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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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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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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Liturgy Committee Meeting Report

Carmel Bulletin, 23 March 2013

Liturgy, Our Lady of Mount Carmel WentworthvilleThe Liturgy Committee met on Tuesday evening.

This year is the first that a weekday evening Mass has been provided during the season of Lent.  The initial attendance has been promising, and feedback suggests that the Stations of the Cross preceding Mass have been well received.  Over the coming Sundays, the Scrutinies will be celebrated as part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.  The first will be celebrated at 9:00 am Mass this weekend.

The committee reviewed and considered the ritual preparations for the Easter season.  Sunday Masses will again be marked by the celebration of the Blessing and Sprinkling of Holy Water as a reminder of our baptism, our sharing in the death and resurrection of Christ which we particularly celebrate in the fifty days to Pentecost.  This will take the place of the Penitential Act.

Since his arrival in the parish, Fr Paul has gone to some length to ensure the more regular provision of music at our Sunday Masses.  Some Masses are blessed with music on a weekly basis, while at other times, this is a goal still to be realised.  Progress, however is being made, and we thank Fr Paul for his efforts, as well as the music ministers who have agreed to take up new or different roles in order to best meet the needs of the parish.  Parishioners are always welcome to assist as new music ministers at any of our Sunday Masses, either with singing or musical accompaniment.

Progress continues to be made within the new scope of work in the Church Renewal Process, with investigation of various matters essential to the broader master plan underway.  Both the sacramental processes for adults (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA) and children are continuing under Paola Yevenes’ leadership, with the current focus for each being Initiation at the Easter Vigil and the Sacrament of Confirmation respectively.

Comments, questions and feedback about our parish’s liturgical life and practice are always welcome.  Please send a message to the committee in writing, care of the parish office, or email litcomwenty (at) gmail (dot) com.


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Fast and Abstinence

Carmel Bulletin, 2 March 2014

The season of Lent begins this Wednesday.  Both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are particular days of fast and abstinence, and we are encouraged to make these regular practices, especially during this season.

The purpose of our fasting and abstaining is simple – to remove the distractions that the “wants” in our lives cause us, so that we may focus on what we really need.  The first and foremost need in our lives of course being a deep, loving relationship with our God and with each other.  We are called to consider how we may make this penitential practice an authentic part of our Lenten observance, as we hear in the gospel of Ash Wednesday.

Fish Market, © FreeFoto.comThe thought of fasting or abstaining may seem somewhat extreme, or old-fashioned, or both.  It can often be something that is seen as the typical behaviour of “those Catholics”, with the connotations and preconceived notions that come with it.

Yet periods of fast and abstinence are alive and well in the wider community, even if people don’t realise it.  World Vision still fundraises through the 40 Hour Famine each year.  We’re asked every twelve months to abstain from using electricity for an hour (funnily enough, this year on 29 March – during Lent).  Men are encouraged every November to abstain (somewhat) from shaving to support research into prostate cancer, while to support leukaemia research, we’re asked to give up our hair altogether (until it grows back, of course, and again, this will fall during Lent this year).

It all certainly makes not having meat for a handful of Fridays sound pretty tame, doesn’t it?

View and download our Lent, Holy Week and Easter Triduum Schedule

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17/3/13 – St Patrick’s Day is on Monday

Stained glass window of St PatrickIt’s not a mistake.  St Patrick’s Day, for this year at least, is on Monday 18 March.  I hate to disappoint those who hope that Sunday Masses will focus on the patron saint of the Emerald Isle, but that’s the way it goes.

The General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, written after the Second Vatican Council to direct the reforms made to the Church’s liturgical seasons and feasts, begins with the following:

Christ’s saving work is celebrated in sacred memory by the Church on fixed days throughout the year. Each week on the day called the Lord’s Day the Church commemorates the Lord’s resurrection. Once a year at Easter the Church honours this resurrection and passion with the utmost solemnity. In fact through the yearly cycle the Church unfolds the entire mystery of Christ and keeps the anniversaries of the saints.  (article 1)

Our unfolding of “the entire mystery of Christ” is central to our liturgical life and is of upmost importance.  The General Norms include a table of liturgical days in order of precedence.  The Sundays of Advent, Lent and Easter rank among the days of highest importance, following the Easter Triduum, Christmas, the Epiphany, Ascension and Pentecost.

Consequently, when the Church in each country prepares its liturgical calendar, it has to make appropriate determinations when solemnities and feast days fall on Sundays during the Christmas, Advent, Lent and Easter seasons.  As St Patrick’s Day enjoys in Australia the highest rank for a liturgy feast – solemnity – it is transferred to the following Monday whenever it falls on a Sunday during Lent.  The same happens with the solemnity of St Joseph.  As 25 March falls during Holy Week this year, the solemnity of the Annunciation has been transferred to the first day after the conclusion of Holy Week and the Easter Octave, namely Monday 8 April.

Don’t fear though, all will be back to normal next year.  I’m sure there will also be plenty of people who’ll use this year’s circumstances as a good excuse for two days of celebration, rather than one!

Photo: Wikimedia Commons