“Lift Up Your Hearts 2014” Report #5

Having shared with Pray Tell readers a summary of the events comprising “Lift Up Your Hearts 2014,” the Australian National Liturgy Conference, I’d like to highlight some of the elements that made this conference so successful, perhaps as a series of recommendations to conference-planners in the future.

  1. Pray Tell readers may have noted just how much attention was spent on providing participants with food: morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, an evening barbeque one day, a conference banquet another. All but the conference banquet were part of the price of the conference. This practice not only kept the pace of the conference from becoming overwhelming, but also offered natural opportunities for socializing and sharing insights after keynotes and breakout sessions.
  2. Opportunities for daily prayer (Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, Taize-style prayer) were frequent and well-prepared, with a full component of ministers, but no outlandish display. The music for these daily prayers was carefully chosen not only to be appropriate for the conference, but able to be used in the communities to which the participants would return. Modeling of wise pastoral choices was also in evidence in elements such as the use of some of the same music from day to day in the Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharistic service music from settings that are widely used already in Australia so that music rehearsal for conference liturgy was minimized.
  3. Throughout the breakout sessions there was a strong emphasis on inculturation.  Most impressive to me was the welcome to country and concluding ritual offered by aboriginal people, but every day began with an acknowledgement of the peoples who originally guarded the land on which the conference was being held and the wisdom of the elders. What was especially stirring was that these elements were seamlessly incorporated into the flow of the conference and didn’t bear a sense of tokenism.
  4. Although a variety of purveyors of church goods and publishers were in evidence throughout the conference (and indeed were publically identified and thanked as sponsors of the event), one never got the impression that the conference was primarily an commercial event driven by economic concerns.
  5. Best of all, a genuine spirit of mutual respect marked the interchanges throughout the conference.  So-called “progressive” speculations about future liturgical changes (e.g., the influence of eco-theology and feminist concerns) were not shut down, nor were so-called “conservative” appeals (e.g., on the New Liturgical Movement or the use of chant in worship) dismissed out of hand.  Perhaps as Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Fr. Christopher Willcock said during the concluding panel, by going “deeper and wider” in our liturgical engagement we can overcome the “liturgy wars” of our recent past.


  1. I love posts like these!! I get SO very weary of the constant carping at one another and harping on things that have been argued over ad nauseum and which pope is the one to believe and which council takes precedence…….
    It sounds like a conference well worth attending and I wish I could have! Your presentations are always well worth the trip!
    I noticed (re:#2) as you were posting the music choices that there was a great mix of traditional and contemporary pieces that were familiar to most…..more praying, less sight reading!!
    Re:#3 & #4 – I am glad that someone is doing a good job of inculturation – perhaps it is their culture “down under” that gives everyone a better awareness and appreciation of all peoples. And perhaps their culture is also less driven by commercialism and financial solvency or gain. Many in our culture can be short on the former and long on the latter!
    Thank you, Michael.

  2. Like Linda, I too appreciate your positive reporting.

    I noticed that the musical choices throughout the conference were quite middle of the road. And other than Bishop Elliott’s presentation on the “New Liturgical Movement,” there was nothing that seemed in the least to be “trad-leaning” throughout the conference. Did you detect any unrest among the participants? Or is radical traditionalism a rare phenomenon in Australia? Or did all the rad trads just stay away from the conference?

    1. @Fr. Ron Krisman – comment #2:

      The traddies just went somewhere else for the day. The EF is celebrated at least in all the major cities, and there are SSPX missions. Also, the Australian Ordinariate is very “English Missal” and also friendly to Roman Catholic traditionalism.

  3. Thank you, Fr. Michael, for these suggestions. They’re timely as I’m currently part of a team planning an event.

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