LITURGY MATTERS: Exuberant Praise and Worship

When engaging and addressing the spirituality of young people, it is important to understand where they are, especially in light of an eclectic and uncertain world. As more young people find ways to navigate this ever-changing society, providing them with spiritual guidance can strengthen their connection and growth with their faith.

While research has looked at the declining connectedness of young people with traditional religion and their tentative exploration of spirituality, our young people are passionate when it comes to social justice. They have become aware, proactive and advocate for many issues, and they can communicate and gain support like no other generation. They crave a more inclusive, sustainable, authentic world based in integrity.

As “young people need integrity and authenticity when searching for their faith.” (Bouma, 2006, p. 99), then how can we, as a community of faith, provide that space for our young people?

The parish of MacKillop (Charlestown, Gateshead, Redhead) is trying to do just that. It is working on creating more contemporary and engaging forms of prayer to better connect with everyone and with the young people as a priority. Music is a central part of this endeavour. In the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, we read the importance given to sacred music. It reads that the “musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art (and is) to be preserved and fostered with great care (so) the whole body of the faithful may be able to contribute that active participation which is rightly theirs” [a.112,114].

I invite you to hear how MacKillop Parish is building this ‘treasure’:

As we navigate the ever-changing landscape of our Catholic journey, it is with joy and anticipation that we share with you an exciting initiative born out of a shared dream and commitment to invigorate our liturgical experiences.

Over the past six months, a dedicated group of like-minded Catholics have been meeting to address a pressing concern within our beloved faith community – the limited involvement of teenagers and young adults in parish life.

The idea was sparked by the Mackillop Parish Priest Fr Tony Potts and has since been shared with all parishes across the diocese.

Fuelled by a shared passion for fostering meaningful prayer experiences beyond Mass, our diverse team has been working diligently to bring forth a new and exuberant opportunity for worship.

Recognizing the desire of people of all ages especially our youth, for more contemporary and engaging forms of prayer, we are thrilled to introduce our upcoming "Exuberant Catholic Praise and Worship Nights." These monthly gatherings aim to provide a space where the spirit of our faith can be expressed through Scripture, preaching, catechesis, personal testimony, prayer and the uplifting power of contemporary music.

Our team, consisting of over 40 members, has already witnessed a remarkable level of interest and attendance during our planning phase. This response serves as a testament to the real need within our community for an event that provides opportunity to pray and worship in addition to mass. We believe it is the calling of the Catholic Church to respond to this need and provide avenues for spiritual growth that resonate with all members of our faith community.

The heart of our Praise and Worship Nights lies in the inclusivity of our approach. We extend a warm invitation to all members of our faith community to join us in shaping this exciting new venture. If you have a passion, talent, or simply a strong desire to contribute to something meaningful, we welcome you to lead or join one of our dynamic teams:

    1. Music (musicians and singers)
    2. Greeters
    3. Marketing
    4. Hospitality
    5. Stage crew
    6. Logistics
    7. & more…

The time is ripe for you to make your mark and be an integral part of this vibrant expression of our faith. Whether you are musically inclined, have a flair for marketing, possess organisational skills, or simply want to contribute in any capacity, we invite you to contact Father Tony: if you are interested or attend the next meeting:

Wednesday 21st February 2024
Refreshments provided 5:30. Meeting commences at 6pm.
Function Room, MacKillop Parish Pastoral Centre
7 Milson Street, Charlestown.

Let us come together as a community, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to create a space where the vibrancy of our faith shines brightly. Together, we can make a lasting impact and provide our youth with the meaningful prayer experiences they seek.

Fr Tony and the MacKillop Praise and Worship Team

Back to Fiona…

Across the diocese some other parishes are exploring more meaningful worship connections with young people. Sugarloaf Wallsend-Shortland is one.

The Diocesan Liturgy Council is considering other initiatives. A new opportunity to be offered in 2024 is “Sing to the Lord.” This is focusing on the ministry of cantor and singer and will offer an opportunity that nurtures music ministers and connects them with others across the diocese.  

See HERE for details.

Does this excite you? Get you thinking? What possibilities might you explore in your own parish?

How are you being called to respond?

Bouma, G. (2006). Australian Soul: Religion and Spirituality in the 21 Century. New York: Cambridge University Press


Diocesan Liturgy Council Update 

To keep abreast of the work of the Diocesan Liturgy Council you can review the Report published on the website after each meeting. (Click on Council News). The September report is available. The October and November meetings were cancelled.  



Picture: © Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. All rights reserved.    

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Fiona Duque

Fiona is the Pastoral Ministries Officer - Worship and Prayer.

Formerly, she was the Ministry Coordinator and Religious Studies Coordinator at St Bede's Catholic College, Chisholm.