The Year of Mercy

Carmel Bulletin, 13 December 2015

Year of MercyThe Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, which Pope Francis announced earlier this year, has now begun.  On Tuesday, Pope Francis opened the holy door at St Peter’s Basilica.

On Sunday evening (Sydney time), he will go to the cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome, the Basilica of St John Lateran, to open the holy door there.

This weekend will also see holy doors open at cathedrals around the world.  The central ceremonial doors at St Patrick’s Cathedral at Parramatta, usually closed and reserved for the most special of occasions, will be opened by Fr Peter Williams (Diocesan Administrator).  People will be able to pass through these doors any time from now until the Solemnity of Christ the King in November 2016.

The document (formally called a “bull of indiction”) through which Pope Francis officially called for this Year of Mercy helps to remind us of the boundless nature of God’s mercy, which we can celebrate and experience in a multitude of ways.  One way is through penance and reconciliation.

As we approach the season of Christmas, we remember that John the Baptist calls us, just as he called the people of his time, to repent and prepare a way for the Lord in our lives.  We will pray for, and celebrate the loving mercy of God at our Penitential Service on Wednesday evening.  I invite you to join us for this celebration, or to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation next Saturday morning from 9:30 – 10:30 am.

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9/12/12 – Liturgy Committee Report

Liturgy CommitteeThe Liturgy Committee met for the final time in 2012 last month.

Final arrangements were made for the celebration of the seasons of Advent and Christmas.  All parishioners are invited to join Fr Paul for Advent Prayer and Reflection on the next two Wednesday evenings.  Christmas Mass times remain the same as in previous years, and are available here in Carmel, on the posters at the church entrance, and on our parish website.

The revised guidelines for Children’s Liturgy of the Word that were recently drafted were approved by Fr Paul and the committee.  These can be found on our website.  To support Ministers of Children’s Liturgy of the Word in their work, formation workshops will be held in early February next year, prior to the commencement of Children’s Liturgy of the Word on the First Sunday of Lent.

Initial preparations were also made for the Season of Lent in 2013, which will start on 13 February (Easter will be early next year on 31 March).  The scriptures of the season were considered, and existing practices were reviewed to see how the season could be best celebrated.

Finally, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Liturgy Committee for its support and hard work during 2013: Fr Paul, Denise Alderman, Lyn Craddy, Janine Hanna, Lyn McQueeney and Natalie Stewart.

Robert Barden
Liturgy Coordinator

30/9/12 – Liturgy Committee Report

Liturgy CommitteeThe Liturgy Committee met on Thursday 20 September.  As Advent is now only two months away, the committee considered the preparations that would be made for the upcoming liturgical season.  One of the challenges with the season of Advent is to ensure this short season of preparation (a little over three weeks this year) is not lost amidst the insistent Christmas promotion in the commercial world.  Advent remains an important time when we focus once again on preparing ourselves not only for the celebration of Christ’s birth, but also for Christ’s return at the end of time.  Additional elements of art and environment will be included in the parish centre this year to help sustain the Advent focus. Christmas decorations and the like may be included from the beginning of the Christmas novena on 17 December.  Taizé-style evening prayer will be celebrated weekly during Advent.

Work on revising the parish guidelines for the Liturgy of the Word for Children continues, with these guidelines to be finalised by the end of the year.  The implementation and evaluation of these guidelines will begin next year, beginning with a formation workshop for all ministers in early February.  The commencement of the Liturgy of the Word for Children next year will be delayed until the First Sunday of Lent (17 February 2013) so that ministers may participate in the workshops and be formally commissioned prior to commencement.

Parishioners are welcome to raise matters with the Liturgy Committee at any time by emailing litcomwenty (at) gmail (dot) com, or by speaking to Fr Paul or any member of the committee.  If you are corresponding in writing, please ensure your correspondence is signed and return contact details are provided, so that we can respond appropriately.

21/12/08 – The Jesse Tree (Week 4)

On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, four more symbols will be added to the Jesse Tree by the children.  These recall the story of our ancestors in faith.  They also recall the covenant between God and us, a covenant sealed through the fulfilment of God’s promise of a Messiah.  In Advent we prepare to celebrate the Messiah’s birth in the Christmas season, as well as for our Messiah’s return at the end of time.

David. David is remembered as the great king of the people of Israel in the Old Testament times.  The Messiah who is promised is said to be of the line of King David.  Joseph, the husband of Mary was a descendant of David, and thus makes complete the promise of Jesus, the Messiah born of David’s line.

Mary. Mary, of course, is the mother of Jesus.  She accepts God’s will and commits herself not only to being the mother of Christ, but also to enduring the suffering and sadness that will eventually come as she watches her son die.  She remains with the disciples after the resurrection.

Elizabeth. Elizabeth is the cousin of Mary and the mother of John the Baptist.  It is Elizabeth’s pregnancy that is cited as proof of God’s will and his desire for Mary to be the mother of Jesus.  Mary visits Elizabeth during her pregnancy; Elizabeth greets Mary with words that we use to this day in the Hail Mary.

Joseph. Joseph is chosen to marry Mary and act as father to Jesus.  Despite early doubts, he is spoken to in a dream and is committed from that point forward to fulfil his role in the life of Jesus.

In Children’s Liturgy of the Word, each child will receive their own copies of these symbols.  Take the time to share and discuss these with your children.  Read some of the bible stories.  Perhaps you can set up your own Jesse Tree at home as a preparation for Christmas.