An Alberta-born liturgist is trying to broaden opportunities for devotional prayer with a new booklet that combines reflections on the resurrection with lush photographs of light from across Canada.
"The Mass is the centre of our prayer life, but there needs to be a variety of other forms to help lead us to a deeper appreciation of what the Mass is about, and to participate more fully," says author Glenn Byer. "The Via Lucis is just such a thing."
Byers explained, "The way of the cross has been such a support for the Catholic faithful for centuries I really thought that the other half of the story – the resurrection story – to be almost an act of hope really for people who are going through trying times."
Novalis, which recently published his 64-page book Via Lucis: The Way of the Light, decided "we need something that would be a real resource that would be great for Canada."
Byers gave photo assistant Karen Stevens directions about "what kinds of pictures we were looking for to have the different visions of light. I thought this is something that would appeal to everybody. My approach was to give a devotion that everybody could use and that everybody could enjoy."
Why the concerted effort for specific photos?
"We designed it with pictures because some people, if they are homebound or they can't go on pilgrimage or they can't even go to the church to do the stations (the photos allow them) to do something like this. It is something everyone can use.
"Also photos of the resurrection – all the resurrection appearances, reflections for very day life, appearances and images, should inspire."
The author points out "It actually has a lovely little section where you are in a church that has the Stations of the Cross. You can look at the station of the cross and meditate on the station of light that goes on the same order. So it is flexible that way as well."
He agrees the book would be appropriate even for the spiritual seeker.
"There're a lot of seekers in life. If you experience light at all, this could speak to you, provided of course you are open to hearing the words of the resurrection."
Byers notes the book could serve as a starting point for a workshop for individuals or groups.
The author was raised on a farm near Busby. His work has included writings on liturgy, church renovations and the Anointing of the Sick. Byers has also consulted on church construction and renovation projects.
He is presently associate publisher for Novalis English Books, Resources and Periodicals based in Toronto.
Previously he was a professor of liturgy at Kenrick School of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri and for the Paul VI Catechetical Institute, also in St. Louis. Byer has also served on the liturgy commissions of three archdioceses, Edmonton, Baltimore and St. Louis.
The background story of the Via Lucis can be found online at www.vialucis.org/vialucis_en/storia.html.