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.

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

Related links:

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

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

26/2/11 – Fasting and Abstinence

This week we celebrated Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of the season of Lent.  Ash Wednesday is a day of fast and abstinence.  In the past, rules about fasting and abstinence in the Church were clear and very well known.  Nowadays they are often not as well known as they used to be.  Are we required to fast?  Who should fast and when?  The following statements are from the Church’s Code of Canon Law, and are the key point of reference on the matter.

The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

Fish Market, © FreeFoto.comAbstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.

The conference of bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast.

Code of Canon Law, 1250-1253

Photo credit: FreeFoto.com