your encounter, meeting locally to discuss sensitive issues, there emerged the questions of formation ...

Archbishop Patabendige: Before coming to the question of formation, and therefore moving toward a fuller understanding of the liturgy not only as a collection of rubrics but as the bearer of rich pastoral fruits for the Church, I would underline how important the congress proved for stimulating a desire for more complete knowledge of all the profoundly spiritual aspects of the liturgy: transcendence, sense of the sacred and of mystery, profound interior participation, etc.

We listened as bishops and representatives of bishops' commissions in this field spoke on a theme so central for the Church as the liturgy. We heard about the joys and successes but also concerns and difficulties. It was truly a time of fruitful dialogue between the universal Church and the continental Church, an exchange of ideas, dialogue inspired by the themes presented, proposed by experts in Rome and in Africa.

This opened a general debate also with the input from the work of study groups -- an authentic fraternal exchange of knowledge.

We exposed the theological significance of the Mass and they shared with us their concerns and expectations. They are convinced that authentic inculturation cannot fail to enrich their people in spiritual and moral values. It was an opportunity to understand their thoughts and needs. A central theme was naturally inculturation and possible deriving difficulties. And the African bishops stressed the importance for inculturation to be correctly oriented.

Q: Are you referring to the congress's final report?

Archbishop Patabendige: Yes! Yes, this is all contained in the report we are about to issue in English and other widely spoken languages. A report which, besides containing various suggestions made at the congress with regard to the liturgical life, is of special value because it is the fruit of an encounter, of reciprocal exchange between the bishops and our Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Q: Can we return to the subject of inculturation and therefore also the translation of liturgical texts?

Archbishop Patabendige: The question of the translation of liturgical books into the local languages certainly requires much attention. It suffices to recall that these translations are then sent to the Holy See for "recognitio" [approval].

There are difficulties, not only at the level of hermeneutics and philology, but also at the technical level. The matter calls for capable and well-prepared people.

Here we come to the question of liturgical formation and commitment above all in seminaries. Seminaries must help future priests acquire a liturgical formation which renders them capable and enthusiastic consisting not only of technical work on texts, etc., but above all that which helps them live in their ministry a deep sense of faith and liturgical spirituality.

Besides practical and technical knowledge, it is necessary to underline the connection between what is believed and lived and what is celebrated. One very interesting fact was that the congress participants stressed the necessity to introduce courses in Latin and Greek in seminaries in Africa.

Q: It is a question of formation. We have returned to this theme and so also to the role of our pontifical universities here in Rome ...

Archbishop Patabendige: Specialization courses in liturgical formation are offered at universities in Rome and in other places and today ever more frequently locally. The courses are quite analytic. They are university courses, not parish sessions, and study must be technically perfect.

Those who come to Rome to specialize in liturgy study the sources and history of liturgy; they receive a formation which renders them experts on the subject.

The degree or doctorate they obtain here means they can be professors and experts of liturgy in their own country.

At the same time, however, in African seminaries and institutes a professor cannot present liturgy as he studied it here in Rome. He will have to transform it with pastoral wisdom in a way to enable his students to grow in their Christian and priestly life. He must have a pastoral approach when he tackles the liturgical formation of seminarians.

I am not saying that knowledge of the history of liturgy and the origin of the different aspects of holy Mass, and so on, are no longer necessary. All this historical information is important and must be known. But the professor of liturgy must present it to his students in such a way that they acquire an authentic "sensus liturgicus," in a way which is, so to say, infectious so they become enthusiastic.

In Africa, as everywhere in the world, the liturgy must deepen and nourish people's faith. Unless there is a passing from the above mentioned historical-technical aspect of the liturgy to the experience of an encounter with the Lord, there is a danger of formalism.

Q: Therefore there is a need to rethink formation regarding liturgy, above all in the dimension of proclamation. In the pastoral dimension ...

Archbishop Patabendige: A liturgy which fails to take the pastoral aspect into consideration can harm our people's faith!

The difficulty lies in achieving formation which instills a sense of the liturgy technically complete but at the same time incisive from the pastoral point of view, and nourishes the faith of the people taking part, leading them to encounter the Lord.

The faithful note immediately when a priest celebrates in a deeply personal manner putting all his heart into what he is doing or whether he does it in a detached way, only as a formal act.

They are happy to see their priest totally absorbed in the act of celebration. In liturgical celebrations they want to experience its profound spiritual aspects and to be enriched and strengthened in the faith and encouraged to live the Christian life in a truly heroic manner.

This is why adequate formation which instills in the priest an attitude of profound faith and spiritual intensity is so important, because this alone will inspire the people.

Q: Can you give a concrete example because at times with regard to formation what is said is one thing, what is taught is another ...

Archbishop Patabendige: For example, during holy Mass we have the words for the consecration of the bread and the wine, words which come from tradition. They are the very words used by Jesus.

The history of these words down through the centuries, the use of these words in the Church, must be studied with great care.

However, when a priest, parish priest or a seminary professor celebrates Mass he must turn all his attention and that of the faithful taking part toward that act of consecration pronounced by Jesus himself and then repeated by the Church down through the centuries, transubstantiating again and again the substance of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, making present each time on the altar that one redemptive act on Calvary.

Only the priest is called and empowered to perform this sublime act. And with how much faith, humility and ardor we priests must celebrate this unique act "in persona Christi capitis"! And with how much joy!

This is why all priests must regard all this not simply through the eyes of mere formalism or routine but with a vision which is profoundly transcendental and spiritual. Because at the moment of the consecration when Jesus gives himself to us, without this approach the faith of the people will be harmed and we may fall into superficiality and formalism.

This is why we must insist on the supernatural aspects of our liturgical celebrations and, where possible, use local cultural elements to nourish the transcendent sense of the celebration. Precisely this aspect was highlighted at the congress in Kumasi.

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Africa, Liturgy, Worship, Patabendige, Madagascar

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 250 of 4,719

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Priestly Identity: Crisis and Renewal (Part 1)
Catholic Online

Al Qaeda...afraid of Benedict's message!
Hugh McNichol

Benedict XVI...calling all to hope...
Hugh McNichol

Perfect Women
Cheryl Dickow

Papal Palm Sunday Address - 'Enough With the Bloodshed'
Catholic Online

Spotlight on China
Catholic Online

Papal Homily for Palm Sunday
Catholic Online

Holy Week...Holy Time!
Hugh McNichol

Mary and Motherhood
Cheryl Dickow

The Void
Paul Sposite

Islamic violence wounds the global community!
Hugh McNichol

The Seven New Deadly Sins!
Hugh McNichol

Catholic benefits include Catholic principles!
Hugh McNichol

Remembering Father Alfred Kunz
Matt C. Abbott

David vs Goliath
Theresa Lisiecki

Happy Lent!
Paul Sposite

Diplomacy...Vatican style!
Hugh McNichol

Sub umbra Petri! (Under the Shadow of Saint Peter)
Hugh McNichol

Cuba...a neonascent Church!
Hugh McNichol

Kids in Conflict
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On the Writings of St. Augustine
Catholic Online

The Relevance of Lourdes at 150
Catholic Online

Hillary...what would Saint Norbert say!
Hugh McNichol

Lent...questions, answers and involvement!
Hugh McNichol

Mary, Mother of all Humanity, Hic et Nunc!
Hugh McNichol

Catholics...WAKE UP!
Hugh McNichol

Catholic Brotherhood with the People of the Covenant
Hugh McNichol

Have mercy on us O Lord! - Ash Wednesday
Hugh McNichol

Vote early, vote Catholic!
Hugh McNichol

Christ, our global Alpha and Omega!
Hugh McNichol

Being Catholic means...total affirmation of being Catholic!
Hugh McNichol

Seeing the World through New Eyes
Sarah Reinhard

Emulating the Angelic Doctor!
Hugh McNichol

Priests defend, commend Archbishop Raymond Burke
Matt C. Abbott

Saint Paul...a continued example of radical conversion!
Hugh McNichol

A renaissance of faith, reason and global cooperation....
Hugh McNichol

Cardinal Rigali's Homily at Life Vigil
Catholic Online

Angelus: On Christian Unity
Catholic Online

Silencing the Pope
Catholic Online

Papal Homily on Feast of Christ's Baptism
Catholic Online

Education and Gender
Catholic Online

The ignominy of Roe vs. Wade
Hugh McNichol

Papal Message for World Day of the Sick
Catholic Online

Angelus: On Christian Unity
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Planned Lecture at La Sapienza
Catholic Online

Pope's Letter to Jesuits' 35th General Congregation
Catholic Online

Fr. Cantalamessa - Behold, the Lamb of God!
Catholic Online

That We May Be One, and Never Lose Heart
Catholic Online

Sowing Hope in Sierra Leone
Catholic Online

God-incidences are the gift of kairos moments
Mary Regina Morrell

St. Augustine's Last Days
Catholic Online

Liturgy: When There's a Medical Emergency
Catholic Online

Marriage and Celibacy: Love's Link
Catholic Online

Developing a Global Catholic Awareness
Hugh McNichol

Rooms in My Father's House
Cheryl Dickow

Resolutions for New Year 2008
Chris Anthony

Keep teaching Holy Father!!!
Hugh McNichol

Dangers of anti-Catholic academic extremism....
Hugh McNichol

The liturgy war
Matt C. Abbott

Some Answers to a Few Common Questions about Vocations
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Developing a Global Catholic Awareness
Hugh McNichol

Christmas reflections
Chris Anthony

The Lasting Contribution of The Servant of God Pope John Paul II
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

No more bobble-head Jesus'!
Hugh McNichol

Pope's Address to Baptist World Alliance
Catholic Online

The Virgin Without Sin
Catholic Online

Cardinal Vingt-Trois on His New Mission
Catholic Online

Archbishop Forte on Religion & Freedom: Part 1
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Chromatius of Aquileia, Pope, Benedict
Catholic Online

Pope's Address for Consistory of Cardinals
Catholic Online

Trafficking in Lives
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict - On Hope
Catholic Online

The Hidden Costs of Gambling
Catholic Online

A Vital, Life-Giving Message
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Christianity's Contribution
Catholic Online

Youth and Fashion's Modest Twist
Catholic Online

Papal Homily at the Consistory
Catholic Online

Love, Marriage and Happy Kids
Catholic Online

The Virtue of Obedience: Our Duty, Our Crown
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Vere dignum et justum est!
Hugh McNichol

Pope's Address to Bishops of Kenya
Catholic Online

Democracy in Danger in Venezuela
Catholic Online

The Life-Sapping Human Virus
Catholic Online

'You Alone Are The Lord': A Brief Summary of Catholic Teaching
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Sacred Time...Come Lord Jesus!
Hugh McNichol

How Christ-like are we in our lives?
Chris Anthony

A Retreat for Today's Christian Woman
Cheryl Dickow

Pope Benedict - On Trust in God
Catholic Online

God and Caesar Seen From Down Under
Catholic Online

Praying the Luminous Mysteries for our Clergy
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Culture's Pressure on Our Girls
Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

Papal Message on the Common Good
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - St. Jerome on the Bible
Catholic Online

What Every Parent Should Know About 'The Golden Compass'
Catholic Online

Cardinal Poupard on 'Populorum Progressio'
Catholic Online

A Richer Liturgical Translation: Interview With Bishop Roche
Catholic Online

U.S. Bishops' Statement on War in Iraq
Catholic Online

The 'Golden Compass' is no treasure for children
Mary Regina Morrell

Bishop Skylstad's Address to U.S. Bishops' Fall Meeting
Catholic Online

Rewarding Failure
Catholic Online

On St. Martin of Tours
Catholic Online

Undermining Parents
Catholic Online

God...our theological E.F.Hutton!
Hugh McNichol

The Secular Vs. Religion?
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Jerome
Catholic Online

The Scourge of Poverty
Catholic Online

Sons and Daughters of God...EQUALLY!
Hugh McNichol

On Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
Catholic Online

Why Dads Matter
Catholic Online

Archbishop Chaput on Citizenship and Evangelization
Catholic Online

God Created Man for Life, Not Death
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for November
Catholic Online

Imposing 'Tolerance'
Catholic Online

A Turn to the Fathers: Interview With Father Robert Dodaro
Catholic Online

Evangelizing a Digital World
Catholic Online

Women Religious on Human Trafficking
Catholic Online

John Crosby on Von Hildebrand's Understanding of the Person
Catholic Online

Chicago law firm fights for civil rights, against death culture
Matt C. Abbott

On the Call to Martyrdom
Catholic Online

Media Benefits and Dangers
Catholic Online

Fr. Cantalamessa - The Pharisee and the Publican
Catholic Online

Aborting Viable Lives
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Ambrose of Milan
Catholic Online

'You Alone Are The Lord': A Brief Summary of Catholic Teaching
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Prostitution: Legal Work or Slavery?
Catholic Online

Address of Holy See on Religious Liberty
Catholic Online

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on 'Populorum Progressio'
Catholic Online

Escaping Poverty: Interview With Archbishop Silvano Tomasi
Catholic Online

Christ's Parable About the Need to Pray Always
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Eusebius of Vercelli
Catholic Online

Recovering subtle signs of our Catholic Identity!
Hugh McNichol

On Peace, Missions and Justice
Catholic Online

Congratulations to His Eminence John Cardinal Foley!
Hugh McNichol

Giving Ourselves Completely to Mary
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

The 'Courage' to go 'Beyond Gay'
Matt C. Abbott

When Bioethics Turned Secular
Catholic Online

Confession Comeback
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On Hilary of Poitiers
Catholic Online

Reemergence of Global Catholic Identity!
Hugh McNichol

Father Cantalamessa on the Leap of Faith
Catholic Online

Month of the Rosary
Catholic Online

Why Technology Needs Ethics
Catholic Online

Cardinal Lozano Barragán on Future of Health Care
Catholic Online

How Can Catholics Understand Mary as Co-Redemprix, Mediatrix of All Graces and Advocate?
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

New Saint Book is Visually Stunning and Filled with Detail
Lisa M. Hendey

Papal Homily in Velletri
Catholic Online

Wednesday'a Audience - On St. Cyril of Alexandria
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa Analyzes Relationship
Catholic Online

Holy See Address to U.N. General Assembly
Catholic Online

Homily From Red Mass in Washington
Catholic Online

Pope Remembers Cardinal Van Thuân
Catholic Online

The brave monks of Myanmar
Chris Anthony

Faith in Politics
Catholic Online

On Lazarus and World Hunger
Catholic Online

Fighting the Good Fight: Resisting Temptation
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Media frenzy buries U.N. goals

Holy See Statement on Climate Change
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On Chrysostom's Social Doctrine
Catholic Online

China's Seven Sorrows
Catholic Online

Vatican Message to Muslims for Ramadan
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa on the First World and Lazarus
Catholic Online

Angels, God's Messengers in a world of fragile peace and Broken promises!
Hugh McNichol

Memo to Mrs. Clinton: Why Not Baby Bonds When Life Begins?
Deacon Keith Fournier

Reorienting the Mass
Catholic Online

Report Card on Religious Freedom
Catholic Online

On Wealth and Poverty
Catholic Online

A Response to Hitchens' 'God Is Not Great'
Catholic Online

Vetoing children's health care?

The ideal family
Joseph Sinasac

Who does the judging?
Dennis Heaney

One mistake away

The Big House ban

In praise of the parish

Text of the USCCB statement for Respect Life Sunday 2007

The Outstanding Purity of Our Blessed Mother
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Educated flock

Religion and politics

Facing a door to the future
Dennis Heaney

A long debate

Who Are the True Progressives?
Deacon Keith Fournier

Petraeus offers a dose of reality

Insurgence
Robert Storr

Papal Address at Vespers
Catholic Online

Papal Coat of Arms Still Relevant
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Address at Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Catholic Online

On Loving Jesus as Mary Did
Catholic Online

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos on 'Summorum Pontificum'
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On the Trip to Austria
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa on the Joy of Fatherhood
Catholic Online

Commentary on Artificial Hydration and Nutrition
Catholic Online

Vatican on Nutrition to Patients in Vegetative State
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Q-and-A Session With Youth in Loreto
Catholic Online

Take a Risk, Follow Your Call: the challenge of a lifetime!
Sisters of Bon Secours

Papal lessons

Family matters

Lessons from a tragedy
Dennis Heaney

Shopping blues
Joseph Sinasac

Marriage Breakdown: Expensive and Divisive
Catholic Online

Her darkness was a warning

The Light of Mother Teresa's Darkness - Part 2
Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • A Marriage Blessing Prayer HD Video
  • 5 tips for Catholics to stay positive
  • Why are these transparent wires being put up in cities around the world?
  • Daily Reading for Sunday, May 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Friday, April 29, 2016
  • St. Catherine of Siena: Saint of the Day for Friday, April 29, 2016
  • LISTEN NOW: Benedictine nuns release new album

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 15:7-21
7 and after a long discussion, Peter stood up and addressed them. 'My ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:1-2, 2-3, 10
1 Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth!2 ... Read More

Gospel, John 15:9-11
9 I have loved you just as the Father has loved me. Remain in my ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 28th, 2016 Image

St. Peter Chanel
April 28: In St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr (Feast day ... Read More