Directory on Popular Piety

Ordinary Time

Ordinary Time

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

157. The solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity is celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost. With the growth of devotion to the mystery of God in His Unity and Trinity, John XXII extended the feast of the Holy Trinity to the entire Latin Church in 1334. During the middle ages, especially during the carolingian period, devotion to the Blessed Trinity was a highly important feature of private devotion and inspired several liturgical expressions. These events were influential in the development of certain pious exercises.

In the present context, it would not appear appropriate to mention specific pious exercises connected with popular devotion to the Blessed Trinity, "the central mystery of the faith and of the Christian life".165 It sufficies to recall that every genuine form of popular piety must necessarily refer to God, "the all-powerful Father, His only begotten Son and the Holy Spirit".166 Such is the mystery of God, as revealed in Christ and through him. Such have been his manifestations in salvation history. The history of salvation "is the history of the revelation of the one true God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who reconciles and unites to Himself those who have been freed from sin".167

Numerous pious exercises have a Trinitarian character or dimension. Most of them begin with the sign of the cross "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit", the same formula with which the disciples of Jesus are baptized (cf. Mt 28, 19), thereby beginning a life of intimacy with the God, as sons of the Father, brothers of Jesus, and temples of the Holy Spirit. Other pious exercises use formulas similar to those found in the Liturgy of the Hours and begin by giving "Glory to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit". Some pious exercises end with a blessing given in the name of the three divine Persons. Many of the prayers used in these pious exercises follow the typical liturgical form and are addressed to the "Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit", and conserve doxological formulas taken from the Liturgy.

158. Worship, as has been said in the first part of this Directory, is the dialogue of God with man through Christ in the Holy Spirit(168). A Trinitarian orientation is therefore an essential element in popular piety. It should be clear to the faithful that all pious exercises in honour of the Blessed Virgin May, and of the Angels and Saints have the Father as their final end, from Whom all thing come and to Whom all things return; the incarnate, dead and resurrected Son is the only mediator (1Tim 2,5) apart from whom access to the Father is impossible (cf. John 14,6); the Holy Spirit is the only source of grace and sanctification. It is important to avoid any concept of "divinity" which is abstract from the three Divine Persons.

159. Together with the little doxology (Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit....) and the great doxology (Glory be to God in the highest), pious exercises addressed directly to the Most Blessed Trinity often include formulas such as the biblical Trisagion (Holy, Holy, Holy) and also its liturgical form (Holy God, Holy Strong One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us), especially in the Eastern Churches, in some Western countries as well as among numerous religious orders and congregations.

The liturgical Trisagion is inspired by liturgical hymns and its biblical counterpart. Here mention could be made of the Sanctus used in the celebration of the Mass, the Te Deum, the improperia of Good Friday's veneration of the Cross, all of which are derived from Isaiah 6, 3 and Apocalypses 4, 8. The Trisagion is a pious exercise in which the faithful, united with the Angels, continually glorify God, the Holy, Powerful and Immortal One, while using expressions of praise drawn from Scripture and the Liturgy.

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

160. The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is observe on the Thursday following on the solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity. This feast is both a doctrinal and cultic response to heretical teaching on the mystery of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and the apogee of an ardent devotional movement concentrated on the Sacrament of the Altar. It was extended to the entire Latin Church by Urban IV in 1264.

Popular piety encouraged the process that led to the institution of the feast of Corpus Christi, which reciprocally inspired the development of new forms of Eucharistic piety among the people of God.

For centuries, the celebration of Corpus Christi remained the principal point of popular piety's concentration on the Eucharist. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, faith, in reaction to various forms of protestantism, and culture (art, folklore and literature) coalesced in developing lively and significant expressions Eucharistic devotion in popular piety.

161. Eucharistic devotion, which is so deeply rooted in the Christian faithful, must integrate two basic principles:

  • the supreme reference point for Eucharistic devotion is the Lord's Passover; the Pasch as understood by the Fathers, is the feast of Easter, while the Eucharist is before all else the celebration of Paschal Mystery or of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ;
  • all forms of Eucharisit devotion must have an intrinsic reference to the Eucharistic Sacrifice, or dispose the faithful for its celebration, or prolong the worship which is essential to that Sacrifice.

Hence, the Rituale Romanum states "The faithful, when worshipping Christ present in the Sacrament of the Altar, should recall that this presence comes from the Sacrifice of the Eucharist, and tends towards sacramental and spiritual communion".169

162. The Corpus Christi procession represents the typical form of an Eucharistic procession. It is a prolongation of the celebration of the Eucharist: immediately after Mass, the Sacred Host, consecrated during the Mass, is borne out of the Church for the Christian faithful "to make public profession of faith and worship of the Most Blessed Sacrament".170

The faithful understand and appreciate the values inherent in the procession: they are aware of being "the People of God", journeying with the Lord, and proclaiming faith in him who has become truly "God-amongst-us".

It is necessary however to ensure that the norms governing processions be observed,171 especially those ensuring respect for the dignity and reverence of the Blessed Sacrament.172 It is also necessary to ensure that the typical elements of popular piety accompanying the precession, such as the decoration of the streets and windows with flowers and the hymns and prayers used during the procession, truly "lead all to manifest their faith in Christ, and to give praise to the Lord",173 and exclude any forms of competition.

163. The Eucharistic procession is normally concluded by a blessing with the Blessed Sacrament. In the specific case of the Corpus Christi procession, the solemn blessing with the Blessed Sacrament concludes the entire celebration: the usual blessing by the priest is replaced by the blessing with the Blessed Sacrament.

It is important that the faithful understand that this blessing is not an independent form of Eucharistic piety, but the end of a prolonged act of worship. Hence, liturgical norms prohibit "exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for the purpose of giving the blessing".174

Eucharistic Adoration

164. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a form of Eucharistic cult which is particularly widespread in the Church and earnestly recommended to her Pastors and faithful. Its initial form derives from Holy Thursday and the altar of repose, following the celebration of the Coena Domini Mass. This adoration is a most apt way of expressing the connection between the celebration of the memorial of the Lord's Sacrifice and his continued presence in the Sacrament of the Altar. The reservation of the Sacred Species, so as to be able to administer Viaticum to the sick at any time, encouraged the practice among the faithful of recollection before the tabernacle and to worship Christ present in the Sacrament.175

Indeed, this worship of adoration has a sound and firm foundation," [109] especially since faith in the Lord's real presence has as its natural consequence the outward and public manifestation of that belief. Therefore, the devotion prompting the faithful to visit the blessed sacrament draws them into an ever deeper share in the paschal mystery and leads them to respond gratefully to the gift of him who through his humanity constantly pours divine life into the members of his Body. [110] Abiding with Christ the Lord, they enjoy his intimate friendship and pour out their hearts before him for themselves and for those dear to them and they pray for the peace and salvation of the world. Offering their entire lives with Christ to the Father in the Holy Spirit, they derive from this sublime colloquy an increase of faith, hope, and charity. Thus they foster those right dispositions that enable them with due devotion to celebrate the memorial of the Lord and receive frequently the bread given us by the Father.176

165. In adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which can take different forms, several elements deriving from the Liturgy and from popular piety come together and it is not always easy to determine their limits:177

  • a simple visit to the Blessed Sacrament: a brief encounter with Christ inspired by faith in the real presence and characterized by silent prayer;
  • adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed for a period of time in a monstrance or pyx in accordance with liturgical norm;178
  • perpetual adoration or the Quarantore, involving an entire religious community, or Eucharistic association, or parish, which is usually an occasion for various expressions of Eucharistic piety.179

The faithful should be encouraged to read the Scriptures during these periods of adoration, since they afford an unrivalled source of prayer. Suitable hymns and canticles based on those of the Liturgy of the Hours and the liturgical seasons could also be encouraged, as well as periods of silent prayer and reflection. Gradually, the faithful should be encouraged not to do other devotional exercises during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.180 Given the close relationship between Christ and Our Lady, the rosary can always be of assistance in giving prayer a Christological orientation, since it contains meditation of the Incarnation and the Redemption.181

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

166. The Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Friday following the second Sunday after Pentecost. In addition to the liturgical celebration, many devotional exercises are connected with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Of all devotions, devotion to the Sacred Heart was, and remains, one of the most widespread and popular in the Church.

Understood in the light of the Scriptures, the term "Sacred Heart of Jesus" denotes the entire mystery of Christ, the totality of his being, and his person considered in its most intimate essential: Son of God, uncreated wisdom; infinite charity, principal of the salvation and sanctification of mankind. The "Sacred Heart" is Christ, the Word Incarnate, Saviour, intrinsically containing, in the Spirit, an infinite divine-human love for the Father and for his brothers.

167. The Roman Pontiffs have frequently averted to the scriptural basis of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.182

Jesus, who is one with the Father (cf. John 10, 30), invites his disciples to live in close communion with him, to model their lives on him and on his teaching. He, in turn, reveals himself as "meek and humble of heart" (Mt 11, 29). It can be said that, in a certain sense, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a cultic form of the prophetic and evangelic gaze of all Christians on him who was pierced (cf. John 19, 37; Zac 12, 10), the gaze of all Christians on the side of Christ, transfixed by a lance, and from which flowed blood and water (cf. John 19, 34), symbols of the "wondrous sacrament of the Church".183

The Gospel of St. John recounts the showing of the Lord's hands and his side to the disciples (cf. John 20,20), and of his invitation to Thomas to put his hand into his side (cf. John 20, 27). This event has also had a notable influence on the origin and development of the Church's devotion to the Sacred Heart.

168. These and other texts present Christ as the paschal Lamb, victorious and slain (cf. Apoc 5,6). They were objects of much reflection by the Fathers who unveiled their doctrinal richness. They invited the faithful to penetrate the mysteries of Christ by contemplating the wound opened in his side. Augustine writes: "Access is possible: Christ is the door. It was opened for you when his side was opened by the lance. Remember what flowed out from his side: thus, choose where you want to enter Christ. From the side of Christ as he hung dying upon the Cross there flowed out blood and water, when it was pierced by a lance. Your purification is in that water, your redemption is in that blood".184

169. Devotion to the Sacred Heart was particularly strong during the middle ages. Many renowned for the learning and holiness developed and encouraged the devotion, among them St. Bernard (+1153), St. Bonaventure (+ 1274), the mystic St. Lutgarda (+1246), St Mathilda of Marburg (+ 1282), the sainted sisters Mathilda (+ 1299) and Gertrude (+ 1302) of the monastery of Helfta, and Ludolf of Saxony (+1380). These perceived in the Sacred Heart a "refuge" in which to recover, the seat of mercy, the encounter with him who is the source of the Lord's infinite love, the fount from which flows the Holy Spirit, the promised land, and true paradise.

170. In the modern period devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus underwent new developments. At a time when Jansenism proclaimed the rigours of divine justice, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus served as a useful antidote and aroused in the faithful a love for Our Lord and a trust in his infinite mercy symbolized by his Heart. St. Francis de Sales (+ 1622) adopted humility, gentleness (cf. Mt 11, 29) and tender loving mercy, all aspects of the Sacred Heart, as a model for his life and apostolate. The Lord frequently manifested the abundant mercy of his Heart to St. Margaret Mary (+ 1690); St. John Eudes (+ 1680) promoted the liturgical cult of the Sacred Heart, while St. Claude de la Colombière (+ 1682) and St. John Bosco (+ 1888) and other saints were avid promoters of devotion to the Sacred Heart.

171. Devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus are numerous. Some have been explicitly approved and frequently recommended by the Apostolic See. Among these, mention should be made of the following:

  • personal consecration, described by Pius XI as "undoubtedly the principal devotional practice used in relation to the Sacred Heart";185
  • family consecration to the Sacred Heart, in which the family, by virtue of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony already participating in the mystery of the unity and love of Christ for the Church, is dedicated to Christ so that he might reign in the hearts of all its members;186
  • the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, approved for the whole Church in 1891, which is evidently biblical in character and to which many indulgences have been attached;
  • the act of reparation, a prayer with which the faithful, mindful of the infinite goodness of Christ, implore mercy for the offences committed in so many ways against his Sacred Heart;187
  • the pious practice of the first Fridays of the month which derives from the "great promises" made by Jesus to St. Margaret Mary. At a time when sacramental communion was very rare among the faithful, the first Friday devotion contributed significantly to a renewed use of the Sacraments of Penance and of the Holy Eucharist. In our own times, the devotion to the first Fridays, even if practised correctly, may not always lead to the desired spiritual fruits. Hence, the faithful require constant instruction so that any reduction of the practice to mere credulity, is avoided and an active faith encouraged so that the faithful may undertake their commitment to the Gospel correctly in their lives. They should also be reminded of the absolute preeminence of Sunday, the "primordial feast",188 which should be marked by the full participation of the faithful at the celebration of the Holy Mass.

172. Devotion to the Sacred Heart is a wonderful historical expression of the Church's piety for Christ, her Spouse and Lord: it calls for a fundamental attitude of conversion and reparation, of love and gratitude, apostolic commitment and dedication to Christ and his saving work. For these reasons, the devotion is recommended and its renewal encouraged by the Holy See and by the Bishops. Such renewal touches on the devotion's linguistic and iconographic expressions; on consciousness of its biblical origins and its connection with the great mysteries of the faith; on affirming the primacy of the love of God and neighbour as the essential content of the devotion itself.

173. Popular piety tends to associate a devotion with its iconographic expression. This is a normal and positive phenomenon. Inconveniences can sometimes arise: iconographic expressions that no longer respond to the artistic taste of the people can sometimes lead to a diminished appreciation of the devotion's object, independently of its theological basis and its historico-salvific content.

This can sometimes arise with devotion to the Sacred Heart: perhaps certain over sentimental images which are incapable of giving expression to the devotion's robust theological content or which do not encourage the faithful to approach the mystery of the Sacred Heart of our Saviour.

Recent time have seen the development of images representing the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the moment of crucifixion which is the highest expression of the love of Christ. The Sacred Heart is Christ crucified, his side pierced by the lance, with blood and water flowing from it (cf, John 19, 34).

The Immaculate Heart of Mary

174. The Church celebrates the liturgical memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary the day after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The contiguity of both celebrations is in itself a liturgical sign of their close connection: the mysterium of the Heart of Jesus is projected onto and reverberates in the Heart of His Mother, who is also one of his followers and a disciple. As the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart celebrates the salvific mysteries of Christ in a synthetic manner by reducing them to their fount -the Heart of Jesus, so too the memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a celebration of the complex visceral relationship of Mary with her Son's work of salvation: from the Incarnation, to his death and resurrection, to the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Following the apparitions at Fatima in 1917, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary became very widespread. On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the apparitions (1942) Pius XII consecrated the Church and the human race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and extended the memorial to the entire Church.

In popular piety devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary resemble those of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, while bearing in mind the distance between Jesus and his Mother: consecration of individuals and families, of religious communities and nations;189 reparation for sins through prayer, mortification and alms deeds; the practice of the First Five Saturdays.

With regard to receiving Holy Communion of the Five First Saturdays, the same as has been said in relation to the Nine First Fridays can be repeated:190 overestimation of temporal factors should be overcome in favour of re-contextualization the reception of Holy Communion within the framework of the Eucharist. This pious practice should be seen as an opportunity to live intensely the paschal Mystery celebrated in the Holy Eucharist, as inspired by the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Most Precious Blood of Christ

175. Biblical revelation, both in its figurative stage in the Old Testament and in its perfect and fulfilled stage in the New Testament, connects blood very closely with life, and authentically with death, exodus and the Pasch, with the priesthood and sacrificial cult, with redemption and the covenant.

The Old Testament figures associated with blood and its redemptive significance are fulfilled perfectly in Christ, especially in his Passion, Death and Resurrection. Thus the mystery of the Blood of Christ is to be found at the very centre of the faith and of our salvation.

The mystery of the Saving Blood of Christ recalls and refers to:

  • the Incarnation of the Word (cf. John 1, 14) and Christ's becoming a member of the people of the Old Testament through circumcision (Lk 2,21);
  • the Biblical image of the Lamb abounds with implication: "The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1,29), in which Isaiah's Suffering Servant image (Is 53) is also to be found, carries upon himself the sins of mankind (cf Is 53, 4-5); the "Paschal Lamb", symbol of Israel's redemption (cf. At 8, 31-35; 1 Cor 5, 7; 1 Pet 1, 18-20);
  • the "chalice of the passion" of which Jesus spoke in allusion to his imminent redemptive death, when he asked the sons of Zebede: "Can you drink this chalice that I must drink?" (Mt 20, 22; cf Mk 10, 38) and the chalice of the agony in the garden of olives (cf Lk 22, 42-43) which was accompanied by th Lord's sweating blood (cf. Lk 22, 44);
  • the Eucharistic chalice, under the form of wine, contains the Blood of the New Covenant poured out for the remission of sins; is a memorial of the Lord's Pasch (1 Cor 11, 25); and the drink of salvation according to the Lord's own words: "he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood shall have life eternal and I shall raise him up on the last day" (John 6, 54);
  • the event of the Lord's death, since by pouring out his Blood on the Cross, Christ reconciled heaven and earth (cf Col 1, 20);
  • the lance which transfixed the immolated Lamb, from whose open side flowed blood and water (cf John 19, 34), a sign of the redemption that had been achieved, and of the sacramental life of the Church -blood and water, Baptism and Eucharist-, symbol of the Church born from the side of Christ dying on the Cross.191

176. The Christological titles associated with the Redeemer are particularly associated with the mystery of the Blood of Christ: Christ has redeemed us from an ancient slavery by his most precious and innocent Blood (cf. 1 Pt 1, 19) and "purifies us of sin" (1 John 1, 17); High Priest "of all blessings to come" since Christ "has entered the sanctuary once and for all, taking with him not the blood of goats and bull calves, but his own blood, having won an eternal redemption for us"; faithful Witness vindicating the blood of the martyrs (cf Ap 6, 10) "who were slain on account of the word of God, for witnessing to it" (cf. Aps 6, 9); of King, who as God, "reigns from the wood of the Cross", which is adorned with the purple of his own Blood; Spouse and Lamb of God in whose Blood the members of the Church -the Bride- have washed their garments (cf. Ap 7, 14; Eph 5, 25-27).

177. The extraordinary importance of the saving Blood of Christ has ensured a central place for its memorial in the celebration of this cultic mystery: At the centre of the Eucharistic assembly, in which the Church raises up to God in thanksgiving "the cup of blessing" (1 Cor 10, 16; cf 115-116, 13) and offers it to the faithful as a "real communion with the Blood of Christ" (1 Cor 10, 16); and throughout the Liturgical Year. The Church celebrates the saving Blood of Christ not only on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, but also on many other occasions, such that the cultic remembrance of the Blood of our redemption (cf. 1 Pt 1, 18) pervades the entire Liturgical Year. Hence, at Vespers during Christmastide, the Church, addressing Christ, sings: "Nos quoque, qui sancto tuo redempti sumus sanguine, ob diem natalis tui hymnum novum concinimus".192 In the Paschal Triduum, the redemptive significance and efficacy of the Blood of Christ is continuously recalled in adoration. During the adoration of the Cross on Good Friday the Church sings the hymn: "Mite corpus perforatur, sanguis unde profluit; terra, pontus, astra, mundus quo lavantur flumine",193 and again on Easter Sunday, "Cuius corpus sanctissimum in ara crucis torridum, sed et cruorem roesum gustando, Deo vivimus".194

In Some places and in certain particular calendars, the feast of the Most Precious Blood of Christ is still observed on 1 July. This feast recalls the various titles of the Redeemer.

178. The veneration of the Blood of Christ has passed from the Liturgy into popular piety where it has been widely diffused in numerous forms of devotional practices. Among these mention can be made of the following:

  • the Chaplet of the Most Precious Blood, in which the seven "effusions of the Blood of Christ", implicitly or explicitly mentioned in the Gospels, are recalled in a series of biblical meditations and devotional prayers: the Blood of the Circumcision, the Blood of the Garden of Gethsemane, the Blood of the Flagellation, the Blood of the Crowning of Thorns, the Blood of the Ascent to Calvary, the Blood flowing from Christ's side pierced by the lance;
  • the Litany of the Blood of Christ, which clearly traces the line of salvation history through a series of biblical references and passages. In its present form it was approved by the Blessed John XXIII on 24 February 1960;195
  • Adoration of the Most Precious Blood of Christ takes a great variety of forms, all of which have a common end: adoration and praise of the Precious Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, thanksgiving for the gift of Redemption, intercession for mercy and pardon; and offering of the Precious Blood of Christ for the good of the Church;
  • the Via Sanguinis: a recently instituted pious devotion, practised in many Christian communities, whose anthropological and cultural roots are African. In this devotion, the faithful move from place to place, as in the Via Crucis, reliving the various moments in which Christ shed his blood for our salvation.

179. Veneration of the Precious Blood of Christ, shed for our salvation, and a realization of its immense significance have produced many iconographical representations which have been approved by the Church. Among these two types can be identified: those representing the Eucharistic cup, containing the Blood of the New Covenant, and those representing the crucified Christ, from whose hands, feet and side flows the Blood of our Salvation. Sometimes, the Blood flows down copiously over the earth, representing a torrent of grace cleansing it of sin; such representations sometimes feature five Angels, each holding a chalice to collect the Blood flowing from the five wounds of Christ; this task is sometimes given to a female figure representing the Church, the spouse of the Lamb.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

180. The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary clearly stands out in Ordinary Time because of its theological importance. This is an ancient memorial of the Mother of God, which signifies and synthesises many of the truths of the faith. Our Lady assumed into Heaven:

  • is "the highest fruit of the redemption",196 and a supreme testimony to the breath and efficacy of Christ's salvific work (soteriological significance);
  • is a pledge of the future participation of the members of the mystical Body of Christ in the paschal glory of the Risen Christ (Christological aspect);
  • is for all mankind "the consoling assurance of the coming of our final hope: that full glorification which is Christ's will also be that of his brethren, since He is of the "same flesh and blood" (Heb 2, 14; cf. Gal 4,49)197 (anthropological aspect);
  • is the eschatological icon in which the Church joyfully contemplates "that which she herself desires and hopes wholly to be"198 (ecclesiological aspect);
  • is the guarantee of the Lord's fidelity to his promise: he reserves a munificent reward for his humble Servant because of her faithful cooperation with the divine plan, which is a destiny of fulness, happiness, glorification of her immaculate soul, her virginal body, perfect configuration to her Risen Son (mariological aspect).199

181. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (15 August) is deeply imbedded in popular piety. In many places the feast is synonymous with the person of Our Lady, and is simply referred to as "Our Lady's Day" or as the "Immacolada" in Spain and Latin America.

In the Germanic countries, the custom of blessing herbs is associated with 15 August. This custom, received into the Rituale Romanum,200 represents a clear example of the genuine evangelization of pre-Christian rites and beliefs: one must turn to God, through whose word "the earth produced vegetation: plants bearing seeds in their several kinds, and trees bearing fruit with their seed inside in their several kinds"(Gen 1, 12) in order to obtain what was formerly obtained by magic rites; to stem the damages deriving from poisonous herbs, and benefit from the efficacy of curative herbs.

This ancient use came to be associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary, in part because of the biblical images applied to her such as vine, lavender, cypress and lily, partly from seeing her in terms of a sweet smelling flower because of her virtue, and most of all because of Isaiah 11, 1, and his reference to the "shoot springing from the side of Jesse", which would bear the blessed fruit of Jesus.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

182. At every celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the Church prays for unity and peace201 mindful of the Jesus' prayer. "May they all be one. Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me" (John 17, 21). The Missale Romanum contains three Masses -among those for various needs- "for Christian unity". The same intention is remembered in the intercessions of the Liturgy of the Hours".202

In deference to the sensibilities of the "separated brethren",203 expressions of popular piety should take into account the principle of ecumenism.204 Effectively, "change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name 'spiritual ecumenism'".205 The encounter of Catholics with Christians from other Churches or ecclesial communities affords a special occasion for common prayer for the grace of Christian unity, to offer to God their common anxieties, to give thanks to God and to implore his assistance. "Common prayer is particularly recommended during the "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity" or during the period between Ascension and Pentecost".206 Prayer for Christian unity also carries several indulgences.207


165 CCC 234.

166 Ibid., 233.

167 ibid., 234.

168 cf. nn. 76-80.

169 RITUALE ROMANUM, De sacra communione et de cultu mysterii eucharistici extra Missam, Editio Typica, Typis Polyglotis Vaticanis 1973, 80.

170 Ibid., 101; cf. CIC, can. 944.

171 Cf. RITUALE ROMANUM, De sacra communione et de cultu mysterii eucharistici extra Missam, cit., 101-108.

172 Cf. ibid., 101-102.

173 Ibid., 104.

174 Ibid., 81.

175 Cf. PIUS XII, Encyclical letter Mediator Dei in AAS 39 (1947) 568-572; PAUL VI, Encyclical letter Mysterium fidei in AAS 57 (1965) 769-772; SACRED CONGREGATION OF RITES, Instruction Eucharisticum mysterium, nn. 49-50, in AAS 59 (1967) 566-567; RITUALE ROMANUM, De sacra communione et de cultu mycteria eucharistici extra Missam, cit., 5.

176 SACRED CONGREGATION OF RITES, Instruction Eucharisticum mysterium, nn. 49-50.

177 On the matter of indulgences attached to Eucharistic adoration and processions, cf. EI, Aliae concessiones, 7, pp. 54-55.

178 Cf. RITUALE ROMANUM, De sacra communione et de cultu mycteria eucharistici extra Missam, cit., 82-90; CIC, canon 941.

179 Cf. CIC, canon 942.

180 Cf. Reply ad dubium on n. 62 of the Instruction Eucharisticum mysterium, in Notitiae 34 (1998) 133-134; concerning the Rosary, see the following note.

181 Cf. PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus, 46; Letter of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline pf the Sacraments (15.1.1997), in Notitiae 34 (1998) 506-510; see also the rescript of the Apostolic Penitentiary of 8 March 1996, in Notitiae 34 (1998) 511.

182 Cf. LEO XIII, Encyclical Letter Annum sacrum (25.1889) on the consecration of mankind to the Sacred Heart, in Leonis XIII Pontificis Maximi Acta ,XIX, Typographia Vaticana, Romae 1900, pp. 71-80; PIUS XII, Encyclical Letter Haurietis aquas, in AAS 48 (1956) 311-329; PAUL VI, Apostolic Letter Investigabiles divitias Christi (6.2.1965), in AAS 57 (1965) 298-301; JOHN PAUL II, Message on the centenary of the consecration of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (11.6.1999), in L'Osservatore Romano, 12 June 1999.

183 SC 5; cf. St. AUGUSTINE, Ennaratio in Psalmum 138, 2: CCL 40, cit.,m p. 1991.

184 St. AUGUSTINE, Sermo 311, 3: PL 38, 1415.

185 PIUS XI, Encyclical Letter Miserentissimus redemptorin AAS 20 (1928) 167.

186 Cf. EI, Aliae concessiones 1, p. 50.

187 Cf. EI, Aliae concessiones, 3, pp. 51-53.

188 SC 106.

189 Among the the various consecrations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, one of the most important is that of Pius XII's consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 31 October 1942 (cf. AAS 34 [1942] 318), which was renewed by John Paul II, in communion with the bishops of the Church, on 25 March 1984 (cf. Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II VII/1 [1984], Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 1984, pp. 774-779).

190 Cf. supra n. 171.

191 cf. SC 5.

192 LITURGICAL HORARUM, Tempus Navitatis I, Ad vesperas, Hymnus "Christe, Redemptor omnium".

193 MISSALE ROMANUM, Feria VI in Passione Domini, Adoratio sanctae crucis, Hymnus "Crux fidelis".

194 LITURGICAL HORARUM, Tempus pascale I, Ad Vesperas, Hymnus "Ad cenam Agni providi". Analogously, in the alternative hymn"O Rex aeterne, Domine": Tu crucem propter hominem suscipe dignatus es; dedisti tuum sanguinem nostrae salutis pretium.

195 Text in AAS 52 (1960) 412-413; cf. EI, Aliae concessiones 22, p. 68.

196 SC 103.

197 PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus, 6.

198 SC 103.

199 Cf. PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus, 6.

200 Cf. RITUALE ROMANUM Pauli V Pontificis Maximi iussu editum...SS.mi D.N. Pii Papae XII auctoritate auctum et ordinatum, Editio iuxta Typicam, Desclée, Romae 1952, pp. 444-449.

201 Cf. MISSALE ROMANUM, Ordo Missae, the prayer Domine Jesu Christe, before the sign of peace.

202 See for example: the intercessions at Vespers on Sunday and Monday of the first week, on Wednesday of the third week; and the prayers at Lauds on Wednesday of the fourth week.

203 Cf. SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 3.

204 Cf. Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus, 32-33.

205 SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 8.

206 PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE PROMOTION OF CHRISTIAN UNITY, Directoire pour l'application des Principes et des Normes sur l'Oecuménisme (25.3.1993), 110: AAS 85 (1993) 1084.

207 Cf. EI, Aliae concessiones, 11, p. 58.

The complete text of the Directory can be found on the website of the Holy See.