First Liturgical Conference for the Diocese of Parramatta

By Jordan Grantham, 14 November 2017
Very Fr Peter G. Williams, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia of the Diocese of Parramatta. Photo: Diocese of Parramatta

The Diocese of Parramatta’s first Liturgical Conference, ‘Liturgy: the Living Presence of Christ’, occurred with great anticipation and participation on Saturday 4 November 2017.

Drizzling rain did not dampen the spirits of approximately 200 participants gathered at St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Parish, Marayong.

View images from the conference below or click here.

Robert Barden, chair of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission opened the day and Rev Msgr Ron McFarlane, parish priest of St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Parish led the praying of Terce, part of the Liturgy of the Hours. Msgr Ron generously allowed the event to be hosted in his parish and school.

The keynote address, delivered by the Very Rev Fr Peter G Williams, reviewed the journey of liturgical reform over the past 45 years, titled: “What we have done, and what we have failed to do”.

Fr Peter was Executive Secretary of the National Liturgical Commission and Chairman of the National Liturgical Music Board for over a decade, as well as serving as Director of Liturgy for World Youth Day Sydney, 2008.

Fr Peter elucidated on three topics: ‘The Liturgical Environment’, ‘Liturgical Ministries’ and ‘Liturgical Music’.

The engaging and entertaining address had a broad scope and was well-received.

Deep theological points were explained with sometimes humourous and other times profound anecdotes.

Fr Peter quoted the General Instruction of the Roman Missal,

“Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst” (Mt 18:20). For in the celebration of Mass, in which the Sacrifice of the Cross is perpetuated, Christ is really present in the very liturgical assembly gathered in his name, in the person of the minister, in his word, and indeed substantially and continuously under the Eucharistic species.” (GIRM 27)

Fr Peter then elucidated on this passage with reference to a custom of the Benedictine Order.

“There’s a lovely custom in Benedictine communities. The Benedictine monks or the Benedictine nuns come in to sing the Office but they come in and they bow to the altar and then they turn and they bow at each other. And then they go into their stalls.” Fr Peter said.

“Why do they do that?”

“They do that because what they’re doing is recognising the presence of Christ in each of them. I think it is the most beautiful gesture. The most beautiful gesture,” he said.

“He had everyone captivated with his address, which was both enlightening, and invigorating,” Sr Mary Louse Walsh ISSM, Liturgy Educator in the Diocese of Parramatta, said.

A series of informative and practical workshops followed the keynote address and morning tea. Conference participants selected several to attend from the options.

Some of these included workshops about liturgical music and copyright, ministry of the Word, music ministry, organising a Mass, children’s liturgies and the Sacraments of initiation.

The lunch break provided attendees with another opportunity to connect with many throughout the Diocese of Parramatta who have an interest in Liturgy.

“Our gratitude goes to all the presenters, those who attended, and to the many who worked tirelessly together to make this day possible and run so smoothly,” Sr Mary Louise Walsh ISSM said.


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