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Summit Articles

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Fall in love and stay in love

Rev. Elio Capra SDB talks about the period of mystagogy, which takes place during the fifty days of Easter. "For those who have gone through the RCIA journey, this is the period for ‘mystagogy’. It is a time for mystagogical catechesis, not only for the ‘neophytes’ (the newly baptised), but also for the rest of us, the ‘old-phytes’. We are all on a mystagogical journey which only finishes ‘when our lives return to their source in the inexhaustible mystery of God’ (Nathan Mitchell, in Assembly: A Journal of Liturgical Theology, 2000). This is a theological way of saying that we all need mystagogical catechesis until the day we die and meet Jesus Christ face to face."
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Celebrating the Paschal Mystery: From Ash to Flame

Every moment of human life is subject to the play of multiple rhythms of time, some daily, others weekly, monthly, yearly or seasonal. Annual rhythms include the calendar year, the financial year, the school year, the sporting year and the cycle of nature’s seasons. For Christian believers, there’s another, more fundamental rhythm. It’s the calendar of faith, the annual cycle of feasts and seasons by which the church celebrates the mystery of Jesus Christ. The proper name for this is the ‘liturgical year’, though this expression only became current in the twentieth century. 

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Is it really Lent without catechumens and the scrutinies?

Rev. Dr Elio Capra SDB reflects on the original meaning of Lent: 'a time when God calls us into the desert so that through a process of purification and enlightenment, [so] we will once again fall in love with Christ and make him the centre of our lives. ... The process of purification and enlightenement becomes evident and alive through the celebration of the scrutinies. They are rituals celebrated during the third, fourth and fifth weeks of Lent to prepare those who are to be initiated (the elect) during the Easter Vigil (RCIA §133).'

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The Lent environment

'From the moment we hear the cry from the book of Joel on Ash Wednesday, "Now, now—it is the Lord who speaks—come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, mourning" (Joel 2:12), we are invited to plunge into a different world, a different way of being. Cathy Jenkins writes about the "Australian colour of Lent"—a Lent that, in this part of the world, takes place amidst the changing of seasons from summer into autumn, thus encouraging an invitation to 'cultivate a Lenten spirit'. She offers insights into the colours, symbols, prayers and sounds of Lent.

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Stations of the Cross: One of Catholicism’s most identifiable traditions

The Stations or Way of the Cross are one of the most identifiable devotional practices in Catholicism. As Dr Paul Taylor writes, "The Stations of the Cross serve a similar role to the passion narratives in the gospels: they invite us to contemplate and draw strength from the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus. The stations connect us with the early church, whose members looked forward with eager hope to Christ’s coming again in glory. When we look at the stations now, we are called to reflect upon Christ’s example of giving himself totally in his suffering and death, and we are invited to follow his path of love, self-sacrifice and service in our lives." 

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Luke: The Missionary Disciple

This Advent, as the church embarks on a new liturgical cycle, we turn our attention to the Gospel of Luke. It is timely, then, to pause and reflect on some of Luke’s rich insights, and to acquaint ourselves better with a gospel that speaks directly to our humanity, consistently reminding us of the joy and mercy to be experienced not only during Advent and at Christmas, but throughout our journey of discipleship. On a rainy October evening, parish and school liturgy teams from across the Archdiocese of Melbourne gathered to do just that in the first of two Advent preparation sessions. Their guide was Ria Greene.

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An Overview of Readings for Advent (Year C)

Rev. Dr Michael Trainor AM is a lecturer at Catholic Theological College and is a member of the Department of Biblical Studies. Here he provides an overview of the readings for the Sundays of Advent. "Luke’s story celebrates God’s beloved disposition upon all beings of our planet revealed in Jesus’ birth. This is the essential truth and mystery in the angelic chorus sung to the shepherds and the repeated sign, of Jesus ‘wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger’. Jesus’ presence in a manger (a product of Earth) and surrounded with Earth’s cloth highlight Jesus as Earth’s child. Ecological implications to celebrate with our planet flow from this and provide a wonderful opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ birth in the light of Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si." 

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Planning Advent liturgies

Cathy Jenkins reflects on the opportunity we have in Advent to take a ‘Holy Pause’, and gives some practical guidance on how we might plan Advent liturgies that renew and deepen our sense of joyful anticipation as we prepare—amid all the bustle and activity of the festive season—for ‘the greatest mystery’.
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Music for graduation Masses in Catholic secondary schools

Fiona Dyball offers some advice for all those planning graduation Masses, encouraging careful planning and consideration of these important moments for evangelisation. "The music and sung prayer in these Masses will ideally reflect and honour this preparation and commitment by the extended school community. So sufficient time needs to be allowed for graduation Masses to be consultatively planned, carefully prepared and thoroughly rehearsed. The music on these occasions can offer a fitting tribute to the character of a community, while also staying true to Catholic identity and to the liturgy itself."

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The Yeast of St Francis

"In October we celebrate the feast of St Francis, the patron of animals and the environment. We cherish his words, and through the generations men and women have passed on his charism. His influence continues to spread far and wide, as a witness to Jesus that is deeply rooted in our lived experience. He is both rooted in the Christian tradition and idealistic—a challenge to the powerful and a hope for the powerless. Francis’ influence lives on in us today as yeast: an agent of inspiration, of the Spirit, of the reign of God in our midst." Elizabeth Young is a Sister of Mercy and a member of Australian Religious Response to Climate Change. Here, she reflects on the radical nature of St Francis' attitude toward God and creation and the ever-present call to ‘care for our Common Home’.

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Guidelines on Reverent Reception of Holy Communion

The Bishops Commission for Liturgy has prepared a series of guidelines on reverent reception of Holy Communion. The following guidelines are based on the Catholic Church’s liturgical norms and offered in order to encourage reverent reception of Holy Communion in the Latin Rite, under the form of consecrated bread and wine, as the highpoint of sacramental participation in the Celebration of the Eucharist, the source and summit of the Christian life [cf. Vatican Council II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (1963) art. 10].

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Recognising Jesus

Dr Mary Coloe pbvm guides us through the old and new testaments to understand the seemingly incomprehensible experience of Jesus' resurrection; the event ultimately fulfilling of God's promise of eternity life. "Out of context we do not immediately recognise people. Read through the familiar story of the Emmaus Journey. Two former disciples of Jesus ... are walking away from Jerusalem going over the horror of 'all that had happened'. Then they meet someone apparently ignorant about all these events. So they tell him the facts: Jesus, a mighty prophet, condemned to death then crucified, and now, in their minds and experience, dead. Jesus walks with them, but they fail to recognise him, as recognition demands more than good eyesight." 
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Project Compassion 2018: For a Just Future

For over 50 years, Caritas has, through the generosity of Australians, been able to sponsor aid and development and emergency relief programs in over 35 countries. In 2018, as Caritas Diocesan Director Deacon Jim Curtain shares, the focus is on young people. 

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Celebrating liturgy in schools: Catholic identity in song

Fiona Dyball shares how school liturgies, when done well, can help ensure that every student leaves school "with a solid intergenerational Catholic liturgical music repertoire to carry them forward in their lives, and to connect them in prayer to a life-giving faith, lived in community."
 

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Reaching Out with Hospitality to People with Mental Illness

Thomas P. Welch is a psychiatrist at the Northwest Catholic Counseling Centre in Portland, Oregon and a member of the Council on Mental Illness of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability. In an article originally published in Pastoral Liturgy, Welch reflects on how parishes can better respond to parishioners with mental illness, and ways to create welcoming and inclusive spaces.
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Psalmody and Hymnody: Scripture in Song

Fiona Dyball reminds us that "singing has been part of the life of the church from the very earliest times; and Sacred Scripture has traditionally formed the basis of this sung prayer, with the psalms taking a central role. The psalms formed the 'prayerbook' of ancient Israel, and the Jewish and Christian traditions of worship, over many centuries." 
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The Revision of the Lectionary

"Prior to the Second Vatican Council the percentage of the Old Testament used in the liturgy, excluding the psalms, was only one per cent (255 verses) ... Put another way, before the Second Vatican Council Catholics never heard readings at their Sunday celebration of the Eucharist from thirty-seven Old Testament books!" Fr Chris Monaghan cp discusses the key changes to the lectionary after the Second Vatican Council.
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Chef's Choice: Feasting on the Word

"The four stages of Lectio Divina are like having a good meal: You take a bite (lectio), you chew on it (meditatio), enjoy the taste (oratio) and then swallow it (contemplatio). Fr John Dupuche reminds us that 'feasting on the Word’ that leads to a better knowledge of Christ. This article includes a guided reflection on the readings for weekend of Sunday 16 July, which Pope Francis has encouraged as a 'Sunday for the Word of God' in dioceses around the world. 
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Psalms and liturgical life, psalms and life

"St Athanasius said a psalm ‘is a mirror in which you contemplate yourself and movements of your soul’. This beautiful insight encourages us to pray the psalms and to allow them to teach us about ourselves and to give expression to our deepest feelings, concerns and desires." Mary Reaburn nds reflects on the Psalms and how they can be a prism through which we see differently. 
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The travelling Mary

"Her faith, I learned, gave her a particular place in our collective religious history. For a beginner little Catholic, it was also an introduction to the world of the mystical." Cathy Jenkins recalls the tradition of the 'travelling Mary.' 
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Preparing parish celebrations: First Communion and Confirmation

Tricia Murray reflects on the unique opportunity that parish celebrations of First Communion and Confirmation provide for hospitality toward families and visitors.
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Celebrating the centenary of Fatima

On 13 May this year, Pope Francis will visit Portugal to mark 100 years since the Virgin Mary appeared to three young children in the town of Fatima. Bishop Peter Elliott reflects on the events of 1917, their message and what Pope Francis can expect when he arrives.
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A Eucharistic Ecology

Rev. Anthony J Kelly reflects on the unique way that the celebration of the Eucharist brings nature and culture together, inspiring an integral ecology of nature and culture, person and community, creation and God.
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Music in contemporary culture: Some implications for our celebrations of the Eucharist

Music is integral to our Eucharistic celebrations, and can help participants experience God’s presence. Maeve Louise Heaney examines sacred music’s value for liturgy, and what it can achieve that other art cannot.
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Our ‘bright sadness’: The Eucharist and Christian unity today

Fr Denis Stanley explores eucharistic faith, practice and dialogue among the different Christian churches in relation to our journey to Christian unity.
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The Eucharist makes (and breaks) the Church

Neil Ormerod notes that as a Church we are made by the Eucharist when we take Jesus’ own self-sacrificial love as the template of our lives. However, as Church we can be broken when we sacrifice the less powerful to maintain our own power.
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