VATICAN CITY -- The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments has approved a special "Mass in the Time of Pandemic" to plead for God's mercy and gift of strength in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

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VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis renewed the membership of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments by naming new members, including Canadian Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec and Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey.

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VATICAN CITY - The same day he spent three hours meeting the heads of Vatican offices to discuss the reform of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis named 69-year-old Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah to be the new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

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VATICAN CITY - The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments is establishing an office to promote the development and use of appropriate liturgical art, architecture and music.

The new office was approved in early September by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state; final arrangements and the designation of personnel are being made, said Marist Father Anthony Ward, undersecretary of the congregation.

The office will provide advice, encouragement and guidance, he said, but it will not attempt to impose specific styles.

"The church has always adopted local artistic, architectural and music styles," Father Ward told Catholic News Service Nov. 14. At the same time, as the Second Vatican Council taught, "it always has emphasized Gregorian chant as the homegrown music of the Latin rite."

While the Pontifical Council for Culture promotes efforts in the area of sacred art and music, the congregation's new office will focus specifically on art, architecture and music used for Mass and other formal moments of prayer.

The Second Vatican Council document on the liturgy said, "The church has not adopted any particular style of art as her very own; she has admitted styles from every period according to the natural talents and circumstances of peoples, and the needs of the various rites."

It called for the preservation of the great liturgical art of the past and the encouragement of modern artists to create pieces appropriate for Catholic worship, "provided that it adorns the sacred buildings and holy rites with due reverence and honor."

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