Liturgical Office Overview

History

Since its restoration in 1847, the Latin Patriarchate has granted special importance to liturgical work. Thus, even though the Liturgical Office was not officially established until 2020, there has always been a priest or bishop responsible for the liturgy within the Patriarchate. Among the latter, we can mention the late Mgr Beltritti, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem from 1970 to 1988, or more recently Mgr Shomali, who studied liturgy in Rome from 1985 to 1989. Mgr Beltritti, who was appointed Patriarch shortly after the Second Vatican Council, was keen to have the various liturgical books translated into Arabic, with the cooperation of the priests of the diocese (among them Rev. Fr. Georges Saba), in order to respect the recommendations of the Church and the Holy See regarding the liturgical language. Mgr Beltritti also set up a liturgical commission, in charge of translating into Arabic and printing the liturgical books, such as the books of mass and songs.

Previously entirely managed by the Custody of the Holy Land, the printing of liturgical books is now the sole responsibility of the Patriarchate's Liturgy Office. However, the Office continues to work closely with the Custody on various matters.

In addition to the Custody, the Liturgy Office also works with an important liturgical commission, covering the Diocese of the Latin Patriarchate, i.e. Palestine, Israel, Jordan and Cyprus. This commission is made of musicians, Latinists, biblical scholars, parish priests, religious men and women, and architects.

Objectives

  • To organize the liturgical work of the Patriarchate: in other words, to (re)edit, write, correct and print liturgical books (missals, Mass books...).
  • To provide priests with liturgical materials, in paper or digital format, to help them prepare liturgical ceremonies, for example by allowing them to project digital documents during the Masses or to find sources of inspiration for their sermons.
  • To oversee liturgical activities (altar service, celebrations, etc.) throughout the diocese. For example, in 2021, the Office worked on the writing and publishing of two manuals, one for altar servers and the other for their tutors, in order to unify altar service in all parishes.
  • To renew each year the book of the order, that is, the liturgical calendar of the diocese. Two books are thus published each year, one in Latin and the other in Arabic. Note that in Arabic, there are two calendars; the Gregorian calendar and the Julian calendar, used in Jordan for the Easter celebrations.

Materials and documents

Through the website of the Latin Patriarchate, the Liturgical Office regularly provides the diocese with numerous documents to help priests organize their Masses and liturgical celebrations. Among others, the following materials can be found there:

  • Liturgy of the Hours
  • New Missal
  • Sacraments and sacramentals
  • Ecclesiastical Architecture
  • Choirs
  • Altar Services
  • Weekly Bulletins 
  • Song suggestions
  • Homilies
  • Hymns (in the form of scores, recorded songs and lyrics)
  • Celebration texts for special times, such as Christmas, Lent and Easter.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office adapted its work by providing many documents suitable for smartphone viewing.

As these documents are intended for an Arabic-speaking audience, they are only available in Arabic, and can only be downloaded from the Arabic version of our website.

However, the liturgical calendar is available in all languages, and can be accessed from any version of the site. Non-Arabic speakers can also access the Masses of all the Proper Saints of Jerusalem, available in PDF format.

Contact information:

Responsible of the Office: Fr. Aziz Halaweh

Email: [email protected]