Liturgy Corner

Carmel Parish Bulletin articles from the Liturgy Committee


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Liturgy Committee Meeting Report

Carmel Bulletin, 24 August 2014

The Liturgy Committee last met on Thursday 7 August.Liturgy, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Wentworthville

There have been some suggestions over a period of time about making an effort to specifically invite and encourage families to participate in Sunday Mass in particular ways on a regular basis.  Paola Yevenes, our Sacramental Coordinator (and member of the Liturgy Committee) has been working on a proposal that the committee will work on with Paola and the school.  We anticipate putting the ideas into place from the beginning of next year.

The committee evaluated the liturgical celebration of the parish feast day.  It was pleasing to see the positive response to the welcoming of new parishioners at the 10:30 am Mass on the day, as well as the participation of students from our primary school and our Lay Carmelite community.  We thank everyone who was involved in the celebrations.

Finally, our continuing evaluation and review of our celebration of Sunday Mass focused this time on the Liturgy of the Word.  We considered how we can help focus the attention of the assembly on the proclamation of the Scriptures, and support both new and existing Ministers of the Word in proclaiming the Word effectively.  This discussion will continue at our next meeting.

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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9/10/11 – Standing Up (and bowing… and genuflecting) for What You Believe In

Recently we have been looking at the postures and gestures that we engage in during Mass.  Each is intended to help us direct our minds and hearts more intently towards what we are celebrating.

Last week, we looked at some of the gestures and postures that are used during the first part of the Liturgy of the Word, primarily the scripture readings.

After the homily, we stand for the Profession of Faith and the Prayer of the Faithful.  This is another time during the Mass where we stand as an assembly because we are actively engaged in the role of praying.

Given that we are often told to “stand up for what we believe in”, it seems to make sense that we stand when we profess our faith.  Outside of the Church, standing is a posture used for important occasions related to our beliefs and values, such as the national anthem or a minute’s silence on Anzac Day.  To sit for such things (unless we are unable to stand, of course) is considered inappropriate and disrespectful.  Standing can be interpreted as a sign of commitment, resolve and pride – all feelings that should exist within us when we profess our faith through the creed.

The creed has within it another gesture to acknowledge an important element of our faith.  Again, this is a gesture that has always been included in the missal, but has fallen into disuse.  During the Profession of Faith, when we recall the incarnation and Jesus becoming man, we bow.  Like other times when we bow, this is a sign of reverence, and is included in the rubrics of the missal for both the Niceno-Constantinopolitan and Apostle’s Creeds.  Furthermore, when we celebrate this aspect of our faith at Christmas time, the missal asks us to genuflect instead; thus requiring of us an even more profound sign of reverence on such an important occasion.

Finally, much of what I’ve written in Liturgy Links this year has been related to the introduction of the new English translation of the Roman Missal, which has gradually taken place since January.  This week, our parish finally received its copy of the new edition of the Missal, meaning we can now celebrate the Mass in its entirety according to the new translation.  You will notice differences to the Collect (Opening Prayer), Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer After Communion from now on.  Use of the new translation is mandatory in Australia from All Saints Day.


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2/10/11 – Postures, Gestures and the Gospel Proclamation

Recently we have been looking at the postures and gestures that we engage in duringMass.  Each is intended to help us direct our minds and hearts more intently towards what we are celebrating.

While some of the gestures of Mass have fallen into disuse, one that has not been lost is the gesture prior to the proclamation of the gospel.

Once the priest announces the gospel reading, each of us signs ourselves with the cross three times; once each on the forehead, lips and chest as we say (or sing) the response, “Glory to you, O Lord.”  Signing ourselves with the cross these three times serves as a prayer or petition in itself.  Through signing ourselves with the cross we ask that the word of Christ be always in our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts.  In other words, we pray that all that we say and do in our lives may make the gospel of Jesus something very real for us today.

Posture is also an important part of the Liturgy of the Word.  During the Introductory Rites we stand, united as the Body of Christ that has been gathered and formed to share in the ultimate act of thanksgiving that is the celebration of the Eucharist.  Standing is also the typical posture for any time that the assembly prays during the liturgy, and the Introductory Rites include several different forms of prayer.

For the first and second readings, as well as the responsorial psalm, we sit and listen to the word of God.  The role of the assembly has changed here from praying, to listening to the scripture proclamations.  We stand again for the gospel, but not because we resume the role of praying.  We stand because the gospel is the high pointof the Liturgy of the Word.  God speaks to us through all of the readings, but Christ is particularly made present to us through the proclamation of the gospel.  The introduction to the Lectionary for Mass (book of readings) reminds us that “Christ himself is the centre and fullness of all of Scripture, as he is of the entire liturgy” (article 5).  Our standing for the gospel is a sign and acknowledgement of the particular importance of the gospel both in the celebration of Mass, and in our lives as Christians.


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29/5/11 – What Happens at Mass, Part X: The Creed

The introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal is not just a chance to learn new words, but will hopefully be an opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the Mass.

The Profession of Faith is one way we respond to what we have heard in the scripture readings during Mass.  The translation of the Nicene-Constantinople Creed has been revised, as has the translation of the Apostles’ Creed.

One of the noticeable elements of the new translation of the Nicene-Constantinople Creed is that the existing text “We believe…” is replaced with “I believe…”  Although it is a seemingly small change, it will no doubt take some getting used to.  Some people will wonder why this change occurred, and may agree or disagree with it.

As we’ve already discussed, the new translation of the Missal is characterised by a closer, word-for-word translation of the Latin text into English.  The Latin word Credo, which begins the creed, translates into English as “I believe”.  There is more to consider here, however, than simply translation.

As we discussed last week, the creed did not become a commonly used prayer during the Mass for about 600 years after it was developed.  It was originally intended as a personal or individual profession of faith.  Parents are asked to renew their baptismal promises when they want their child to be baptised.  Confirmation candidates are asked to profess their faith, as are adults when they approach Christian Initiation.  Each of us is invited to renew our baptismal promises at Easter time.  In each case, we respond not with “We do”, but “I do”, for each of us is called to give personal testimony and witness to our faith.

While we have been used to saying “We believe…” each Sunday, the upcoming change back to “I believe…” does not try to deny the communal nature of the Eucharistic celebration.  The use of the words “I believe…” will hopefully challenge each of us to personally consider our subscription to the faith of the Church and its consequences.  Our communal praying of the creed will hopefully serve as a sign to each of us that we stand in solidarity with everybody who belongs to this community of faith.


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23/5/11 – What Happens at Mass, Part IX – The Liturgy of the Word

The introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal is not just a chance to learn new words, but will hopefully be an opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the Mass.

In the Liturgy of the Word, God speaks to us.  Through the proclamation of the scriptures at Mass, Christ is made present amongst us.  After the Second Vatican Council, one of the obvious reforms to the Mass was the increased use of scripture.  After we listen to God’s word in the readings and have it broken open for us in the homily, we respond by professing our faith and praying for the needs of the Church and the world.

For most of the Liturgy of the Word, there is very little that will be affected by the new translation of the Missal.  The one part that will be obviously different, however, is the Profession of Faith.  The Nicene-Constantinople Creed is retained, although the words will change.

This creed takes its name from the Church councils where it was formulated and ratified.  At the time, it was never intended to serve as a liturgical text.  The creed, which came out of the First Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in the fourth century, was a direct response to the divisions being caused in the Church by the theories of Arius, who argued that Christ was created by God, rather than being God.

After declaring that God the Father and the Son are consubstantial (“of the same substance”) at Nicaea in 325 AD, the credal statements on the Holy Spirit, the Church, baptism, resurrection of the dead and everlasting life were developed at the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD.  This then completed the elements of the creed as we know it today.

It was not until the end of the millennium that the creed started to be used as a prayer during the Mass itself.  Eventually in 1014 it was adopted by Pope Benedict VIII.  It now forms part of our response to God’s word on Sundays and solemnities.


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15/5/11 – What Happens at Mass, Part VIII – The Collect and Readings

The introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal is not just a chance to learn new words, but will hopefully be an opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the Mass.

Opening PrayerAfter the Gloria, we conclude the Introductory Rites with the Opening Prayer.  The opening prayer is also referred to as the collect.  As this name suggests, the prayer serves the purpose of collecting together the intentions of all the people who are assembled to celebrate the Mass together.  It then also helps us all to draw our minds towards what we are to celebrate.  After the priest invites us to pray, there should be a brief period of silence to allow us to bring our intentions to mind.

In the new English translation of the Roman Missal, each of the opening prayers has been revised.  We will more than likely be able to tell when the revised opening prayers are used, because their language and structure will change.

Deacon proclaiming the gospelAfter the opening or collect prayer, we then move into the Liturgy of the Word.  The scriptures are proclaimed and we participate by listening.

The main part of the Liturgy of the Word is made up of the readings from Sacred Scripture together with the chants occurring between them. The Homily, Profession of Faith, and Prayer of the Faithful, however, develop and conclude this part of the Mass. For in the readings, as expounded by the Homily, God speaks to his people, opening up to them the mystery of redemption and salvation, and offering them spiritual nourishment; and Christ himself is present in the midst of the faithful through his word.  By their silence and singing the people make God’s word their own, and they also affirm their adherence to it by means of the Profession of Faith.  Finally, having been nourished by it, they pour out their petitions in the Prayer of the Faithful for the needs of the entire Church and for the salvation of the whole world.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 55


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24/10/10 – Silence During the Liturgy of the Word

We have been looking at the place of silence within the celebration of Mass over the past few weeks.  Last week, we looked at the place of silence during the Act of Penitence and the Opening Prayer.

Another time during Mass when silence is encouraged is after each of the readings and the homily.

During the Act of Penitence and Opening Prayer, the purpose of the periods of silence is to allow for the recollection of our thoughts and intentions.  The silent periods we should observe during the Liturgy of the Word, however, have a different purpose.

After each of the readings, and again after the homily, we are encouraged to take time to reflect on what we have just heard.  We believe that when the scriptures are proclaimed at Mass, God speaks to us.  Furthermore, Christ is particularly made present to us through the proclamation of the gospel.  It is important, therefore, to meditate briefly on just what is the message that God has for us today in the readings.  Even if we are familiar with the story, each time we hear it we have the chance to pick up on something we haven’t focussed on before.

After the homily, we should take some time to consider what has been said to us, and how the scriptures proclaimed to us today may help to guide us as we go forth into the next week.

Some parishioners may recall some of priests of years past inviting to take a moment “to allow the Word of God to find a place within our hearts.”  This is a helpful way of understanding the purpose of silence within the Liturgy of the Word at Mass.