On Tuesday December 10, in 42 degree heat and while smoke filled the air, the Lochinvar community – sisters, students, colleagues and friends – gathered to bless the Lochinvar Chapel that was destroyed by fire in November 2018. The presence of the smoke added a poignancy to the celebration as Fr. Andrew noted in his introductory remarks. Within the context of Mass the primary focus of this liturgy was the dedication of the altar. I have been thinking a lot about our altars since then. So let us ponder together.
On September 30, Pope Francis wrote us a letter titled ‘Instituting the Sunday of the Word of God’. This is another great initiative from Pope Francis inviting us to open our minds and hearts to the scriptures as did the disciples on the road to Emmaus. I invite you to read the following article by our friend Nick Wagner. It is both thought provoking and practical.
I am constantly faced with the limitations of my understanding and my experience. This is a good thing. I like to be stretched. I like to think about things in a new way. I love those ‘aha’ moments of insight when I glimpse a new horizon of understanding. I love the truth that Christian/Catholic faith of its nature is always ‘seeking understanding’! It can be nothing but, because the mystery of God is the heart of our life and faith, and a mystery can never be fully experienced or known. So what do these musings have to do with liturgy?
Let me declare my prejudices right up front. I LOVE ADVENT! I love the readings. I love the focus on hope and promise. I love the lessons on waiting. I am already getting excited. I have this fantasy of taking Advent off, of withdrawing from the end of year rat race and immersing myself in the season. Maybe next year! Because of the beauty and wonder of Advent it is worth us taking some time to plan ahead so our celebration will shape us and prepare us for Christmas.
Well here we are on the other side of Saturday October 19, our RCIA workshop day with Nick Wagner and Diana Macalintal. About 75 people participated from across the diocese and from a range of ministries concerned with Initiation. What a wonderful day we had. It feels like a watershed moment that has indeed contributed to fanning the flame of RCIA in our Church of Maitland-Newcastle. What follows are some beginning reflections.
Eight members of the diocesan community participated in the recent Australian Pastoral Musicians Network Conference in Melbourne. It was the fourth national APMN conference and the second one I have been to. It was a wonderful experience: full of faith, energy, insight, fun, networking, singing, prayer and liturgy, new and old friends, conversation and good ideas. While it targets musicians, it is for all who love and participate in liturgy. If you missed it, you missed a most enriching experience. Today I am reflecting on some of the highlights. I hope what follows offers something for you and your community to ponder.