The liturgical year presents us with opportunities to reflect on the Paschal Mystery in our everyday lives. Catholics are familiar with the liturgical seasons through the readings and colours used at Mass. Below is a sprinkling of resources for individual or group reflection at different occasions of the liturgical cycle.
As the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle continues its synodal journey through Lent 2021, communities are supported to engage in contemplative dialogue and reflection. A variety of reflections and resources can be accessed from our Synod website page Building the Kingdom of God Together.
In the Church of Maitland-Newcastle the Chrism Mass is celebrated annually on the Tuesday evening of Holy Week, 7 pm in the Sacred Heart Cathedral. It is an amazing liturgy. People gather from all over the diocese. They come by bus and car and by 6.30 pm the cathedral and its precinct are full of people, all catching up and preparing to be part of this most significant celebration of our faith.
This gathering of the whole Church at the Cathedral with the Bishop is an important part of our preparation for the Easter Ceremonies which will take place throughout the diocese.
At the Chrism Mass the Bishop blesses the oil of catechumens and the oil of the sick and consecrates the oil of chrism. The first is used for anointing adult catechumens and infants, the second for anointing the sick, and the sacred oil of chrism for baptism, confirmation, the ordination of priests, and the consecration of altars. The tradition of blessing the oils goes back to the early church. Only the bishop can consecrate chrism.
Celebrated with the Bishop, most of the clergy and representatives from all parishes, the Chrism Mass is a great celebration of our unity as the Church of Maitland-Newcastle. This unity is marked in a special way when, after the readings and homily, everyone participates in a renewal of their commitment to ministry which we share, though in different ways.
This renewal begins with the Assembly – all God's priestly, prophetic and kingly people – who recommit to the work of spreading God's word in their families, communities and workplaces. Then the deacons restate their commitment to the loving and humble service called for by the gospel. This is followed by the priests' renewal of their priestly promises to unite themselves with Christ and to steward the mysteries of God. Finally the Bishop renews his commitment to becoming a more faithful image of Christ the Good Shepherd. Through the process of this renewal, the people offer their prayer and support to their deacons, priests and bishop. Our unity characterised by difference is acted out in this ritual of renewal.
A simple resource for prayer and reflection on the texts for the blessing of the holy oils is available here. It can help you prepare to participate in the Chrism Mass, or reflect on your experience after. It can be used personally or in groups.
A template for parishes looking for a ritual to receive the oils sent to them from the Chrism Mass is available in MS Word or PDF format.
View 2023 Chrism Mass flyer for participation at Mass and invitation to join the choir for this Mass.
View photos from 2022 Chrism Mass.
The following resources are provided to assist parishes in planning their Easter ceremonies.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, many people will acknowledge Anzac Day from home. The following resources are suitable for home use:
Sydney Catholic Schools has provided the following Google slide presentations suitable for children and families:
The Australian Catholic Bishops website has resources for Anzac Day. The tabs at the top of the site include access to the music for Mass for the Fallen, We Shall Remember Them by Christopher Willcock SJ and other resources.
Many parish communities are reflecting on what to do when weekday Mass is not possible. The Liturgy Council has considered this issue and produced a Practice Note: Liturgical Celebrations on Weekdays which aims to assist parishes to respond to this pastoral situation in the best way possible. The Practice Note is recommended to Parish Leadership Teams and Liturgy Teams for their consideration and discussion. It also has relevance to Catholic school communities. Other resources on this website will assist parishes and schools in their response: Information about the Prayer of the Church and templates for Morning and Evening Prayer and a Week Day Liturgy of the Word template.
In Australia Mary MacKillop’s feast is celebrated as a solemnity on August 8. Resources to assist in celebrating this feast are provided below:
Pope Francis announced September 1 2015 as the first annual 'World Day of Prayer'. Go to the 'Reflection' section of our community resources web page for more information.
The Christian season of Advent is becoming more and more counter cultural. As the world speeds up in the race to Christmas, and as Christmas decorations and carols abound, Advent invites Christians to slow down, to pay attention to our deepest longings and hopes, to pray and reflect, to be uncluttered and unhurried, as we prepare to celebrate the mystery of Christ’s birth at Christmas.
As part of our diocesan Synod process, Pastoral Ministries has prepared an Advent resource titled Waiting with Purpose. It seeks to respond to the voice of the faithful heard expressing a longing for different forms of prayer that include faith sharing. And so Waiting with Purpose invites us to use Mystagogical Reflection as our way of encountering Christ in the Advent gospels.
Waiting with Purpose is a resource that invites all members of the community to gather a circle of people – family, friends, colleagues, ministry teams – to reflect mystagogically on the Advent gospels. This is an opportunity to encounter Christ where we are, to pay attention to what Christ reveals in the scripture and the living tradition of our faith, to share this, to connect it to our life now and to be changed by it. Mystagogical Reflection deepens our capacity to live from Christ.
During Advent, our hope is that anyone and everyone will gather a circle of people to reflect on the Advent gospels using Waiting with Purpose, our diocesan Advent Reflection Resource. Parishes and schools may like to schedule some gatherings for Advent reflection.
ONLINE REFLECTION: To capture those who are not able to form a reflection group, Pastoral Ministries will host four online opportunities across each week of Advent. Find out more at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/waiting-with-purpose-advent-2022-tickets-443044436837.
For a joyful and quirky explanation of the relevance of Advent today watch Advent in 2 minutes video by BustedHalo.com.
© 2019 Busted Halo®, All rights reserved. Permission given to parishes and schools within the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle to download, copy, and share video under following conditions: Do not edit the video in any way and do acknowledge BustedHalo.com as the publisher, via note in publication or verbal mention before use.