Liturgy Corner

Carmel Parish Bulletin articles from the Liturgy Committee


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Pick a branch, Any Branch

Carmel Bulletin, 4 March 2018

Sometimes we can get really hung up on words.

Take “Palm” Sunday for example.  Yes, it was a practice in Palestine in Jesus’ time to use palm branches to welcome dignitaries.  Yet, when looking through a reputable Bible translation, only the gospel according to John specifically names palm branches.  In the same translation, Matthew mentions branches, Mark mentions leafy branches (or greenery), and Luke doesn’t mention branches at all.

Parishioners with palm and olive branches on Palm SundayThe point of the text – and our ritual practice nowadays on Palm Sunday – is not the type of plant, but the purpose of the action.  The people of Jerusalem were welcoming a King.  We too give glory, praise and honour to our King.  While many of us are used to doing this by using palms, some use olive branches (remember that Jesus entered Jerusalem via the Mount of Olives), while people in other parts of the world today would use what is available to them.

So this year, on Palm Sunday, we invite you to bring your own cutting of a branch, from any tree or plant, to use as we commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  We would also greatly appreciate it if you can bring some palms or some other branches for people who don’t have any.  In this way, we can make the honouring and praising of Christ, our King, very much our own in this place and time.


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Holy Week

Carmel Bulletin, 29 March 2015

Today we begin once again to approach the most holy days of the entire liturgical year.  We invite you all to participate in the celebrations of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.

Our Diocese will celebrate the Chrism Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Wednesday at 7:30 pm.  At this Mass, Bishop Kevin Manning will bless the oils that will be used in the celebration of the sacraments over the next year and consecrate the Sacred Chrism.  They will be presented to Fr Paul and representatives of our parish, and presented in our church prior to the commencement of the Holy Thursday evening Mass.

Bowl and Jug for the Washing of FeetThere is not a morning Mass on Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Holy Saturday.  The Easter Triduum begins with the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:30 pm. The Parish Centre is reserved on this evening as the altar of repose for the Blessed Sacrament.  The main church doors will be used, with the parish centre entrance reserved for mobility access only.  Please bring your Project Compassion box with you and Vinnies food donations also and place them in the baskets provided.  Solemn adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which continues after Mass, will conclude with Night Prayer (Compline) at 9:45 pm.

Procession of the CrossStations of the Cross will be prayed on Good Friday at 9:00 am, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be celebrated from 9:30 – 10:30 am.  The church will remain open during the day for those who wish to come and pray.  The main celebration of this day is the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3:00 pm.

Fire at Easter VigilIf you have flowers to contribute to the Marian Shrine or other saints at Easter, please bring these down to the parish centre on Holy Saturday from 9:00 am – 10:00 am.  The main celebration of this day and the entire Easter Triduum is The Easter Vigil at 7:30 pm.

Finally, Easter Sunday Masses will be celebrated at 7:00 am, 9:00 am, 10:30 am and 6:00 pm.


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Recalling Palm Sunday

Carmel Bulletin, 27 April 2014

We have recently celebrated again the liturgies of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.  The first of these was the celebration of Palm Sunday.

The full title of this day, as provided in the Missal, shows us exactly what we celebrate on this day.  Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord invites us all to celebrate not only the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem, but also the events of the days that followed; his passion and death.

Palm Sunday ProcessionIt is in the Introductory Rites of the Mass for Palm Sunday that we celebrate the actual ‘Palm Sunday’.  This can take the form of a procession at the principal Mass of the Sunday (as it does here at 9:00 am), or with a simple or solemn entrance (as we celebrate from the narthex) at the other Masses of the Sunday.  We begin with the antiphon that quotes directly from the gospel, “Hosanna to the Son of David…” (Mt 21:9).  We bless the palms (or olive branches or other greenery) that we will use and take home with us.  We listen to the account of Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem from the gospels, and then proceed into the church “like the crowds that acclaimed Jesus in Jerusalem.”  Song is an important part of the entrance and procession.

Palms and Olive branches at Palm Sunday ProcessionThe palm or other branch we take with us on the day serves as a sign to us long after Holy Week has ended, but not the sole point of the rites we celebrate.  The Vatican Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy states:

The faithful, however, should be instructed as to the meaning of this celebration so that they might grasp its significance. They should be opportunely reminded that the important thing is participation at the procession and not only the obtaining of palm or olive branches… Palms and olive branches are kept in the home as a witness to faith in Jesus Christ, the messianic king, and in his Paschal Victory. (article 139)

Finally, I would like to echo Fr Paul’s words of thanks to those who were involved in the celebrations of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.

View our Palm Sunday photo album: facebook | flickr


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24/3/13 – Holy Week

Fr John and Severs showing the cross, Good Friday 2009

Today we begin once again to approach the most holy days of the entire liturgical year.  We invite you all to participate in the celebrations of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.

Our Penitential Service is on Tuesday at 7:30 pm, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be celebrated on Good Friday, from 9:30 to 10:30 am.

Bishop Anthony will celebrate the Chrism Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Wednesday at 7:30 pm.  At this Mass, the oils that will be used in the celebration of the sacraments over the next year will be blessed, and the Sacred Chrism consecrated.  They will be presented to Fr Paul and representatives of our parish, and presented in our church prior to the commencement of the Holy Thursday evening Mass.

There is not a morning Mass on Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Holy Saturday.  The Easter Triduum begins with the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:30 pm. The Parish Centre is reserved on this evening as the altar of repose for the Blessed Sacrament.  The main church doors will be used, with the parish centre entrance reserved for mobility access only.  Please bring your Project Compassion box with you and Vinnies food donations also and place them in the baskets provided.

Stations of the Cross will be prayed on Good Friday at 9:00 am.  The church will remain open during the day for those who wish to come and pray, with a Syro-Malabar Rite service during the day as well.  The main celebration of this day is the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3:00 pm.

If you have flowers to contribute to the Marian Shrine or other saints at Easter, please bring these down to the parish centre on Holy Saturday from 9:00 am – 10:00 am.  The main celebration of this day and the entire Easter Triduum is The Easter Vigil at 7:30 pm.

Finally, Easter Sunday Masses will be celebrated at 7:00 am, 9:00 am and 10:30 am only.  To close the celebration of the Easter Triduum, we invite you to join us for Evening Prayer (Vespers) at 6:00 pm.


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15/4/12 – Thank You

Church Prepared for Easter VigilLast week we celebrated the death and resurrection of Christ through the liturgical celebrations of the Easter Triduum.

These celebrations would not have happened without the hard work of many people.

There are so many people who deserve our thanks: our priests; John O’Loughlin and our servers; our choir and musicians; the Liturgy Committee who worked on preparing the church and the celebrations; our Ministers of the Word and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion; those who had their feet washed; and all the people who assisted with various parts of the celebrations, from collections, to processions of the gifts, to putting cardboard discs on tapers to stop dripping wax.

Thanks must also go to everyone who came along and participated in the celebrations.  The liturgy is our work as the people of God, and the presence and contribution of each person enriches our community.

Thank you to everyone, and may the peace of God be with you throughout the rest of this holy Easter season.


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25/3/12 – Approaching Holy Week and the Easter Triduum

Palm SundayNext Sunday is Palm Sunday.  The Mass commemorates the actual “Palm Sunday” events in its unique introductory rites which include the blessing of palm branches, and the proclamation of a gospel account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  This typically takes place at the entrance to the church, or may even take a simple form with the priest leading from the sanctuary.  One Mass on the Sunday, however, should commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem by means of a procession from a location outside the church.

As such, we will celebrate Palm Sunday in a similar fashion as in previous years.  9:00 am Mass will begin with a procession beginning under the shade structures in the school playground (outside the parish hall).  All other Masses will begin with a solemn entrance beginning in the narthex.

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, which leads us to the Easter Triduum.  This will be the first time we celebrate the Easter Triduum according to the new English translation of the Missal.  There are some changes to texts that we may only use once a year, such as the showing of the cross on Good Friday and the Litany of the Saints.  Please be mindful of this.  We will do our best to prompt and assist you with any changes.

Please take note of the times of the various Holy Week and Easter Triduum celebrations, and make sure you pass the timetable on to others (perhaps there are people in your neighbourhood) who may be interested in participating, but don’t get a Carmel bulletin.


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24/4/11 – The Easter Triduum

Today brings to a conclusion the great celebration of the Easter Triduum.  Once the sun set on Thursday, we entered into this celebration with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.  The second part of this three-day celebration took place on Friday afternoon with the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion.  Finally, we resumed our celebration on Saturday evening by participating in the high-point of the entire liturgical year – the Easter Vigil Mass.

Each of these parts of the Easter Triduum is characterised by liturgical rituals that are unique to these great three days.

Washing of the FeetAt the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Fr Paul knelt down before his parishioners and washed their feet.  In this ritual, we are reminded of Christ’s commandment to love one another, and the way Jesus challenged the disciples to live out this command.  We engage in the washing of feet each year not as some role-play or historical reenactment, but because we too, as disciples of Jesus, are called not to be served, but to serve.

Veneration of the CrossOn Good Friday, hundreds of us came forward to venerate the cross.  On this day, we celebrate what is very much our Good Friday.  Although Christ died as he hung upon the wood of the cross, as the ritual reminds us, Christ is the salvation of the world.  We continue through to Easter with the hope of that salvation.

Service of LightFinally, the Easter Vigil begins with the Service of Light.  The pillar of fire led the Israelites at that first Passover, through suffering and slavery to new life.  Our pillar of fire, the Paschal candle, leads us to our celebration of Christ’s Passover, his passing over from death to new life.  Guided by the light of Christ, we recall the history of our salvation, celebrate the resurrection, and initiate new Christians into Christ and his Church.

May God bless you all during this time, and over the fifty joyful days of the Easter season.


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10/4/11 – Holy Week

Holy Week begins next Sunday.  As Easter is fast approaching, here are a few reminders about our upcoming celebrations:

For the first time this year, Bishop Anthony will celebrate the Second Form of the Sacrament of Penance in each deanery.  The Holroyd deanery celebration is this Thursday 14 April at 7:30 pm at St. Patrick’s Church, Calliope Street, Guildford.  All are invited to attend.

Palm Sunday will be celebrated at the usual Mass times.  9:00 am Mass will commence with a procession from outside the parish hall.  Please join in the procession or solemn entrance at the Mass you attend and enter fully into the spirit of Holy Week.

The parish Penitential Service will be celebrated on Tuesday 19 April at 7:30 pm.  Like last year, readers for the Easter Triduum will have a preparation workshop afterwards.

The Diocesan Chrism Mass is on at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Wednesday 20 April at 7:30 pm.  All are invited to attend.  Fr Paul and parishioners will receive from Bishop Anthony the oils that we will use over the next twelve months in our sacramental celebrations.

The Easter Triduum begins with the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:30 pm. The Parish Centre is reserved on this evening as the altar of repose for the Blessed Sacrament.  Please remember that entry that evening is via the church doors – if you cannot manage the stairs, please see our welcomers about using the ramp and parish centre entrance.  Please bring your Project Compassion box with you also and place it in the basket near the church entrance.

Stations of the Cross will be prayed on Good Friday at 9:00 am., and the Sacrament of Penance will follow from 9:30 – 10:30 am.  The church will remain open during the day for those who wish to come and pray.  The main celebration of this day is the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3:00 pm.

Like Holy Thursday and Good Friday, there is no morning Mass on Holy Saturday.  If you have flowers to contribute to our adornment of the Marian Shrine or other saints, please bring these down to the parish centre from 9:00 am. – 10:00 am.  The main celebration of this day and the entire Easter Triduum is The Easter Vigil at 7:30 pm.  Mass will begin outside with the Service of Light, before we proceed behind the Paschal Candle into the church.

Finally, Easter Sunday Masses will be celebrated at 7:00 am., 9:00 am. and 10:30 am. only.


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28/3/10 – Holy Week

As we have now entered Holy Week, here are a few reminders about our celebrations:

The parish Reconciliation Service will be celebrated on Tuesday 30 March at 7:30 p.m.  Like last year, readers for the Easter Triduum will have a preparation workshop afterwards.

The Diocesan Chrism Mass is on at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Wednesday 8 April at 7:30 p.m.  All are invited to attend.  Representatives will receive from Bishop Anthony the oils that our parish will use over the next twelve months in our sacramental celebrations.

The Easter Triduum begins with the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:30 p.m. The Parish Centre is reserved on this evening as the altar of repose for the Blessed Sacrament.  Please remember that entry that evening is via the church doors – if you cannot manage the stairs, please see our welcomers about using the ramp and parish centre entrance.  Please bring your Project Compassion box with you also and place it in the basket near the church entrance.

Stations of the Cross will be prayed on Good Friday at 9:00 a.m., and the Sacrament of Penance will follow from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.  The church will remain open during the day for those who wish to come and pray.  The main celebration of this day is the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3:00 p.m.

Like Holy Thursday and Good Friday, there is no morning Mass on Holy Saturday.  If you have flowers to contribute to our adornment of the Marian Shrine or other saints, please bring these down to the parish centre from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.  The main celebration of this day and the entire Easter Triduum is The Easter Vigil at 7:30 p.m.  Mass will begin with the Service of Light, which will commence in the Garfield St. car park, before we proceed behind the Paschal Candle into the church.

Finally, Easter Sunday Masses will be celebrated at 7:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. only.


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5/4/09 – Altar of Repose

The Blessed Sacrament is carried through the church in procession, led by a cross-bearer and accompanied by candles and incense, to the place of reposition in a chapel suitably decorated for the occasion…

From the Roman Missal for Holy Thursday

On Holy Thursday evening, we are required to do something that does not occur at any other time during the year.  We remove the Blessed Sacrament from the body of the Church.

While parishes with a separate chapel for the Blessed Sacrament may continue to reserve hosts in the tabernacle there, churches such as ours need to have a chapel and tabernacle prepared elsewhere.  Given our current constraints and our previous experience, the best solution for us at present is to prepare the Altar of Repose in the parish centre.  It is a location which seems to work well and allows a large number of people to participate in adoration, even if they only choose to stay a short time.

The Altar of Repose is prepared before Mass begins as it is a required part of the liturgical space for this Mass.  We enter the church through the former entry doors, reserving the parish centre for its particular purpose on this evening.  The fact that the Blessed Sacrament will be reserved in this space means that on this evening, the parish centre is afforded increased reverence.  It is to be treated as a space that is due the same reverence as any other part of the church.

Solemn adoration of the Blessed Sacrament follows Mass and may continue until midnight.  In previous years, however, those who have remained for adoration after Mass have left before this time.  Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will end, therefore, when the last people who have stayed to adore the Blessed Sacrament after Mass depart.