Liturgy Corner

Carmel Parish Bulletin articles from the Liturgy Committee

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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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19/6/11 – Guiding Concepts

Our Church: ever ancient, ever newYou may recall that last year, two parish meetings were held as part of our Church Renewal Process.  The latter of these was primarily focused on sharing the important aspects and values of our parish community that should be kept in mind when preparing plans to renew the liturgical space.

From this meeting, the discussions of the parishioners present were to be drawn together into a set of guiding concepts that who assist those who will responsible for preparing design plans.  After a long drafting process, the most recent draft of these guiding concepts is now available.

If you attended the parish guiding concepts meeting last year, we ask that you take a copy of the draft home with you – they are available today from the parish centre.  Please read over them and consider whether they reflect what was shared by parishioners at the meeting.  Attached to the draft is a form to note any comments you may have and return to the box in the narthex.  We ask that you return your comments by the end of June.

You can also access the draft from our parish website.  Also there is a comparison document, which we hope may be helpful in seeing how the various comments and thoughts shared at the meeting have been incorporated into the guiding concepts.

Once the feedback from parishioners has been received, we review the guiding concepts if necessary and seek to release the final draft of the concepts to all parishioners as soon as possible.

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22/8/10 – The General Plan of the Church

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 sixth principle, namely:

The general plan of the church

Over the centuries, many Catholic churches have been built.  Very rarely is one church building identical to another, and the layout, design and style of the buildings has changed immensely over the period of almost two thousand years.  So what, then, are the basic requirements for the general plan of a church?

Firstly, the liturgical documents since Vatican II focus on the church being arranged so that “it in some way conveys the image of the gathered assembly” (Rite of Dedication of a Church and Altar, Ch 2, No 3; General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 294) It is a reminder to us once again that it is the whole Church, each of us gathered together that becomes one body in Christ and celebrates the liturgy.  There needs to be, therefore, spaces for each of the various ministries to be carried out.  Once again, the arrangement of the church should encourage full, conscious and active participation of everyone in the liturgy.

Considering the matter of participation further, the most recent General Instruction of the Roman Missal encourages the provision of seating for the assembly, as well as ensuring good lines of sight to focal points such as the ambo, altar and presidential chair.  It encourages us to provide adequate sound amplification, and space to allow us to move as necessary during the Mass – both to sit, stand and kneel as required, but also to move in procession to communion (GIRM, 311).

Also, while the church is a liturgical space, we are also challenged to think about how our place of worship also provides the usual comforts that people come to expect when they gather in public buildings.  This could include facilities such as toilets and parking, but also extend to other areas such as suitable climate control (GIRM, 293).

Finally, our Guiding Concepts Committee met last weekend to draw together the material and feedback gained from parishioners during our meeting with Fr Stephen Hackett MSC in June.  A draft of the guiding concepts has been prepared and is being reviewed by the committee before it is presented to all parishioners in due course.

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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.

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6/6/10 – Play Your Part Next Sunday

Church Renewal ProcessNext Sunday, the process of renewing our parish church reaches an important turning point.

For most of the past two years, we’ve spent time coming to understand why there is a need to undertake this renewal process.  We’ve learnt more about how the Catholic Church celebrates the liturgy since the Second Vatican Council.  We’ve learnt more about how and why the design and architecture of modern churches is different to the older churches that we may be used to seeing and praying in.

Next Sunday, we begin the process of preparing plans for the renovation of our church.  The first step we will take on Sunday is that of having parishioners prepare Guiding Concepts for the project.

These guiding concepts will be given to an architect.  The architect will use them, along with the guidelines provided in Church documents, to prepare a renovation plan that meets our needs and reflects what we believe and value.

When parishes engage in renovation projects, some parishioners can be dissatisfied with the end result.  This is often because they have not made the effort to have their say during the process, to make sure their voice is heard.

This meeting is the opportunity for you to play your part in the planning process.  Every parishioner has the right to, and needs to have their say.  Don’t put it off and hope there will be another time to share your thoughts and ideas with your fellow parishioners and our planning time.  Now is the time.

More details can be found on the flyer attached to Carmel.  If you are coming along, make sure you register your attendance on the sheets in the parish centre today.

We look forward to seeing you next Sunday.

Fr Paul Sireh OCarm                                                           Robert Barden
Administrator                                                                        Liturgy Coordinator

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9/5/10 – Next Church Renewal Process Meeting

Church Renewal Process, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, WentworthvilleDuring Lent, we continued with our Church Renewal Process by having a consultation meeting with parishioners.  A good group of interested parishioners learnt more about the reasons for the process and the principles upon which any kind of church renewal work is based.

As our Liturgical Advisor, Fr Stephen Hackett MSC, explained to those in attendance, another meeting would be held in the following months.  This next meeting will be held on Sunday 13 June, so we suggest you mark this date in your diary now.  Fr Stephen will facilitate this meeting once again.

The purpose of this meeting is to work on developing some Guiding Concepts for our church renewal work.

Guiding concepts are essentially statements of principles and values which our parish community consider to be of utmost importance, particularly in relation to our church building.  The meeting will provide opportunity for parishioners to make their contributions, which will then be drawn together into clear and concise statements.

This work of drawing together and writing will be undertaken by a specially-formed working group. It will be comprised of some members of the Liturgy Committee, but also of other parishioners who have not been directly involved in the leadership of the Church Renewal Process.  Their work will then be brought back to parishioners for review and agreement.

This is another opportunity to make your contribution to the Church Renewal Process.  It is another opportunity to share what you believe is important about our parish community and the building in which it worships.  Make sure you keep 13 June free.

Are you coming to the meeting?  Make sure you contact our Parish Office now so we know to provide lunch for you!