CATHOLIC churchgoers in Britain will soon be deprived of one version of the scripture readings at Mass, with the introduction of a new three-volume English Lectionary.
Up to now the Lectionary has been published according to the Jerusalem version of the Bible and according to the Catholic edition of the Revised Standard Version. No more of the latter version are to be published for economy reasons.
The new version of the Lectionary is authorised for use in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and is published simultaneously by Collins, Geoffrey Chapman and Veritas. It has a fuller selection of readings for saints days.
Until the end of January the new three-volume edition will cost £138 and thereafter £153. The publishers estimate that it will last 20 years, though the edition in current use needs replacing now in many churches after only 12 years' use. Twenty years' use would work out at more than £7 per year per parish.
The three volumes, each of more than 1,000 pages, will not make the current edition of the Lectionary obsolete, nor will parishioners have to buy new missals. They do incorporate all the new features in the liturgy introduced since 1969 and carry liturgical rites additional to the celebration of Mass.
The new edition is the first vernacular version using the revised Roman Ordo Lectionum Missae, as its predecessor was also the first in the vernacular field in 1969.
Introducing the new version last week, Fr Anthony Boylan, who is now entering pastoral work after serving as the secretary of the Liturgy Commission said: "Many of our fellow Christians who in the past regarded Roman Catholics as being somewhat indifferent to the scriptures if not ignorant of them, now recognise that there is no community of Christians that is more exposed to the wealth of sacred scripture than Roman Catholics. Indeed, a number of other Churches have admired the Roman Catholic Lectionary so much that it has been adopted in whole or in part by several of them. It has thus become an important ecumenical possession."