National Liturgy and Music Conference coming to Brisbane in September

By Joe Higgins, 17 March 2023
Singers are seen during Mass at St Patrick's Church, Mary, Queen of the Family Parish, Blacktown. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


Every person who sits in a pew on a Sunday could easily take something away from the National Liturgy and Music Conference, which is coming to the Brisbane Hilton from September 28 to 30, organisers said.

The conference, themed Mystery and Mission: The Art of Liturgical Celebration, was the joint effort of the Australian Pastoral Musicians Network and the National Liturgical Council of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

NLC chair Clare Schwantes said that while there was undoubtedly a sense of personal encounter in the liturgy, “the assembly gathers not for private prayer and meditation but to participate in corporate worship – it is a communal action”.

“While people learn about the liturgy by participating in it, formation that equips people to grow in knowledge and understanding of the liturgy is vital if they are to participate fully,” she said.

“The need for this formation has recently been emphasised by Pope Francis and by Australia’s Plenary Council, and the conference aims to directly address this.

“After some years of not being able to gather, this offers a wonderful opportunity to benefit from the expertise of liturgists, liturgical musicians and educators, and to build networks with people from around the country.”

APMN chair Michael Mangan said the conference intended to broaden perspectives and “foster cross-pollination between pastoral musicians, liturgists, clergy and lay liturgical ministers”.

There would be streams for teachers, musicians and liturgists although some of these would intersect, with the result that attendees would be inspired to go out and live the mission of the Church.

He spoke of the importance of involving clergy in the conference, both as delegates and as presenters, along with members of their parish, so that learnings could be taken back and implemented in the parish.

He hoped the conference would highlight the importance of the liturgy as a place to “express and experience” the unity of the gathered people as the living Body of Christ.

The conference featured keynote speakers Professor Timothy O’Malley and Catholic composer Sarah Hart, both from the United States, and local theologians Fr Tom Elich and associate professor Sr Maeve Heaney. 

Alongside the keynote presentations, there were about 50 workshops led by a range of experts in the fields of liturgy and liturgical music.

Special discounted ticket prices were offered for full-time secondary and tertiary students.

Early bird tickets close on April 30.

To find out more, head to:

Reproduced with permission from The Catholic Leader, the news publication of the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.


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