Liturgy Matters: Diocesan Liturgical Ministry Update

2022 brings with it some changes to the structures and processes around diocesan liturgical ministry.

The liturgical life of the Diocese exists in the parishes, schools, agencies, communities, homes and hearts of all God’s people. It is the source of our communal life and mission. The liturgy makes us a missionary Church.

Diocesan liturgical ministry serves this liturgical life. It is therefore important that you, the People of God in this local Church, know about the changes and the resources that are always available to you.

Diocesan liturgical ministry is exercised primarily through the Diocesan Liturgy Council (DLC) and Office. For many years now the DLC has been expanding diocesan liturgical ministry by establishing a range of ministry groups that invite the participation of more people.

Each group has a particular ministry focus inviting the participation of those who have passion, gifts and skills for a particular aspect of liturgical ministry. The nature of the group is determined by the task. Each group has a mandate which specifies its ministry and procedures. We are always looking to renew membership and to ensure no one feels ‘trapped’ for the term of their natural life, as we know can happen.  

Expanding the number of people involved is one way of trying to ‘future proof’ liturgical ministry in this local Church. No ministry can grow and remain vibrant if it relies on a small group who ‘age in place.’ (I’m actually talking about myself! We’re always looking for people younger than me!)

It doesn’t matter where we exercise liturgical ministry – parish, school, diocese – we all face the same challenges of renewing and expanding liturgical ministry. COVID has only exacerbated these. We’re in this together.

2022 Changes

Let’s look at the changes first.

  1. With a restructure of Pastoral Ministries, Sacraments of Initiation for Children now finds its home with the Liturgy Council and Office. This responsibility will be held primarily by the Diocesan Liturgy Forum for Christian Initiation. (See below)
  2. Children’s Liturgy of the Word has already been moved to the Liturgy Council and Office.
  3. Fr Andrew Doohan is reducing his involvement in diocesan liturgical ministry. He remains Master of Ceremonies and a Consultant to the DLC and Office. This includes the various groups associated with the DLC. With his changed circumstances he does not wish to be available to offer advice to the wider Church as he did when Vicar General.

Consequently, all liturgical enquires or questions and suggestions are to be directed to the Liturgy Office. Anyone who does contact Fr Andrew will be referred to the Liturgy Office.

This change seeks to balance respect for Andrew’s wishes and needs as he continues to negotiate significant change, while maintaining his much-valued involvement in diocesan liturgical ministry.

We wish him well as he continues on his journey.     

  1. Liturgies celebrating the life and ministry of clergy are now at home in the Liturgy Office supported primarily with the College of Assistant Masters of Ceremonies. As with point 3 above, this ensures Fr Andrew’s ongoing involvement without him carrying the primary responsibility and load.

Liturgy Office Contact:

Sharon Murphy (Administrative Assistant)
P: 4979 1134

Louise Gannon rsj (Manager of Worship and Prayer)
P: 4979 1135

Diocese Liturgy Council and Associated groups

The Council and its associated groups exist to serve the Church of Maitland-Newcastle. The current structure is captured in this diagram and outlined below.

The Diocesan Liturgy Council currently has nine members. Click on the link for more information. The DLC recently sought Expressions of Interest for membership and two new associated members were appointed in the latter part of 2021.

Consultants to the DLC

  • Anne Millard (Cathedral Director of Music)
  • The Catholic Schools Office Religious Education and Spirituality Team
  • Fr Andrew Doohan (Master of Ceremonies)

The College of Assistant Masters of Ceremonies (CAMC)

The College has a close relationship with the DLC. Currently it has seven members including Fr Andrew and myself.

Diocesan Liturgy Forums:

Forums are established in response to need and are concluded when the need has been addressed.

  • Diocesan Liturgy Forum: Christian Initiation. Currently there are five members. We will be seeking Expressions of Interest for new members soon.
  • Diocesan Liturgy Forum: Stepping Stones is focused on formation and ongoing support for parish ministry with the dying and the bereaved.  Currently there are six members.

Standing Committees:

Standing committees are focused on permanent aspects of our diocesan liturgical life.

  • Chrism Mass Standing Committee. Currently there are six members. Working in association with this standing committee is the Oil Decanting Team who takes responsibility for mixing and decanting the oils in preparation for the Chrism Mass. Currently this team has six members.
  • Perpetual Day of Remembrance Standing Committee. Currently there are four members.

Working Parties:

Working parties are focused on current issues and function for a set period of time.

  • Synod Liturgies Working Party currently has five members.
  • St Josephine Bakhita Working Party currently has 3 members.

External Supports

We are also supported by close contact with our national bodies:

  • National Liturgy Council – I am a member
  • Christian Initiation Australia Network (CIAN)
  • Australian Academy of Liturgy – Andrew is on the Executive
  • Australian Catholic University Liturgy Nexus  

I hope this update assists your understanding of diocesan liturgical ministry and the many ways it can provide support to you and the diverse communities that enrich our Church of Maitland-Newcastle.

If you have any questions or something sparks your passion and you would like to know more, please contact Sharon or me as noted above.     

A memo outlining the changes I have noted is being sent to parishes and schools.

The readings proclaimed on Sunday provide a good point of reflection as we begin another year of ministry. No matter what ministry we are called to, we say ‘Here I am’ aware of our limitations. It is these very limitations that pry us open to the transforming power of God’s paschal love and our need to work together, enriched by our different perspectives and strengths.  

May the grace of God that is in each one of us lead us from death to life in 2022.

Follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Louise Gannon rsj Image
Louise Gannon rsj

Louise Gannon rsj is the Diocesan Manager of Worship and Prayer.