Articles of Interest

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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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