The Holy Father's sentiments were conveyed in a message by Cardinal Parolin to those assembled for the 71st National Liturgical week.
As the 71st National Liturgical Week opens today in Cremona, the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, on behalf of Pope Francis, has sent a message to the President of the Centre for Liturgical Action, Bishop Claudio Maniago.
The gathering was postponed one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting intends to study and address liturgical celebrations “which have been severely tested by the onset and spread of Covid 19 and the restrictions which have been necessary to contain it.”
Pope Francis expressed hope that the meeting “may identify and suggest some lines of liturgical pastoral care to be offered to parishes” so that Sunday and the Eucharistic assembly may “recover their centrality in the faith and spirituality of believers.”
The pandemic has brought to the fore the distressing state of Sunday observance throughout the Church. “The liturgy ‘suspended’ during the long period of confinement, and the difficulties of the subsequent resumption,” said the pope, “confirmed what had already been found in the Sunday assemblies of the Italian peninsula, an alarming indication of the advanced stage of the change of epoch.”
“We observe how in people’s real lives the very perception of time and, consequently, of Sunday itself, of space, has changed,” continued the message, “with repercussions on the way of being and feeling as a community, people, family and of the relationship with the territory.”
The Sunday assembly, says the pope, is “to be the true summit of all its activities and source of missionary dynamism to bring the Gospel of mercy to the geographical and existential peripheries.”
“His Holiness greets with joy the celebration of the 71st National Liturgical Week, which is being held in an area that has suffered greatly as a result of the pandemic,” the message concludes.