We, the delegates representing Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam to the 17th Asian Liturgy Forum held in Hong Kong from October 21-24, 2013 on the topic “Pastoral Liturgy in Asia,” continue to raise our hearts in praise and thanksgiving to Jesus Christ, our High Priest and Good Shepherd, for the gift of Sacrosanctum Concilium that was promulgated 50 years ago.
The discussions and sharing on the pastoral benefits effected by the liturgical renewal set in motion by Vatican II led us to a stronger conviction that the Council envisioned a liturgy that embodies the solicitude of Christ the Good Shepherd over his Flock, the Church. It is truly pastoral liturgy—one that raises the mind and heart to God and nourishes effectively the Christian faithful (cf. SC 14). We believe that such a liturgy continues to challenge us to celebrate with complete pastoral care and ultimately to form ourselves to become celebrant-pastors.
As shepherds over the portion of God’s flock entrusted to their care, our bishops “from whom the life in Christ of [the] faithful is in some way derived and dependent” (SC 41) embody this pastoral character of liturgy by wisely, patiently, and lovingly undertaking their teaching, sanctifying, and leading ministry. Presiding over the liturgy becomes a clear manifestation of that pastoral charity.
As men who received the grace of the Sacrament of Orders, priests mirror Christ the Eternal High Priest, are consecrated to preach the Gospel, shepherd the faithful, and celebrate divine worship especially the Eucharist in union with the bishops (cf. LG 28). They express their pastoral concern over the flock entrusted to them through their preaching of the word in a mystagogical way (per ritus et preces), through prayerful presiding of the sacred mysteries, and by conforming their lives to the mystery they celebrate.
As sharers in the one priesthood of Christ by virtue of their baptism and by the nature of the liturgy, the lay faithful have the right and duty to fully, consciously, and actively participate in the Church’s liturgy (cf. SC 14). They express clearly their participation in the sacred mysteries through their acclamations, responses, psalmody, antiphons, and songs, as well as by actions, gestures, bodily attitudes, and silence (cf. SC 30). Furthermore, they exercise certain ministries proper to their state, imbued with the solicitude of Christ who came to serve and not to be served. They open and commit themselves to a deeper understanding of what they celebrate and are thereby constantly nourished in their faith. They bear witness to the fruits of what they celebrate in charity and justice in the face of the challenges of the world.
Aware of the richness of our various cultures and religious traditions we commit ourselves to pursuing liturgical inculturation as mandated by Vatican II (cf. SC 37-40) and in response to the call for new evangelization. We are grateful for all the efforts towards revision and adaptation of the liturgical books that favored active and conscious liturgical participation.
We invoke the Holy Spirit to continue to inspire, move, and guide us to pursue the pastoral vision of Sacrosanctum Concilium.
At this year’s forum we remembered with gratitude the invaluable role of Fr. Anscar J. Chupungco, OSB in establishing and sustaining the Asian Liturgy Forum for 17 years with his expertise and pastoral zeal. We pray that his memory and that of the innumerable liturgical scholars and experienced pastors who generously offered themselves, often with great personal sacrifices, to realize the pastoral vision of the Council will be etched in the pages of our liturgical history, as now they celebrate the eternal liturgy in the kingdom of heaven.
We thank his Eminence, John Cardinal Tong, Rev. Fr. Thomas Law, the clergy, and their lay collaborators for hosting this year’s forum. The spirit of grateful remembrance with which we celebrate the 50 years of Sacrosanctum Concilium was strengthened by their generosity and hospitality.
That in all things God may be glorified.