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.
Diana Macalintal, who with Nick Wagner co-facilitated our recent RCIA Workshop day was one of the keynote speakers at the Australian Pastoral Musicians Network Conference in Melbourne. In the following article Diana considers the nature and purpose of the Gathering Song at mass. Enjoy reading and reflecting on the liturgical wisdom and pastoral suggestions offered.
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.
LITURGY MATTERS: Australian Pastoral Musicians Network Conference 2019 - Reflecting on a wonderful experience
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.