...I am pleased to provide you with a brief update on some exciting projects, both here in Brisbane and nationally...
I am privileged to have a seat on the Archdiocesan Commission on the Liturgy. I am pleased to provide you with a brief update on some exciting projects, both here in Brisbane and nationally:
National Liturgical Music Board
The National Liturgical Music Board is exploring ways to promote Catholic Worship Book II. Many of you would have read the excellent article, "Liturgy Spotlight: The national Catholic liturgical repertoire" by Dr Paul Taylor in the recent ACU Liturgy Newsletter (and reproduced elsewhere). At this early stage the project could provide examples of the works on a YouTube channel. The very clear message is that we need to be moving to CWBII, where it is possible to do so. I hear that some parishes are challenged by some of the more traditional songs in CWBII. With 600 choices, I am confident CWBII has something for everyone.
A new advisory document is in the works for Brisbane Archdiocese on chapels. Increasingly chapels in secular hospitals are becoming non-denominational prayer spaces. In schools, chapels can easily become multi-use spaces. The new document will have very clear guidelines for liturgical furniture, vessels and the overall chapel. There will also be considerations for sharing space with other faith traditions. I am encouraged by colleagues who enthusiastically want to respond to changing needs in shared spaces - it is an opportunity for good stewardship and often, evangelisation. This new document will be released to all schools and parishes later this year. It is the product of extensive consultation with the Council of Priests, Brisbane Catholic Education and CentaCare. While we wait for this important document, it might be a good time to review how you use your current chapel and who is responsible for the space.
Are children in your parish still choosing a confirmation name in preparation for confirmation? Surprisingly, the requirement for a new name does not appear in any liturgical or church text and is at odds with the theology underpinning the sacrament. In confirmation we confirm our baptism. Choosing a new name or identity seems contradictory to confirming what already exists.
I know some struggle with the restored order of the sacraments of initiation because there is a belief that a sacrament is required for adolescents to signify their adulthood in the church. There are a couple of problems with this. Firstly, Canon Law states that at seven, children enter the age of reason - a time when they can make certain decisions for themselves and should be respected. Secondly, the primary purpose of a sacrament is not evangelisation. Even if we delayed confirmation until adolescence, it would not be the panacea for dwindling youth attendance (ask someone young: it is mostly about our credibility not the availability of teenage sacraments).
A new document will be out later this year with some general guidelines for parishes in Brisbane Archdiocese later this year.
We are excited about the opportunities to listen and reflect on where the Holy Spirit is leading us during the discernment period leading into Lent of 2019. A thought-provoking article based on the reflections of liturgists from across Australia will feature in the September edition of Liturgy News. Our director, Rev. Tom Elich recently asked Australian liturgists what challenges and opportunities were there for us as we contemplate our response to the Plenary. Get the September issue to see what they said!
James Robinson is the Education Officer with Liturgy Brisbane