Liturgy Corner

Carmel Parish Bulletin articles from the Liturgy Committee

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Recommendations from the Parish Pastoral Council regarding the Church and other buildings

Carmel Bulletin, 24 November 2013

Church Renewal ProcessAt its meeting last Tuesday night, the Parish Pastoral Council received recommendations from the Church Renewal Committee and me, Fr Paul, which we had formulated at our meeting the previous week.

These recommendations came after a long and thorough process of study, reflection and discernment by the Liturgy Committee and the Church Renewal Committee, dating back to 2007.

With all the background process taken into account, the Church Renewal Committee and I put the following recommendations to the Parish Pastoral Council, which it endorsed:

  • Preserve current North/South orientation of Church with centre aisle
  • Retain sanctuary space as is
  • Preserve Narthex as is
  • Retain Choir Gallery as is – doing any necessary repairs to make safe
  • Retain Marian Shrine
  • Plan staged introduction/management of following issues as finances permit:
  • Seek architectural advice and confirm that there are no structural issues to be addressed in the Church before proceeding further
  • Look to developing Master Plan for overall Parish Plant (considering car parking, parish offices and toilets in particular) before embarking on staged Development Plan for the Church
  • Commission new liturgical furniture (Altar, Ambo, Baptismal Font, President’s Chair, Tabernacle stand)
  • Consider placement of a new Baptismal Font
  • Make minor adjustments to seating in light of placement of a new Baptismal Font and processional needs – then recarpet the sanctuary and the body of the Church as appropriate
  • Renew both Bennett & Garfield Street entrances – to create more light at the back of the Church, brighter vista for the Church and greater architectural consistency between the various Church buildings on the streetscape
  • Develop new toilets
  • Repair kneelers as necessary and consider removal of kneelers in front rows
  • Blinds for western windows

I am very grateful to all those in the Liturgy Committee and the Church Renewal Committee for their commitment, over a long period of time, to the Church Renewal project. I think we have arrived at a point where we can now proceed further, having agreed on the parameters and process for taking the project forward. As I have said above, we will be proceeding step-by-step and as finances allow.

We will keep parishioners informed of any significant plans for changes as they are developed, inviting feedback on anything that is proposed.

Paul Cahill OCarm
Parish Priest

Frances Sullivan
Chair, Parish Pastoral Council


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Church Renewal Committee Report

Carmel Bulletin, 22 September 2013

Church Renewal ProcessIn July, architect Jesse Mowbray presented to the Church Renewal Committee three potential design options for the renewal and reordering of the church.  Early this month, the committee met to consider these options and propose the adoption of a suitable option. This has been a lengthy process, but has been necessary to ensure the best possible result.

The three options presented offered a range of options and provide some ‘food for thought’.  There are some ideas presented which we believe fit well for the overall vision for our parish and its liturgical space.  Other proposals that Jesse has made challenge us to think about how we can improve on issues such as encouraging the entire assembly to gather together in the church whenever possible, rather than be spread out between church and narthex.

The Church Renewal Committee has now responded to the architect, outlining our discernment so far and the principles and ideas that have arisen within our discussions as being of highest priority.  In the meantime, our incoming parish priest, Fr Paul Cahill, will be briefed on the process to date so that he may be ready to make his own contribution to the process once he arrives.

Further details are available in the latest edition of the Church Renewal Process Update newsletter, available in the literature stand in the parish centre, or online.  Any comments, questions or feedback on the Church Renewal Process can be sent in writing to the parish office, emailed to litcomwenty (at) gmail (dot) com, or made in person to committee members.

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9/9/12 – Church Renewal Committee Report

Church Renewal ProcessThe Church Renewal Committee met recently and finalised details of the renewal of the Church.

Staged Works

The Church Renewal Committee envisages the completion of work in three stages.  Stage 1, to be completed as soon as possible, includes necessary maintenance work and reordering of the church.  Stage 2 is the installation of mechanical heating and/or cooling systems when funds allow.  The final stage will involve possible modification of the parish centre to accommodate additional toilet and storage facilities.


The finance committee has confirmed that the parish has funds saved that will be allocated to the completion of Stage 1.  These funds will meet the maintenance works that must be undertaken, with funds remaining to meet reordering costs.  We will seek donations for aspects of the renewal of the church, but intend to complete Stage 1 without going into debt.


The Church Renewal Committee will begin the process of developing a plan by working in collaboration with architect Jesse Mowbray.  Jesse, a parishioner of the Diocese, has a particular interest in church architecture.  He is already familiar with the Guiding Concepts for this project, and has a good working relationship with our liturgical consultant, Fr Stephen Hackett MSC.

Further information about our recent progress can be found in the latest edition of the Church Renewal Process Update newsletter, available in the parish centre today or online.

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12/8/12 – Church Renewal Committee Report

Church Renewal ProcessThe Church Renewal Committee has met twice in recent weeks.

For the first of these meetings, we invited an architect to join us for an initial conversation.  The architect was recommended to us by Fr Stephen Hackett MSC, our liturgical consultant for the renewal process.  A very productive and fruitful discussion was had at this meeting.  The architect indicated that we already had much of the documentation and information in place that would be necessary for the development of design concepts.

The Church Renewal Committee met again this week to consider whether the architect should be appointed to the project.  The committee is confident that the architect would be able to develop an effective design that would reflect the vision and needs of our parish community into the future.

The committee is concerned, however, that more specific details may need to be developed to supplement the guiding concepts, thus making clearer the scope of work given to an architect.  The finance committee has been asked to determine the budget for the project.  This material will now be developed over future meetings before the architect is formally engaged.

Please remember that you can review the process that has been undertaken so far, and the Guiding Concepts, at  Feedback on the process can be sent to the committee via the parish office or by email to litcomwenty (at) gmail (dot) com.

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1/7/12 – Church Renewal Committee Report

Church Renewal ProcessThe Church Renewal Committee met on Wednesday to continue the planning process.

Given the amount of expenditure required, the finance committee has since sought further quotes for the painting of the interior of the church.  The three quotes now obtained vary significantly, and further examination is needed.  The finance committee also intends to make some inquiries regarding the cost of refinishing the timber floorboards.  The quotes being collected will assist the finance committee in determining what works can be funded from parish savings, and what would need to be funded from other sources, such as direct parishioner donation.

The Church Renewal Committee also considered the feedback it received from Fr Stephen Hackett, Liturgical Consultant for the process.  While some work has been done to try and envisage different ideas for the arrangement and general plan of the church, it is a challenge to try and develop a single idea which successfully balances the desires of our community as expressed in the Guiding Concepts.

As such, Fr Stephen recommended to the committee that an architect be consulted.  In seeking the advice of an architect, the committee sees the potential to draw upon specialised expertise and experience.  Through the architect drawing together the parish’s guiding concepts, liturgical requirements, existing ideas and practical needs, a more cohesive plan can be developed of how the church can be shaped to serve the parish into the future.

The Church Renewal Committee will now make contact with an architect recommended by Fr Stephen, and initiate a professional conversation to determining the feasibility and suitability of developing design concepts.

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10/6/12 – The Arrangement of the Church: Sanctuary

As we advised recently, the Church Renewal Committee is currently working through the planning process, considering how the church can be shaped and ordered to best fulfil the vision articulated by parishioners during the consultation process.  The Guiding Concepts developed from this consultation are, therefore, an important measure to work by.

Existing Sanctuary

3D sketch of the interior of the church showing the sanctuary in its present location and arrangement

Many parishioners during the consultation period have spoken about the placement and arrangement of the sanctuary.  This, in turn, obviously has implications for the placement and arrangement of the liturgical assembly that gathers before or around it.

The suggestions made for the placement of the sanctuary stem from a range of concerns, including visibility of the sanctuary from within the church and narthex as a focal point within the space, and providing an increased sense that we actively participate in, and not just observe the Eucharistic celebration.

As a result of our consultation, our Guiding Concepts state that:

The church needs to be arranged such that, as much as possible, the community is gathered around the altar and ambo, giving the sense that all of us gathered participate in the celebration of the Eucharist. 

While this can be very easy to achieve in a new building, it is a greater challenge when renovating an existing building such as ours, where a balance must also be found with our other hopes for the church, maintaining a reasonable seating capacity, and respecting the architectural integrity of the building which, for better or worse, has been built in a way that naturally sets its focal points along its north-south axis.

The Church Renewal Committee will continue to consider how the church can be best ordered to fulfil the vision articulated in the Guiding Concepts.  In the meantime, remember the look at the additional material provided at  Thank you also to those who have recently send in feedback about the process – it is always welcome, and can be given to Fr Paul, myself, the parish office, or emailed to

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20/5/12 – Church Renewal Committee Report

Church Renewal ProcessLast month, the Church Renewal Committee met again to continue the planning process.

A quote was tabled for the painting of the clerestory (upper level) of the church interior, as well as the refinishing of the ceiling, end walls of the church (sanctuary and choir gallery) and other selected elements such as the timber wall on the front of the choir gallery.  This has helped to give a clearer picture regarding the cost involved.  The matter will be taken up by the finance committee, who will provide further information to parishioners as required.

Further advice was sought on movement within the floor of the building, with a full report promised.  It was noted that while some movement occurred in the floor at one point, no further movement has occurred for several years, which is considered to be a positive sign.

The committee also began initial discussions about how the vision for the parish and its church, articulated in the Guiding Concepts, may be best expressed in the way the church is arranged and ordered.  There was an overwhelming desire to preserve as much of the church’s seating capacity as possible.  Also expressed was the need to respect the architectural form of the building which, for better or worse, suits itself to having its main focal points, such as the sanctuary, set along the longer north-south axis of the building.

An update on this discussion has since been provided to our liturgical consultant, Fr Stephen Hackett MSC, and he has already responded with feedback.  The committee will meet again in due course to consider Fr Stephen’s advice and continue our discussion around how the church can be best arranged and designed to support our parish community and the liturgy we celebrate.