14/2/10 – National Liturgical Conference

Last weekend, liturgy representatives from virtually every diocese in Australia met in Perth for their biennial conference. Both Judy Kendall (Liturgy Committee member) and I were fortunate to be able to attend as members of our Diocesan Liturgical Commission.

The focus of this conference, and the topic preoccupying the mind of most delegates, was the implementation of a new English translation of the Roman Missal (the Church’s liturgical “prayer book” – we know it as the large, red book the priest uses at the altar). Bishops throughout the English-speaking world have now approved the various sections of this revision. All that remains is the final recognitio (recognition, or approval) from Rome so that books can be published and new texts implemented in parishes.

The 100-plus gathering had the opportunity to listen to two people who have been deeply involved in the translation project, namely Canberra-Goulburn Archbishop Mark Coleridge, and Monsignor Bruce Harbert. Archbishop Coleridge is Chairman of the Australian Bishops’ Committee for Liturgy, as well as the editorial committee for the missal revision. Msgr Harbert is from England and has recently retired as Executive Secretary of the International Committee for English in the Liturgy (ICEL).

We also had the chance to preview a new multimedia resource to help people not only learn about the new translations, but to come to a deeper understanding of the Mass as a whole. An Australian company is developing Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ for a worldwide audience. There was also a chance to see how the revised texts of the Mass have been set to music by a number of Australian composers.

I hope to share more details of the conference with you over the coming weeks.

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