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  • Eucharistic Concelebration: From Symbol to Reality
  • Sean O. Sheridan T.O.R.
Eucharistic Concelebration: From Symbol to Reality by Guillaume Derville. Montreal: Wilson & Lafleur, Ltée, 2011.

In Eucharistic Concelebration: From Symbol to Reality, Monsignor Guillaume Derville considers Eucharistic celebration as part of the new "Liturgical Movement" that Pope Benedict XVI has encouraged. Derville divides his work into three chapters.

The first chapter is entitled "A Historical View of Eucharistic Concelebration" (7-39). Although Derville gives a very brief overview of the historical concept of Eucharistic concelebration, he devotes the majority of this chapter to the teachings on concelebration of the Second Vatican Council and the relevant post-conciliar documents. As should be anticipated, he focuses on the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum concilium (17-27), primarily articles 57 and 58 granting permission for concelebration, and the concept of the communion of priesthood with the episcopacy as addressed in the decree Presbyterorum ordinis (27-32). In this chapter, Derville briefly reviews the important post-conciliar documents on concelebration, e.g., the instructions Eucharisticum Mysterium (32-33), Inæstimabile Donum (35) and Redemptionis sacramentum (36), the 1970 and 2000 Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (IGMR) (34, 35), and the declaration In celebratio Missae (34-35). He also briefly addresses canon 902 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law and canon 700 of the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches (37-38). Derville concludes chapter one with the invitation to reflect on how concelebration is a sign of unity of the ministerial priesthood and the conditions under which concelebration is appropriate. (39). He considers these questions in greater depth in chapter two.

Derville entitles the second chapter "Unity of the Priesthood: Reality and Representation" (41-58). Having introduced the relevant documents in chapter one, Derville reflects on them more closely in chapter two and also [End Page 311] provides a discussion of Saint Thomas Aquinas' Question 82, Article 2 of the Summa theologiæ. Thomas Aquinas noted that "the Eucharist is the Sacrament of unity of the Church" (42) and pointed to concelebration at the Mass of priestly ordination. "[I]n the same way that the Apostles ate with Christ during the Last Supper and that day received the power to consecrate, so those who have just been ordained concelebrate with the bishop who ordains them" (43). In addition to considering these texts to analyze the unity of the ministerial priesthood, Derville addresses the topic of "presbyterate and brotherhood", including the role of the ministerial priesthood to be at the service of the common priesthood (52-56).

Derville entitles the third chapter "Configuration of the Priest to Christ in Eucharistic Celebration: Some Theological-Pastoral Considerations" (59-95). In this chapter, Derville considers the manner and circumstances under which concelebration should occur. For example, he discusses the portions of the Eucharistic liturgy in which the concelebrant actively participates, where a concelebrant should be located in relationship to the altar of sacrifice, and the vestments he should wear (63-84). Derville concludes this third chapter with a discussion directed to the priest who is contemplating whether or not to concelebrate. Derville poses two questions to the priest about how he might participate in the Eucharist: "[F]irst, what happens to the reality that is made present, that is with the Eucharist, which makes present the Paschal mystery (including the sign and the dignity of the celebration in its essential aspect of prayer and worship)? Second, is my action oriented towards service and the good of the people?" (88-89).

Throughout the text, Derville supports his observations and comments with an abundance of official ecclesiastical documents as well as various commentators on the texts. While he references only a handful of the works that commentators originally published in English, this work makes accessible to an English speaking audience the numerous works of the foreign language commentators that he considers. With its ample sources, this work would be of particular relevance to those persons interested in liturgical law, but should also be useful for all priests as they consider both the sign and action of Eucharistic concelebration. [End Page 312]

Sean O. Sheridan T.O.R.
The Catholic University of America
School of Canon...


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