Liturgy Corner

Carmel Parish Bulletin articles from the Liturgy Committee


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Saying Amen

Carmel Bulletin, 8 November 2015

It is the shortest response that we make at any time during the Mass.  It is the most common response.  It is also, I believe, the most important.

The word Amen is a word by which we give assent or affirmation to what has been said.  Often it is described as meaning “so be it”.

Priest leading the Collect Prayer

© Alphonsus Fok, 321 Photography

The response Amen allows the assembly to give its voice to its prayers that are led by the priest.  We confirm that we worship in the name of the Trinity.  We affirm our profession of faith.  The Eucharistic Prayer, with its praise, petition and thanksgiving, comes to its completion with the Great Amen; a response considered so important that it should be sung.

Receiving communion from the chalice

© Alphonsus Fok, 321 Photography

It is interesting, therefore, that some people seem reluctant to respond to the priest, deacon or Extraordinary Minister when they receive communion.  The declarations “The Body of Christ” and “The Blood of Christ” deserve our heartfelt response.  To say Amen is to declare our belief that we are receiving Christ himself.  Not only that, but as St Augustine once explained, we declare our belief that Christ is present within us, and that we say Amen to both what the Eucharist is, and what we are.

To say Amen when we receive communion is a powerful expression of our faith.  So don’t be afraid to speak up!  Say Amen.


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We Pray

Carmel Bulletin, 16 February 2014

THE_LORD__S_PRAYER_by_navalatanjjnnLast year, we began to look at some of the things we do as a liturgical assembly when we gather together to celebrate the Mass.

It seems to go without saying that one of the things we would do, perhaps the thing that we do, is pray.

Our prayer in the Mass takes on particular forms, words and patterns that have been shaped over centuries.  There are times where we are invited to pray collectively, each of us giving our voice to the communal prayer of the Church.  There are times when the priest gives voice to our communal praise and thanksgiving; the Eucharistic Prayer being the best example.

There are other times when we call to mind our own prayers and intentions.  Such times include the collect prayers of the Mass when the priest invites us: “Let us pray”.  In the Prayer of the Faithful, after the intention is named by the minister, we take a moment to make own prayer, before we ask God to hear us.  It is these personal prayers that we, the faithful, make that are “The Prayer of the Faithful”.  Silence in the Mass is important for those moments of personal prayer and recollection.

Actions of the Assembly

Actions of the Assembly

Silence is also important for us to be open to God’s response to us.  Prayer is not a one-way communication from us to God.  It is a dialogue between the human and the divine.  We are fortunate in our parish to be able to learn from the Carmelite example, where silence and contemplation are so highly valued as a means of allowing us to speak to God, and for God to speak to us.

Photo credit: The Lord’s Prayer by navalatanjjnn


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Liturgy Committee Meeting Report

Carmel Bulletin, 15 September 2013

Liturgy | Our Lady of Mount Carmel, WentworthvilleThe Liturgy Committee met at the end of August.

One matter the committee considered was that raised at the previous Pastoral Council meeting, namely the concern that parishioners are not able to participate in the prayers and responses of the Mass due to an inability to remember and access the texts.  For those who find the print of the pew cards too small, copies of booklets with the prayers and responses of the Mass in larger print are now available for you to take from the literature stand in the parish centre.  The committee also discussed the importance of everyone making an effort to learn and remember the texts of the Mass.  Every parishioner, including liturgical ministers and members of the assembly, is encouraged to commit themselves to participate as fully, consciously and actively as possible in the liturgical celebration.

The Liturgy Committee also began to examine the teaching of the Second Vatican Council on sacred art.  As we continue to progress towards adopting a design for the renewal of the church, it will be necessary to consider how the different elements that make up the church, such as artworks, will contribute to the overall makeup of the building.  The Council Fathers remind us that the Church has adopted artistic styles from every period over the centuries, and that the Church continues to have a responsibility to support artists and encourage truly beautiful, sacred art that adorns the church building with reverence and honour.


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4/3/12 – CommUNION

Recently, Fr Paul has written in Carmel reminding us of some matters concerning the celebration of Communion during Mass.

Communion ProcessionAsking all of us to be consistent in how we process to the front of the church and receive communion is not simply about efficiency, safety and the like.

A common bodily posture, to be observed by all those taking part, is a sign of the unity of the members of the Christian community gathered together for the Sacred Liturgy, for it expresses the intentions and spiritual attitude of the participants and also fosters them.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 42

As Fr Paul has also reminded us, when approaching to receive communion, we are asked to bow towards the Blessed Sacrament being given to us as a sign of reverence.  This allows us to offer a common sign of reverence whilst maintaining the flow of the communion procession.

Once we have received communion, the procession continues as we return to our seats.  Everyone is encouraged to spend time in silent prayer after receiving communion, and people may choose to do this whilst kneeling or sitting.  It is only at our seat, however, that this silent prayer should take place.

Praying at the Marian Shrine or at the images of the saints, and asking for their intercession is something that many people find spiritually nourishing, but this is only appropriate before or after Mass.  During Mass, our focus is rightly upon Christ, whose death and resurrection we celebrate, and whose body and blood we receive in holy communion.


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19/2/12 – Lent and the Apostle’s Creed

AshesThis Wednesday the Church enters once again into the season of Lent.  During the season of Lent, the catechumens (those preparing to belong to the Church) enter into the final period of purification and enlightenment.  The journey of these elect during Lent is marked by more intense spiritual preparation, interior reflection and penance.

For those of us already baptised, our observance of Lent is an opportunity to journey in solidarity with the elect.  We commit ourselves again to our baptismal calling.  Our works of prayer, fasting and almsgiving allow us to focus intently once again on our relationship with God; the same relationship upon which the elect are focused at this time.  As such, both baptism and penance characterise the Lenten season.

The new English translation of the Missal, which we began to use last year, now allows for either the Nicene or Apostle’s Creeds to be prayed for the Profession of Faith during Mass.  The Apostle’s Creed is recommended in the Missal for the seasons of Lent and Easter, due to its connection with baptism.  As such, we will pray the Apostle’s Creed at Mass during the seasons of Lent and Easter.


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6/2/11 – What Happens At Mass, Part I

During the course of this year, we will gradually begin to use the texts of the revised translation of the Roman Missal.  This is not just a time when we need to learn new words, but will hopefully be an opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the Mass.  Here we will take a closer look at what happens at Mass.

Obviously, before Mass begins, we have to come to the church.  Some people arrive quite early and prepare for Mass by taking time to pray, perhaps moving around the church for a time to pray before the images of saints and perhaps to pray before the Blessed Sacrament at the tabernacle.  Others arrive closer to starting time.  In any case, there should be some time for silent prayer before Mass.  What Fr Paul has encouraged us to do in recent months is not simply a matter of personal preference.  The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (no. 45) states that:

Even before the celebration itself, it is commendable that silence be observed in the church, in the sacristy, in the vesting room, and in adjacent areas, so that all may dispose themselves to carry out the sacred action in a devout and fitting manner.

To arrive even a short time before Mass and engage in some silent prayer helps all of us to prepare for fulfilling our role as participants in the Eucharistic celebration.  It is an important role which requires the focus and attention of us all from beginning to end.

As such, arriving on time for Mass is very important.  There can be an unexpected situation that causes someone to be late on a rare occasion.  To be regularly late, however, means that you’re not ready and able to fulfil your role as a member of the liturgical assembly.  For better or worse, the concept of being “fashionably late” doesn’t apply to Mass!


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10/10/10 – Silence After Communion

Last week, Fr Paul advised us that the timing of the collections would change from this weekend.  Fr Paul’s main reason for doing this was to provide an uninterrupted period of time after communion.  Some people may recall that Fr Laurie doing a similar thing during his time as parish priest.

One of the things we can do after communion is engage in a period of silent prayer and reflection.  This is a very worthwhile practice, and I am sure that you will appreciate the opportunity to do this without having to stop for a collection.  After communion, however, is not the only time we are called to pause for silent prayer and reflection during the Mass.  The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (article 45) says the following:

Sacred silence also, as part of the celebration, is to be observed at the designated times. Its purpose, however, depends on the time it occurs in each part of the celebration. Thus within the Act of Penitence and again after the invitation to pray, all recollect themselves; but at the conclusion of a reading or the Homily, all meditate briefly on what they have heard; then after Communion, they praise and pray to God in their hearts.

Hopefully, as we get used to this change of collection times, our attention will be drawn again to the need to pause for silent contemplation during the Mass, and not just because the liturgical documents call for it.  As a Carmelite parish, time for silent prayer and reflection is important as it is part of who we are.

Quiet contemplation has always been part of the charism of the Carmelites.  Perhaps take some time before or after Mass to focus on our tabernacle and its artwork, inspired by the prophet Elijah’s encounter with God in the sheer silence on Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:11-14)