Diocesan Liturgical Guidelines and Advice

Liturgical guidance for when the Bishop/Diocesan Administrator is presiding

For some years a range of people have asked for a document that provides some guidance for when the Bishop is coming to their community and presiding at a liturgy. The Diocesan Liturgy Council and College of Assistant Masters of Ceremonies have been drafting such a document for some time. Finally we have completed a first edition which responds to the most common questions and enquiries received from people preparing such liturgies. The first draft was sent to about fifteen people for comment and amendments were made to include their suggestions. This first edition is now ready for you to ‘test drive’. It will remain a living document always tweaked in response to your feedback. It will be revised when we have a new Bishop.

COVID-19: From pandemic to endemic

Mandatory self-isolation for those who test positive for COVID-19 ceased on 14 October 2022. The government has indicated that it is time to move beyond restrictions imposed on the whole community to empower and respect the choice of the individual. It is time therefore to remove the current COVID liturgical and pastoral advice and guidelines for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle – Continuing Life during COVID-19_ the New Normal Edition published 25 February 2022 – effective from 14 October 2022.

Moving liturgy forward from restriction

The Diocesan Liturgy Council has prepared a Memo inviting communities to reimagine their liturgy life so that the liturgy can be celebrated in all its fullness and beauty. View the memo for download.

Communion Rite guidance

In the latter part of 2019 the Diocesan Liturgy Council hosted a series of gatherings that engaged in a process of ‘Listening and Dialogue’ about the new document Pastoral Guidance for the Celebration of the Communion Rite at Mass. The initial document has been revised in light of those conversations. The Second Edition, which replaces the previous version, is available here for download.

Holy Communion and Coeliac Disease or Gluten Intolerance

The Australian Catholic Bishops Commission for Liturgy has issued Guidelines on Ministry of Holy Communion for those Living with Coeliac Disease or Gluten Intolerance. Those living with Coeliac Disease or Gluten Intolerance can find information on how to obtain low gluten hosts here.

Pastoral guidance for Confirmation

The promulgation of the revised Order of Confirmation provided an opportunity to prepare pastoral guidance and resources to assist parish communities and their sacramental teams in the preparation and celebration of the sacrament of confirmation.

Our DoMN Confirmation Guidelines inform our pastoral practice regarding the preparation and celebration of confirmation and first communion in relation to confirmation. It is good formation for sacramental teams to revisit the guidelines every year.

The following resources have been recently updated in response to ongoing feedback from parishes and because we currently are without a bishop. For the latter reason two new templates have been added. Please use the updated templates. You can copy text across from your existing copies.

  • DoMN COVID-safe Presentation of Symbols: Word doc and PDF version. This form is to be used if you are preparing a Master Order of Service.   
  • DoMN Alternative Rites: Word doc and PDF version
  • DoMN Confirmation Advice Form: Word doc. This form is to be used if you are preparing a Master Order of Service.
  • DoMN Confirmation Advice Form and Liturgy Outlines: Word doc. The Liturgy Outline only needs to be completed if you are not preparing a Master Order of Service. Please note that presiders tend to prefer a Master Order of Service.
  • DOMN Template 1 – Order of Confirmation Outside Mass with the bishop presiding: Word doc. (updated 2022)
  • DOMN Template 2 – Order of Confirmation within Mass with the bishop presiding: Word doc. (updated 2022)
  • DOMN Template 3 – Order of Confirmation Outside Mass with a priest presiding: Word doc. (2022)
  • DOMN Template 4 – Order of Confirmation within Mass with a priest presiding: Word doc. (2022)

It is recommended that parish ministers check these templates every year as we do update them regularly in response to feedback.

There are two brief articles available at Liturgy Brisbane that may assist parish sacramental teams:  ‘Preparing Young People for Confirmation and First Communion’ and ‘Confirmation and First Communion Masses’.

A new guidance document 'When the Bishop, Diocesan Administrator or his delegate is presiding' may also help those preparing the celebration of confirmation, especially if the person is new to this ministry.

As a supplement to this guidance document, in response to many suggestions and requests for more support, The College of Assistant Master of Ceremonies has prepared a Checklist for parishes that covers all the things to be done in the two weeks between finalising the Master Order of Service and Celebrating the Liturgy. The document is self explanatory. It can be downloaded as a Word doc or PDF version.

Guidelines for the Order of Christian Funerals

(Posted 28 June 2019)

The existing Diocesan Funeral Guidelines, Celebrating Life and Death Togetherwere drafted as an interim document in 2002 when ‘Lay Funeral Ministers’ were first introduced in some parishes. At this stage, few parishes are aware of these interim guidelines.

Recent years have seen an increase in questions from parishes regarding the Funeral Rites as well as requests for some support, guidance or guidelines.  In response to these requests the Diocesan Liturgy Council (DLC) has established a Working Party to revise the 2002 guidelines. 

A Consultation and Discernment Process was developed to achieve this.  For an overview of this process click here.

A series of Reflective Dialogues was held in 2017 to hear from the Catholic community. Information on the nature of the Reflective Dialogue is available here

The project of revising guidelines is continuing.

Guidelines for Sunday Celebrations in Anticipation of Eucharist

The existing Diocesan Guidelines for Sunday Celebrations in Anticipation of Eucharist are to be reviewed.​

DLC "Practice Notes"

The following Practice Notes are offered by the Diocesan Liturgy Council in response to questions raised regarding specific liturgical practices.