I am privileged to be attending the National Liturgy Conference in Wollongong, Australia, this week. I thought Pray Tell readers might find a report on the conference of interest. (It will also explain why I have taken a holiday from my examination of Sacrosanctum Concilium for the month of January.)
The conference opened on Wednesday, 15 January 2014, with an opening Mass at Wollogong’s St. Francis Xavier Cathedral presided over by their Ordinary, Bishop Peter Ingham, DD. Music selections included Dan Schutte’s “Here I Am, Lord” as the Entrance Song, David Haas’ “Blessed Are They” as the song at the Preparation of the Offerings, my “Take and Eat” as the Communion Processional Song, Christopher Walker’s “Take the Word of God with You” as the Recessional. Featured Australian composers included Paul Mason, whose “Mass of Glory and Praise” provided the service music and whose setting of Psalm 39/40 was sung as the Responsorial Psalm, and Richard Connolly, whose “Sing A New Song,” to James Philip McAuley’s text, provided a model post-Communion congregational song of praise. Bishop Ingham’s homily both grappled with the implications of the Gospel account of the cure of Peter’s mother in law for our own spiritual lives and the blessings brought by Vatican II’s liturgical renewal for the Church.
After a welcome to country by Sherrynne Freeman, acknowledging the aboriginal peoples’ stewardship of the land on which the conference is being held, a welcome to the diocese by Bishop Ingham, and a greeting on behalf of the Holy Father by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Mark Coleridge, the Archbishop of Melbourne, offered the first keynote: “World, Word, Worship: The Liturgy in Context according to Vatican II.” In his address, Archbishop Coleridge presented a symphonic reading of Vatican II’s four constitutions as they treated the topic of scripture and liturgy, especially drawing on the insights of Gaudium et Spes 12 and 37, Dei Verbum 2, Lumen Gentium 6, and Sacrosanctum Concilium 24. His symphonic reading led to the following six assertions: 1) God creates the human being in his own image; 2) God calls the human being to co-create with him; 3) God opens a dialogue of interpersonal communion with the human being, so that the human being may come to share in the divine nature; 4) Within this dialogue, God reveals to the human being the full truth of Himself in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit; 5) Within this dialogue, God reveals to the human being the full truth about the human being in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit; 6) Within this dialogue, God speaks metaphorically, lest the human eye cease to see or to see too clearly. Liturgy proclaims, embodies, witnesses to and equips the Church for mission in the light of these assertions.
The participants were then treated to a lavish Australian barbeque on the grounds of St. Mary’s College, followed by a celebration of the 50thanniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, i.e., we had a party! This proved a wonderful introduction to the conference and a great opportunity for socializing among the more than 600 participants.