Day Three of the “Lift Up Your Hearts 2014” National Liturgical Conference in Wollongong, Australia, began with Morning Prayer in the Cathedral. Music employed included the introductory dialogue and short responsory used previously courtesy of St. Francis Church, Melbourne; the call to prayer used previously crafted by Elizabeth Murray SGS from phrases of AZMON; Sr. Delores Dufner’s hymn “Great Artist of the Universe” set to a tune by Terri Nehl, OSB; Paul Mason’s setting of both antiphon and psalm for Psalm 50/51; Psalm 100 set to Howard Hughes’ Tone I with an antiphon crafted for it by Paul Mason and Robyn O’Dea; and Ruth Duck’s metrical translation of the Benedictus “Now Bless the God of Israel” set to Marty Haugen’s hymn tune MELBOURNE.
Dr. Clare Johnson, bravely battling laryngitis, presented the day’s keynote, entitled “Unearthing a Treasure of Inestimable Value: Liturgical Music and the ars celebrandi.” Employing the image of a voyage to organize her presentation, she guided us from the port of “sacra musica” (reflections on how official Roman Catholic documentation prior to the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy spoke of liturgical music), through the thickets of “criteria iudicandi” (examining how official documents and scholarly reflections propose standards of judgment for the music to be used in liturgy), to a lengthy stop at “ars celebrandi” (raising the issue of beauty in liturgical music, especially in the light of Benedict XVI’s “Sacramentum Caritatis”), skirting the “strait of despair” (I’m sorry that I neglected to write down the Latin she used for this part of the voyage) to arrive at the “insula quid mihi?” (the island of so what?), where she powerfully showed the pastoral implications of the earlier parts of the voyage.
After morning tea, participants could choose one of six breakout sessions: Mr. David Nelson on “What makes Australians Participate in Liturgy?”, Dr. Geoffrey Cox on “What Shall We Do With Gregorian Chant?”, Ms. Louise Campbell on “How Are You Keeping Lent This Year?” (an exploration of liturgical inculturation of seasons in the southern hemisphere), yours truly on “Hymns in Christian Worship”, Rev. Dr. Barry Craig on “Celebrating the Reformed Communion Rites: From Practical Exclusion to Formal Inclusion”, and Dr. Carmel Pilcher RSJ and Fr. John Fitz-Herbert on “’We Are Australians’: Inculturation, Liturgy and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday.”
After time for lunch (and the possibility of cantor and/or organ lessons), participants could then choose one of six further breakout sessions: Bishop Peter Elliott on “The New Liturgical Movement: Recovering Vatican II,” Mr. Richard McMahon on “Moving Eucharist from Side Show to Main Event in Pastoral Planning,” yours truly on “Hymns for the Liturgical Year” in which participants sang through 16 scores of hymns by myself and Australian composers and/or text writers such as Richard Connolly, Christopher Willcock, Jenny O’Brien, Amanda McKenna, Michael Herry, and Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Br. James Maher MSC on “Facilitating Liturgical Music: Giving Voice to the Heart’s Journey,” Rev. Dr. Tom Elich on “Full, Conscious, Active Participation,” and Ms. Amanda McKenna and Ms. Gina Ogilvie on “The Power of Music to Touch and Transform Lives.”
Following afternoon tea and free time for special interest groups to meet and/or cantor and organ lessons to continue, the Conference Mass was celebrated in the Cathedral with Archbishop Mark Coleridge presiding and preaching. The homily masterfully wove together the pericope from 1 Samuel in which the Israelite people cry out for a king against Samuel’s warning that to do so would in effect bring them back into the same slavery as in Egypt from which God had rescued them, the Marcan gospel where Jesus demonstrates his authority to forgive sins by a miracle of healing, and the memorial of St. Anthony Abbot, by reminding us of how we are called to live a counter-cultural life with its source and nourishment found in the eucharist. Music employed included “Praise to the Lord” (LOBE DEN HERREN) as the Entrance Song, Christopher Willcock’s “This Body Will be Given For You” as the Communion Song, and “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” (OLD HUNDREDTH) as the Song of Praise after communion; the Mass setting was Bernard Kirkpatrick’s “Mass of Christ the Redeemer” and Psalm 33/34 “I will bless the Lord at all times” was sung in my setting.
The rest of the evening was kept free for the participants. I was truly blessed by being invited to Bishop Ingham’s house along with other speakers and workers on the conference for a wonderful buffet meal and delightful conversation. The high point for me was when we were all able to sing “Happy Birthday” to Bishop Peter in anticipation of his 73rdbirthday on Saturday.