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BISHOPS-OPENING (UPDATED) Jun-18-2009 (330 words) With photos posted June 17 and 18. xxxn

Bishops at spring meeting in San Antonio approve Mass for life

By Patricia Zapor
Catholic News Service

SAN ANTONIO (CNS) -- Nearly 20 years after Cardinal John O'Connor of New York suggested it, the U.S. bishops approved a Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life June 18 during their spring meeting in San Antonio.

The Mass was approved 183-2, with three abstentions. A second vote to add the text to the missal was 179-1, with one abstention. It now goes to the Vatican for "recognitio," or confirmation.

The Mass requested by Cardinal O'Connor, who died in 2000, was first prepared in 1990 to be included in the Roman Missal. The text was approved by the Committee on the Liturgy and the bishops as a whole in 1992 and sent on to the Vatican for review the following year.

The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments soon after expressed interest in the subject matter but said it was "a matter of universal concern" that required further study.

As Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., noted in his June 17 presentation of the text of the Mass, "no further response on the subject was ever received" from the congregation and there is no such text in the Latin version of the Roman Missal.

In response to a request by Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe, N.M., in January 2008, the idea was resurrected and the original material was retrieved from the Congregation for Divine Worship.

In one comment before the vote Archbishop Sheehan noted that various Masses exist for various purposes and "the peace and justice Mass we presently have just doesn't do it" for the life issue.

He urged the bishops' conference to zealously pursue "recognitio" from the Vatican, because "last time it sat on someone's desk or in someone's drawer."


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