Pope Francis encourages Catholics to deepen their understanding and love of the liturgy through continuing formation, stating that ‘liturgy is a life that forms, not an idea to be learnt’. The National Biennial Liturgy Conference will offer such formation, in line with Plenary Council discernment, with an aptly titled theme of ‘Liturgy: Forming a Prayerful and Eucharistic Church’.
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.
The holidays are fast approaching and I am beginning to look with delight at the pile of books I am waiting to read. Many of them theological – not just liturgy but also church and associated things. Tragic I know but I enjoy it! Throughout the year, thanks to Fr. Andrew, Liturgy Matters has included a number of reviews of books we suggest are good reads. Here is one more. I haven’t read this one, but I am a fan of other books by Timothy O’Malley. At the end of Andrew’s review I have added links to his other book reviews. Enjoy your holiday reading!
The theme of the Synod Gathering Day on Saturday November 23 was ‘Building the Kingdom of God Together in the Church of Maitland-Newcastle.’ What a day it was. At the Mass at the end of the day celebrating the Feast of Christ the King, Bishop Bill presented each Regional or Parish Office with two wonderful new Australian documents which focus on our church buildings. It was fitting to present these to the community at our Synod Mass because the church building is designed for those critical liturgical celebrations which shape the church community for ecclesial and missionary life. These documents belong to us all so it is important that we all know about them. Following is the letter from Fr. Andrew and the Diocesan Liturgy Council which begins to explain their importance and provides advice from Bishop Bill on a relevant local issue.
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?
The Liturgical Year ends with the Feast of ‘Christ the King’. I have always been struck by the wisdom of this. If I had time I might delve into the history of how this came to be. The following reflection, which includes an article by our friend Diana Macalintal, is offered as a support to our celebration and living of this Feast. Hopefully, we will be up for the challenge it offers us.
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.