Church Renewal: Reflecting the Importance and Dignity of Baptism

Carmel Bulletin, 6 September 2013

Church Renewal ProcessLast weekend, Fr Paul shared with everyone the design concept for the renewal of our church.  This brings to completion a thorough period of parishioner formation, consultation and planning.

As articulated in the guiding concepts for this process, one intention within this process is to reflect as much as possible the liturgical principles of the Second Vatican Council.  We asked the architect, Jesse Mowbray, to ensure that a fixed, dignified space was provided for the celebration of baptism.

The Church’s General Introduction to Christian Initiation (no 25) states that

the baptistery or the area where the baptismal font is located should be reserved for the sacrament of baptism and should be worthy to serve as the place where Christians are reborn in water and the Holy Spirit.

The Book of Blessings affirms this, saying that

the baptistery or site of the baptismal font is rightly considered to be one of the most important parts of a church” (no 1080).

The importance of the Sacrament of Baptism as the first sacrament means that it should have a dedicated space for its celebration, which includes a fixed, gracefully constructed font.  Our current baptistery doesn’t work as the place where baptisms are celebrated, but rather where the (moveable) baptismal font is stored when baptisms aren’t celebrated.

The newly proposed space for the baptistery will provide dedicated space for the celebration of Baptism.  It will stand as a sign to all of the importance we give to this sacrament.  Next week, we will look at why we have proposed the specific location at the centre of the church.  In the meantime, you can read and view more about the design concept in the parish centre and at www.olmcwenty.org.au/churchrenewal.

We Enter

Carmel Bulletin, 6 October 2013

[The] purpose [of the Introductory Rites] is to ensure that the faithful, who come together as one, establish communion…

General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), article 46

Actions of the Assembly
Actions of the Assembly

When we begin to celebrate Mass, we have already made a deliberate choice to be there.  We have entered the church, engaging in one of the first actions of the assembly that participates in the celebration.

We come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.  Our motivations for coming can vary as well.  Sometimes we come with a true desire to celebrate.  At other times we come seeking hope, comfort, or a sense of belonging.  Some of us may feel like our faith is strong, while others may be struggling, looking for answers or seeking reassurance.

Yet despite this broad diversity, we come together, united by our faith in Jesus Christ.  Whether we get here early, or scrape in just in time (perhaps having furiously fed and dressed the kids, and bundled them into the car, hoping we’ll get a parking spot somewhere near the church), we share “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).  We remind ourselves of this when we bless ourselves with holy water; waters which we passed through at our initiation into the Church, passing like Christ from death to new life.

We come together as the Body of Christ in thanksgiving, to renew ourselves through the Eucharistic celebration that is the source and summit of our lives as Catholics.

At the end of this month, on the weekend of 26-27 October, we will celebrate Sunday Mass, guided by brief explanations of the various rites of the Mass and our role within them.  You can also learn more online now at www.olmcwenty.org.au/themass.

The Mass: sacrifice and praise

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.