Receive the Holy Spirit

Quote inscribed on the side of the baptismal font in our church

Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday and the giving of the Holy Spirit to the apostles.  As Catholics, we first receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism.  St Peter calls on those who witnessed the twelve speaking in tongues to “be baptised… and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).


Our Baptism is quite literally confirmed by the bishop (or his representative) in the Sacrament of Confirmation – it is from the historical action of the bishop confirming baptisms across his diocese that this rite developed.  In this sacrament, we are “enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1285).



Then Bishop of Parramatta (now Archbishop of Sydney) Anthony Fisher OP celebrating Confirmation in our parish.  Photo: © Alphonsus Fok, 321 Photography

By signing us with the gift of the Spirit, confirmation makes us more completely the image of the Lord and fills us with the Holy Spirit, so that we may bear witness to him before all the world and work to bring the Body of Christ to its fullness as soon as possible. 

Christian Initiation: General Introduction, no. 4

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.

27/6/10 – The Whole Body of Christ Celebrates the Liturgy, Part II

Over the coming weeks, we will continue to explore the liturgical principles which underpin our work in the Church Renewal Process.  A fortnight ago, we began to look at the first principle, namely:

The whole Body of Christ celebrates the liturgy

We discussed previously how the liturgy is an action of Christ and the Church.  All the people who gather together to celebrate form the Body of Christ and are called to participate fully, consciously and actively in the celebration.

We might understand this, and even believe that this sense of all the Church celebrating the liturgy is achieved at Sunday Mass.  There are other times, however, when this seems to be a greater challenge.

BaptismJust like the Eucharist, all the other sacraments and rites are celebrations of Christ and the Church.  Yet, when these celebrations occur at times when most of the parish isn’t present (Sunday afternoon, or a weekday morning, for example), there can be a perception that it is a “private” celebration.  This is especially the case at celebrations such as weddings, where many of the liturgical preparations are made by the families involved, and invitations and guest lists are prepared.

Wedding ringsThe Second Vatican Council was very clear in stating that none of the Church’s liturgical celebrations are ever private.  The challenge for us as a community then, is twofold.  Firstly, we need to be confident as a parish in fulfilling our responsibilities in these liturgical celebrations.  Are our parish liturgical ministers involved in areas such as music and art and environment, for example?  Secondly, we need to support those families directly involved in weddings, funerals, baptisms, confirmations and the like; inviting them into our community and assuring them that their “special day” is not only an occasion of great joy for them, but one of great joy for us all.

18/5/08 – Confirmation

Oil of ChrismThis week, children from our parish celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation.  This will draw these children closer to the completion of their sacramental initiation.

Their sacramental initiation began with baptism, when they were first made one with Christ.  They have shared in Jesus’ death and resurrection by passing through the waters of the font to a new Christian life.

These children’s families, friends, teachers and parish community (yes, us!) have helped to form these children and teach them about Christ.  We have introduced them to the life of the Church through liturgy and community activities.

Now, having reached a suitable catechetical (teachable) age, these children and their families are choosing to complete their sacramental initiation; Confirmation being only the next step.  This
Confirmation will complete and affirm their baptism, and lead them onwards to the completion of their initiation through the first reception of Holy Communion.

Just as we discussed with regards to our then-Catechumen, now neophyte (newly initiated), Mechelle, the sacramental initiation is just part of their faith journey.  “The journey of Christian initiation is one of God calling people to conversion.”  It is a time for these children to embrace God’s working within their lives.  What’s more, “those who are initiated will join us completely in taking the journey together; facing the struggles, challenges, love and joy of belonging to God’s chosen people.”

I invite you all to share with us in celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation with our young parishioners on Tuesday or Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m.

27/1/08 – God Calling People to Conversion

In less than two weeks’ time, we enter once again into the season of Lent.  We typically think of Lent as a season of penance.  Yet it is firstly the season when we focus on the preparation of those seeking Christian Initiation.  Those of us already baptised engage in penitential practices so that we may join in solidarity with those preparing for the Easter sacraments.

Our parish’s catechumen, Michelle, will next weekend sign her name in the book of the elect, ready to be presented to the bishop at the Rite of Election.  She is undertaking the journey towards Christian initiation.  In the coming months, our young parishioners will continue their journey through Christian initiation through the sacraments of Confirmation and Communion.  So what is this journey that they are taking?

The journey of Christian initiation is one of God calling people to conversion.  It’s usually not an amazing, sudden revelation-kind of moment.  It’s a gradual process that takes time.  Time for people to listen to God speaking to them in their lives.  Time for God to be present to them through the love, example and witness of others.

That gradual process of conversion then begins to take shape within the context of a faith community, as it is now with Michelle.  The deepening relationship with God is more willingly expressed, and the community celebrates the continuing journey.  Rituals such as the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens, the Rite of Election, or the children’s commitment to prepare for First Communion are all such examples.

The completion of Christian initiation won’t be the end of their journey of conversion, though.  Those who are initiated will join us completely in taking the journey together; facing the struggles, challenges, love and joy of belonging to God’s chosen people.

So the essence of Christian initiation, penance, and the Season of Lent are one in the same: God calling people to conversion.  Let that be our centre throughout the coming weeks.