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The Second Vatican Council produced 16 documents: four constitutions, three declarations and nine decrees. The very first, the "Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy" ("Sacroscanctum Concilium"), passed overwhelmingly with a 2147 to 4 vote. Today, 50 years later, this seminal document reminds all Catholics: "Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people (1 Peter 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism" (Sacrosanctum Concilium 14). This directive is operative in parishes in different ways -- yet another example of one size doesn't fit all.
What does full, active, and conscious participation look like in the liturgies of Holy Week, the most solemn week in our calendar? How will it be realized in a newly formed collaborative? In the Archdiocese of Boston, 12 collaboratives made up of 28 parishes were inaugurated in June, 2013 as part of the pastoral plan, Disciples in Mission. This is a plan for growth. It is a plan to make our parishes vibrant, stable, effective and intentional centers of evangelization. Our familiar, sacred, story never changes; but this year, the context is new, as these 28 parishes mark their first Holy Week and Easter as collaboratives.