Liturgy Corner

Carmel Parish Bulletin articles from the Liturgy Committee


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As the Church fasts, so does the church fast

Carmel bulletin, 12 March 2017

lent_enviro_08 005When arriving at Mass last Sunday, one of young parishioners observed that the church looked very bare.

Perhaps you noticed this as well.  It may have been the lack of flowers or banners.  It may have been that there was less music within the Mass than what you’re used to.

We’re well aware that during Lent, we as a Church (the people of God) are called to fast.  This fasting sees us go without what is unnecessary in our lives and focus on what we really need.  The first need, of course, is a deep and loving relationship with God who continually invites us to be closer to him.

Similarly, during this season, our church (the building) reflects our Lenten practice with its own fasting.  It goes without the extra decoration.  It goes without the extra hymns and without the instrumental music.  It goes without the echo of Alleluia within its four walls for six and a half weeks.

All of this helps us to build in our anticipation and eagerness for celebrating the glorious resurrection of our Lord at Easter.


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Reflecting the Penitential Nature of Lent

Carmel Bulletin, 22 February 2015

lent_enviro_08 005Hopefully things look and feel a bit different at Mass this weekend than they did last weekend.

The large banners have come down and the plants and flowers are all gone.  There may be less music, and instruments should only be used to accompany singing, as opposed to being used for solo pieces:

During Lent the altar is not to be decorated with flowers, and the use of musical instruments is allowed only to support the singing… (Ceremonial of Bishops, no. 252)

All this is done for a greater reason than giving our florist, Sofie a break from arranging flowers for us every week (although with all her great work, she does deserve a rest).  The “stripping back” of the space and even elements of the liturgy helps to focus us on the penitential nature of the season.

It is similar to what we are encouraged to do in our own lives.  Lent is a time when we may fast, particularly on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays, or we may choose to abstain from particular things.  Such abstinence may not be specifically from food, but may also be from other material goods or indulgences that we otherwise take for granted.

By taking the opportunity during Lent to do away with those preoccupations, we offer ourselves more time and space to focus on our relationship with God.

Through its twofold theme of repentance and baptism, the season of Lent disposes both the catechumens and the faithful to celebrate the paschal mystery… The faithful, listening more intently to the word of God and devoting themselves to prayer, are prepared [for Easter] through a spirit of repentance to renew their baptismal promises.  (Ceremonial of Bishops, no. 249)


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18/8/13 – Artistic Quality and Beauty

Michaelangelo's "Pieta", St Peter's Basilica, Rome

Michaelangelo’s “Pieta”, St Peter’s Basilica, Rome

Recently I referred to a key statement from the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy about sacred art:

The Church has not adopted any particular style of art as her very own; she has admitted styles from every period… Thus, in the course of the centuries, she has brought into being a treasury of art which must be very carefully preserved. The art of our own days, coming from every race and region, shall also be given free scope in the Church, provided that it adorns the sacred buildings and holy rites with due reverence and honour…

Sacrosanctum Concilium, article 123

It is important that art is part of our church buildings.  Sacred art seeks to reflect something of the beauty of the divine and raise our hearts and minds to God.  It is important, therefore, that artistic works within a church “adorn the sacred buildings and holy rites with due reverence and honour”.  This extends from the more obvious artistic works such as statues and other sacred images, through to the artistic design and appointment of church furniture, sacred vessels (eg patens and chalices) and architectural elements.

Consequently, the artistic works that adorn our church should be of the highest quality that we can provide.  The Church needs to support, encourage and commission the work of talented artists in the field of sacred art.  Artistic works within a church should engender a response within us, and within the generations of people who will engage with and appreciate quality artworks into the future.


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30/9/12 – Liturgy Committee Report

Liturgy CommitteeThe Liturgy Committee met on Thursday 20 September.  As Advent is now only two months away, the committee considered the preparations that would be made for the upcoming liturgical season.  One of the challenges with the season of Advent is to ensure this short season of preparation (a little over three weeks this year) is not lost amidst the insistent Christmas promotion in the commercial world.  Advent remains an important time when we focus once again on preparing ourselves not only for the celebration of Christ’s birth, but also for Christ’s return at the end of time.  Additional elements of art and environment will be included in the parish centre this year to help sustain the Advent focus. Christmas decorations and the like may be included from the beginning of the Christmas novena on 17 December.  Taizé-style evening prayer will be celebrated weekly during Advent.

Work on revising the parish guidelines for the Liturgy of the Word for Children continues, with these guidelines to be finalised by the end of the year.  The implementation and evaluation of these guidelines will begin next year, beginning with a formation workshop for all ministers in early February.  The commencement of the Liturgy of the Word for Children next year will be delayed until the First Sunday of Lent (17 February 2013) so that ministers may participate in the workshops and be formally commissioned prior to commencement.

Parishioners are welcome to raise matters with the Liturgy Committee at any time by emailing litcomwenty (at) gmail (dot) com, or by speaking to Fr Paul or any member of the committee.  If you are corresponding in writing, please ensure your correspondence is signed and return contact details are provided, so that we can respond appropriately.


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18/7/10 – Unity, Hierarchy, Order and Ministry

At present, we are exploring the liturgical principles which underpin our work in the Church Renewal Process.  Having considered active participation, we now consider the third principle, namely:

Unity, hierarchy, order and ministry

This principle is a reminder to us that every person has a role; a part to play in the life of the parish community, especially in its liturgical celebrations.

The Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (see article 28) insisted that in the liturgy, each of us should do all, but only those things that our role requires us to do.  In other words, there should not be one or a few people doing everything.  Furthermore, as we’ve emphasised recent weeks, the celebration of the Mass is not task of the priest, but is an action of Christ and his Church (AKA: us!)

This means that our parish needs to have a full range of ordained and lay ministers who are properly formed and prepared to carry out their duties.  To celebrate the Mass, we require a large number of people – sacristans, art and environment ministers, altar servers, acolytes, music ministers and projector/computer operators, ministers of the word, collectors and ushers, people to present the gifts, extraordinary ministers of communion and the like.  These are a very significant way in which lay people can participate in the life of our community.

It also means that when someone is engaging in one of these ministries during Mass, they should not be doing any other ministry.  In our parish, for example, a number of Ministers of the Word are also Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.  It is fine for these people to carry out these ministries on different occasions.  Yet, when they are required to read or commentate at Mass, they cannot minister communion during that same celebration.

The various liturgical ministries of our parish are necessary for the effective celebration of the Mass.  They reflect our belief that we, the entire assembly gathered to worship, celebrate the Mass in unity with Christ and with each other.  We all have particular ways in which we participate in the celebration of Mass, and we need to encourage others to find ways in which they can serve the community through liturgical ministry.


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20/6/10 – Report on Guiding Concepts Meeting

Church Renovation ProcessLast weekend, our parish held a second meeting with liturgical advisor Fr Stephen Hackett MSC to continue the work of our Church Renewal Process.  A good number of people were in attendance, and we thank those who came along and took part.

The purpose of this meeting was to begin the development of some guiding concepts for the project.  These concepts would form the parish’s own contribution to a design brief.  A design team will take our guiding concepts, as well as the existing plans of the building, relevant church documents, and diocesan and government policies.  Their task will be to develop a plan for our church building which not only meets the various requirements for church buildings, but also reflects our unique nature, beliefs and values as the parish of Wentworthville.

With this in mind, people began to identify areas of need within not only our church building, but within our broader parish community.  Those present were then invited to work in groups (based on their particular topics of interest) to consider these needs in greater detail.  Groups then reported back to all present on the fruit of their deliberations.

The topics discussed covered a range of needs within our community, including Liturgical Ministry, the Disabled and the Elderly, Building and Facilities, Community, Inclusion, Mission, Spirituality, the Liturgical Environment, Finance, Children’s Liturgy of the Word and Devotional Prayer Spaces in the Church.

Over the next few months, a committee formed of members from the Liturgy Committee, Parish Pastoral Council and participants at previous renewal process meetings will take the large amount of data collected and formulate these into the guiding concepts.  Once a draft has been produced, it will be presented to the Liturgy Committee, Pastoral Council and all parishioners for feedback and comment prior to completion.

Thank you again to everyone who supported the meeting and shared their ideas and hopes for our community into the future.