Liturgy Corner

Carmel Parish Bulletin articles from the Liturgy Committee


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Seeing the Face of Mercy this Lent

 

Lent is a time when we, among other things, celebrate the unconditional and boundless mercy of God.  This is evident throughout the season, but is probably epitomised for many in the parable of the Prodigal Son, which we will hear in a couple of weeks’ time.

Jesus presents the father in this parable as the merciful face of God the Father.  At the same time, we can relate to the father as one like us, called to respond compassionately; even though our natural response may be more akin to that of the older brother.

Year of MercyPope Francis has called us all during this Year of Mercy, not just to remember that Christ is the face of the merciful Father, but that all of us are called to be a face of mercy to the world.  This will be something that we will continue to reflect on over the course of Lent and Easter.

Mercy Has a FaceSpeaking of reflecting, many people have already noticed and commented on the mirror in the narthex, with the Diocesan Year of Mercy caption, Mercy Has a Face.  Mercy still needs a face in our world today, perhaps more now than ever, but who does God call to be that face of his mercy?  We guarantee that if you take a look in the mirror this Lent, you’ll find the answer.

 

OK, so if you’ve been to Mass at OLMC this weekend, you may be wondering why there is a mirror in the parish centre….

Posted by Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Wentworthville on Sunday, 14 February 2016


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When’s Easter This Year?

Lent and Easter are very early this year.  In fact, Ash Wednesday is only a week and a half away, on 10 February.

Easter Sunday, and consequently the weeks of Lent and Easter either side of it, is obviously not determined by a fixed date.  It is set by looking to the cycles of the earth and skies.

Full moonIn the Roman Catholic tradition, Easter Sunday is the Sunday that follows the first full moon after the autumn (for us, or spring, for those in the northern hemisphere) equinox, with the Church setting 21 March as the approximate date for that equinox.  This was determined at the Council of Nicaea in 325 (the same council that began to formalise the Creed we pray most Sundays).

That “first full moon” this year is on 23 March, so Easter Sunday will follow on 27 March.   It is often different to the date for Jewish Passover, which is determined according to the Jewish calendar.  It also varies often to the date for Easter in the Orthodox tradition, where the Julian calendar is still used (rather than the Gregorian calendar that is used in our Church and secularly in Australia).  On some occasions, however, we have the fortunate coincidence of two, or all three of those dates aligning.

Of course, an early Easter also means that our younger parishioners will have another two weeks at school after Easter before their next holiday break!

Image credit: Full moon by Jose Manuel Podlech on flickr, used under Creative Commons licence


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The Year of Mercy

Carmel Bulletin, 13 December 2015

Year of MercyThe Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, which Pope Francis announced earlier this year, has now begun.  On Tuesday, Pope Francis opened the holy door at St Peter’s Basilica.

On Sunday evening (Sydney time), he will go to the cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome, the Basilica of St John Lateran, to open the holy door there.

This weekend will also see holy doors open at cathedrals around the world.  The central ceremonial doors at St Patrick’s Cathedral at Parramatta, usually closed and reserved for the most special of occasions, will be opened by Fr Peter Williams (Diocesan Administrator).  People will be able to pass through these doors any time from now until the Solemnity of Christ the King in November 2016.

The document (formally called a “bull of indiction”) through which Pope Francis officially called for this Year of Mercy helps to remind us of the boundless nature of God’s mercy, which we can celebrate and experience in a multitude of ways.  One way is through penance and reconciliation.

As we approach the season of Christmas, we remember that John the Baptist calls us, just as he called the people of his time, to repent and prepare a way for the Lord in our lives.  We will pray for, and celebrate the loving mercy of God at our Penitential Service on Wednesday evening.  I invite you to join us for this celebration, or to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation next Saturday morning from 9:30 – 10:30 am.

Penitential-Service-2015-We


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Liturgical Ministers for Christmas

Carmel Bulletin, 29 November 2015

As the season of preparation for Christmas is now upon us, we are beginning to invite liturgical ministers to serve at our Christmas Masses.

Christmas Ministry Sign Up SheetYou will find sign-up sheets as usual in the parish centre today.  We need assistance in the following roles:

  • Greeters
  • Computer operators for the data projector
  • Head collection wardens
  • Offertory procession
  • Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

Altar servers can sign up to help on the sheet in the work sacristy, while Ministers of the Word should have received an email this week asking whether they will be available at Christmas time.

This year at our Christmas Masses, we will be posting a sheet on the whiteboard in the parish centre of all the volunteers who have signed up.  When ministers arrive at Mass to serve, we ask that you “sign in” on the sheet so that we can quickly check that ministers are present, and if we need to find replacements.  This will help us ensure that our Christmas Masses go as smoothly as possible.

I thank all our liturgical ministers for their continued commitment to our community.  Please consider serving at what is a very important time in the Church’s year, and a crucial time for welcoming parishioners and visitors alike.


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Saying Amen

Carmel Bulletin, 8 November 2015

It is the shortest response that we make at any time during the Mass.  It is the most common response.  It is also, I believe, the most important.

The word Amen is a word by which we give assent or affirmation to what has been said.  Often it is described as meaning “so be it”.

Priest leading the Collect Prayer

© Alphonsus Fok, 321 Photography

The response Amen allows the assembly to give its voice to its prayers that are led by the priest.  We confirm that we worship in the name of the Trinity.  We affirm our profession of faith.  The Eucharistic Prayer, with its praise, petition and thanksgiving, comes to its completion with the Great Amen; a response considered so important that it should be sung.

Receiving communion from the chalice

© Alphonsus Fok, 321 Photography

It is interesting, therefore, that some people seem reluctant to respond to the priest, deacon or Extraordinary Minister when they receive communion.  The declarations “The Body of Christ” and “The Blood of Christ” deserve our heartfelt response.  To say Amen is to declare our belief that we are receiving Christ himself.  Not only that, but as St Augustine once explained, we declare our belief that Christ is present within us, and that we say Amen to both what the Eucharist is, and what we are.

To say Amen when we receive communion is a powerful expression of our faith.  So don’t be afraid to speak up!  Say Amen.


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All Saints

Carmel Bulletin, 1 November 2015

All-SaintsToday we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints.  It is one of the feast days in our liturgical calendar that is observed instead of the usual Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Throughout the year, we celebrate the feast days of many saints.  This does not mean, however, that we worship saints.

The Church has also included in the annual cycle days devoted to the memory of the martyrs and the other saints. Raised up to perfection by the manifold grace of God, and already in possession of eternal salvation, they sing God’s perfect praise in heaven and offer prayers for us. By celebrating the passage of these saints from earth to heaven the Church proclaims the paschal mystery achieved in the saints who have suffered and been glorified with Christ; she proposes them to the faithful as examples drawing all to the Father through Christ, and through their merits she pleads for God’s favours.

Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosantcum Concilium, article 104

By entering into the long tradition of honouring the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, we ask them to intercede for us to God, who is always the object of our worship.  The saints give us an example of Christian faith and living.  They also offer us hope that we, like them, will experience the eternal glory of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in all its fullness.

Every time we celebrate Mass, it serves as a foretaste of the great and eternal banquet of the Lord.  The Eucharistic celebration unites us with the entire Church on earth, as well as the entire Church of God in heaven.  As we participate in the great Eucharistic prayer of thanksgiving today, let us once again glorify God “with one voice of praise… with the multitude of Saints and Angels” (Preface for All Saints).


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Church Renewal: The Entrances as Functional Spaces

Carmel Bulletin, 18 October 2015

Church Renewal ProcessWithin the design concept for the renewal of our church, new doors will improve the flow of movement between the church and parish centre, as well as the natural light under the choir gallery.

Light is a natural symbol of the presence of Christ.  We are fortunate to have a church that is abundant with natural light, reminding us of the heavenly light and warmth of God the creator.  This is less apparent under the choir gallery; the imposition of the gallery and the closed former entry doors limiting the light in that space.  The glass doors proposed to replace the current entry doors will provide much more light in this area.

The same doors will be positioned further forward than the current doors.  This will allow us to expand the area at the entrance, improve the sense of transition between exterior and interior, and provide space that will help support people’s personal and devotional prayer.  A new awning at the entrance will ensure that the entrance remains adequately sheltered.

Entrance Procession

The doorways of a church need to be large enough to accommodate a proper procession with all its requirements. Photo © Alphonsus Fok, 321 Photography

To be suitable for a procession of vested ministers led by a processional cross held high, the entrance is designed with appropriate gravitas.

And when churches are to be built (national guidelines for the building of churches), article 215

Something we have learned from using our parish centre is that the doorways between it and the church are narrow and too short to accommodate a liturgical procession (making sure the door frame doesn’t collect the processional cross on the way through is an art our servers have had to perfect!).  The new doors for our church will be designed with greater proportions to better serve this ritual action, and again improve the flow of movement of people in and out of the church.

You can read and view more about the design concept in the parish centre and at www.olmcwenty.org.au/churchrenewal