The Advent Wreath

Carmel Bulletin, 16 December 2018

A short liturgical season such as Advent can be easily lost in Australia amidst the pre-Christmas hype and end-of-year rush to the summer holidays. As such, its symbols, prayers and music can help us to hold on to this time of joyful expectation.

Continue reading “The Advent Wreath”

As the Church fasts, so does the church fast

Carmel bulletin, 12 March 2017

lent_enviro_08 005When arriving at Mass last Sunday, one of young parishioners observed that the church looked very bare.

Perhaps you noticed this as well.  It may have been the lack of flowers or banners.  It may have been that there was less music within the Mass than what you’re used to.

We’re well aware that during Lent, we as a Church (the people of God) are called to fast.  This fasting sees us go without what is unnecessary in our lives and focus on what we really need.  The first need, of course, is a deep and loving relationship with God who continually invites us to be closer to him.

Similarly, during this season, our church (the building) reflects our Lenten practice with its own fasting.  It goes without the extra decoration.  It goes without the extra hymns and without the instrumental music.  It goes without the echo of Alleluia within its four walls for six and a half weeks.

All of this helps us to build in our anticipation and eagerness for celebrating the glorious resurrection of our Lord at Easter.

Reflecting the Penitential Nature of Lent

Carmel Bulletin, 22 February 2015

lent_enviro_08 005Hopefully things look and feel a bit different at Mass this weekend than they did last weekend.

The large banners have come down and the plants and flowers are all gone.  There may be less music, and instruments should only be used to accompany singing, as opposed to being used for solo pieces:

During Lent the altar is not to be decorated with flowers, and the use of musical instruments is allowed only to support the singing… (Ceremonial of Bishops, no. 252)

All this is done for a greater reason than giving our florist, Sofie a break from arranging flowers for us every week (although with all her great work, she does deserve a rest).  The “stripping back” of the space and even elements of the liturgy helps to focus us on the penitential nature of the season.

It is similar to what we are encouraged to do in our own lives.  Lent is a time when we may fast, particularly on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays, or we may choose to abstain from particular things.  Such abstinence may not be specifically from food, but may also be from other material goods or indulgences that we otherwise take for granted.

By taking the opportunity during Lent to do away with those preoccupations, we offer ourselves more time and space to focus on our relationship with God.

Through its twofold theme of repentance and baptism, the season of Lent disposes both the catechumens and the faithful to celebrate the paschal mystery… The faithful, listening more intently to the word of God and devoting themselves to prayer, are prepared [for Easter] through a spirit of repentance to renew their baptismal promises.  (Ceremonial of Bishops, no. 249)

18/8/13 – Artistic Quality and Beauty

Michaelangelo's "Pieta", St Peter's Basilica, Rome
Michaelangelo’s “Pieta”, St Peter’s Basilica, Rome

Recently I referred to a key statement from the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy about sacred art:

The Church has not adopted any particular style of art as her very own; she has admitted styles from every period… Thus, in the course of the centuries, she has brought into being a treasury of art which must be very carefully preserved. The art of our own days, coming from every race and region, shall also be given free scope in the Church, provided that it adorns the sacred buildings and holy rites with due reverence and honour…

Sacrosanctum Concilium, article 123

It is important that art is part of our church buildings.  Sacred art seeks to reflect something of the beauty of the divine and raise our hearts and minds to God.  It is important, therefore, that artistic works within a church “adorn the sacred buildings and holy rites with due reverence and honour”.  This extends from the more obvious artistic works such as statues and other sacred images, through to the artistic design and appointment of church furniture, sacred vessels (eg patens and chalices) and architectural elements.

Consequently, the artistic works that adorn our church should be of the highest quality that we can provide.  The Church needs to support, encourage and commission the work of talented artists in the field of sacred art.  Artistic works within a church should engender a response within us, and within the generations of people who will engage with and appreciate quality artworks into the future.

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.