NOWE ŚWIĘTO — JEZUSA CHRYSTUSA, NAJWYŻSZEGO I WIECZNEGO KAPŁANA
A New feast — the Feast of Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest
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The Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, cardinal Antonio Cańizares Llovera, in a letter issued on July 3rd , 2012, informed that under the decision of Pope Benedict XVI a permission was granted, to the Conferences of Bishops and as long as they earlier ask for it, to introduce within their own Calendars a feast of Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest, to be celebrated on the first Thursday after Pentecost. The texts for the Mass and the Mass readings as well as the Liturgy of the Hours and Martyrology were approved by the decree and published in Latin on July 23rd , 2012. In the pre-Conciliar Roman Missal there is a votive Mass formulary for Thursday in honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest. Pius XI in his Encyclical Ad Catholici Sacerdotii of December 20th, 1935 gave an impulse to create a formulary connected to the Priest-hood of Christ. The Mass formulary published on December 24th, 1935 could be used for communitarian Masses. It was valid up to the publication Missale Romanum in 1970, when it was partly revised. The thought of introducing the feast of Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest first arose in the Spanish contemplative convent of the Oblate Sisters of Christ the Priest. Co-founder of the congregation, bishop José María García Lahiguera of Madrid petitioned Pope Pius XII to institute the patronal feast of Christ the Priest. Having been granted permission, the feast has been celebrated since 1952. Then, the first Thursday after Pentecost was found the most appropriate day for the new feast, which was aimed at venerating Christ’s priesthood and at praying for the clergy and the seminarians. Three prayers dated from the year 1935 (the collect prayer, prayer over the offerings and postcommunion prayer) were incorporated, with some minor alternations, within the feast formulary in 2012. The preface has been exchanged for the one derived from the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass. The texts of the Mass formulary for the new feast encompass the theme of Christ’s priesthood, the ordination priesthood, and the common priesthood of all the faithful. The ordination priesthood received the most attention within the prayers. The liturgy of the word for the new feast has been divided into three years and its themes are multifaceted. The first readings, derived from the Old Testament, can be substituted each year for the readings from the Letter to the Hebrews. Three gospels are used, except for Luke and all the readings can be met throughout the liturgical year in other ceremonies. The A-year readings explore the subject of the high priesthood of Christ and his obedience to the will of the Father. Year B presents the issue of priesthood in the context of the New Covenant. Year C emphasizes the theme of holiness. Most of the scriptural texts come from the pericopes from the Letter to Hebrews, which is justified by the fact that this epistle has the richest theology of priesthood within the New Covenant. The discussion of the texts from the Liturgy of the Hours and Martyrology was omitted due to the fact that their themes coincide with those revealed in the Liturgy of the Mass.
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