Liturgy Corner

Carmel Parish Bulletin articles from the Liturgy Committee

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Let Him Easter in Us

Carmel Bulletin, 14 May 2017

Paschal Candle 2017Throughout the season of Easter, the paschal candle is given a prominent and special place near the ambo or altar of the church.  The candle is lit at the Easter Vigil Mass each year as the primary symbol of the light of Christ breaking through the darkness of death and sin.

Each year our paschal candle is crafted by nuns of the Benedictine Abbey, Jamberoo, where Carmelite Fr Paul Gurr serves as chaplain.  The design on this year’s candle has been prepared by the nuns, with artwork by Josephite Sr Dorothy Woodward.  The nuns offer this commentary on the candle design for 2017:

It features the Risen Christ bursting forth from the tomb in glory! Artists down through the centuries have used the image of the tombstone shattering to symbolize the energy, passion, power and sheer joy of the Resurrection moment for Christ and all humankind.
Easter Sunday shatters many things –
Gone is darkness and death!
Gone hopelessness and despair!
Gone fear and dread!
Gone our Lenten fast and discipline!
And from all that “gone-ness” and shattering,
NEW LIFE bursts forth, filling the void with light, joy, feasting, celebration and the singing of Alleluias!

As we light our Paschal Candles in 2017,
may Christ, the Risen One,
“Easter in us” … Easter in our world! Alleluia!

Let Him Easter in us,
be a dayspring to the dimness of us.
Gerard Manley Hopkins


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Sprinkling with Holy Water

IMG_6354One way in which we mark the Easter Season in the celebration of the Sunday Mass at Wentworthville is by using the rite of sprinkling of holy water.  When it is celebrated, it takes the place of the usual Penitential Act in the Introductory Rites.

As the texts used for this rite make clear, sprinkling holy water is intended to remind us of our baptism.  Through baptism, we are freed from sin and share in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which we celebrate particularly during this season.

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5/8/12 – Fifty Years Since Vatican II – The Work of Christ and His Church

During this Year of Grace, we have been invited to revisit the constitutions of the Second Vatican Council, which began fifty years ago this year.  The first of these constitutions was on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium.  In the opening paragraphs of the constitution, the Church sought to make clear some foundational principles.

Firstly, the liturgy is the work of Christ and his Church.  In the liturgy, we, the people of God, are made holy through “signs perceptible to the senses” (such as bread and wine which become the Body and Blood of Christ).  Christ is made present in the Mass, not only through the consecrated bread and wine, but also through the proclaimed Word, the entire people of God assembled, and the person of the priest.

In the celebration of the liturgy here on earth, we are given a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy, to which we all aspire and journey towards.

One of the key statements made in the constitution is that the liturgy is the source and summit of Christian life.  We come to Mass to celebrate and give thanks to God for all that we experience in our lives.  We are also nourished and inspired to go out into the world again and live out the mission of Christ.  Other aspects of Christian life may help to sustain us outside of the liturgy, but nothing else is as essential as the liturgy, particularly the Mass.

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29/1/12 – Palms and Ashes

AshesThe season of Lent will begin in just over three weeks.  Despite it not being a holy day obligation, many Catholics take time to participate in the liturgical celebrations of Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season.  As its name suggests, ashes are a symbol synonymous with this day.

On Ash Wednesday, we are marked with ashes in the form of a cross.  Wearing ashes is a penitential practice that finds its origins in early biblical times.  Ashes serve as external sign of our internal penance, and desire for a change of heart.  Traditionally, the ashes are make by burning the palms from Palm Sunday the previous year.

As in previous years, we invite you to bring your palm from last year back to the church and place it in the basket in the parish centre.  We will burn these palms and use them for our Ash Wednesday celebrations.


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2/8/06 – The Table of the Lord

We have recently been discussing the concern within in the Church that people are losing a sense of the “real presence”, that is, the belief that Christ is truly present in the consecrated bread and wine we receive at Mass.

One factor contributing to a change in attitude is that whereas the attention of people at Mass in the past was drawn towards the tabernacle on a high altar, the liturgical focus is now rightly on the altar itself.

The problem with this has been that we have often failed to properly form people in understanding the true importance of the altar as the place where the Eucharistic sacrifice takes place.  Sometimes people have been under the impression that the tabernacle was what made the altar, even the sanctuary, holy.  This is not surprising given the attention directed towards the tabernacle in older churches.

We need to remember that the altar is holy not because of the Eucharist that may have been reserved on it, but because of the Eucharist which is formed upon it when we bring forth the gifts of bread and wine, and ask God to send the Holy Spirit to change them into the Body and Blood of Christ.  The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (no. 296), tells us that:

The altar on which the Sacrifice of the Cross is made present under sacramental signs is also the table of the Lord to which the People of God is called together to participate in the Mass, as well as the centre of the thanksgiving that is accomplished through the Eucharist.

The General Instruction (no. 298) also reminds us of the dignity of the altar, and that it is not just a table where Mass is celebrated, but in itself a symbol of Christ:

It is appropriate to have a fixed altar in every church, since it more clearly and permanently signifies Christ Jesus, the living stone.

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9/11/08 – Changing Colours

If you’re thinking that the colours in the church seem to be changing every week at the moment, you’d be right.  After months of green during this season of Ordinary Time, we changed last week to violet for All Souls Day.  Today’s feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica uses white, as does Christ the King in a fortnight’s time.  The Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time will see green return next Sunday.  Once Advent begins, violet will be the colour in the church for four Sundays in a row.

The Church uses several different colours to mark the liturgical seasons, feasts and sacramental celebrations.  The colours are intended to reflect something of the nature of these celebrations, and are part of our long-held tradition.

Green, as already mentioned, is the colour reserved for the season of Ordinary Time, that is the long period of numbered weeks outside of the other major seasons.

White, a symbol of purity and cleanliness, is used in the Easter and Christmas seasons, the Feasts of the Lord and of Mary.  It is also reserved for the angels, and saints who are not martyrs; although it is also used for the Feasts of the Birth of John the Baptist (24 June), St John the Evangelist (27 December), the Chair of St Peter (22 February) and the Conversion of St Paul (25 January).  It is used for the sacraments of Baptism, Marriage and Holy Orders.

Red, the colour of blood and fire, is reserved for the celebrations of the Lord’s Passion (such as Palm Sunday and Good Friday), Pentecost (and the sacrament of Confirmation), and the feast days of apostles, evangelists and martyrs.

Violet is a colour the Church associates with waiting, preparation and hope.  It is the colour for the Seasons of Advent and Lent, the sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick, and Masses for the Dead (like All Souls).

In addition to the four typical colours, black can also be used at funerals and Masses for the Dead where there is a custom of doing so.  Rose vestments, reflecting a particular sense of joyful expectation, are optional on Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent) and Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), as a reminder that the season is coming to a close and that the joy of Easter or Christmas is not far away.