The Liturgical Year

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.

Over recent years the Liturgical Year and the Calendar has become an increasingly challenging balancing act. To assist parishes in preparing their liturgical calendar, the Diocesan Liturgy Council has prepared resources for download:

The Liturgical year spreadsheet Calendar and Pastoral Note above are enriched by the resources under each heading below. The Information, Advice and Reminder for Easter 2024 is now available on the website. Click on the Easter Triduum drop-down menu below.

Below is a sprinkling of resources for individual or group reflection at different occasions of the liturgical cycle.


During the season of Lent, we are called to look deeply at the human condition, just as Jesus, the Son of God, experienced. We are reminded during this time of hardship, suffering, and ultimately dying that we must stretch ourselves. We must pray and fast from whatever is taking hold of the fullness of life. This time calls for personal reflection and encourages us to look out with missionary eyes to intentionally give to those in need.

Transformation through Revelation - Diocesan Resource. 


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 2024 Chrism Mass flyer for participation at Mass and invitation to join the musicians for this Mass.


The following resources are provided to assist parishes in planning their Easter ceremonies.

  • A parish resource: Information, Advice and Reminders for Easter 2024
  • Fr Andrew Doohan's keynote address from the 2016/17 Triduum formation days.
  • Some key liturgical documents about the Paschal Triduum.
  • A short articleCelebrating the Paschal Triduum: 'rehearsal' for paschal living, from the Good Samaritan Sisters' e-magazine.
  • People's Booklet for the Paschal Triduum (template). Newcastle Parish supplies this. It may help parishes prepare their People's Booklet.
  • Practice Note: Washing of the Feet on Holy Thursday has been prepared to outline the recent change to the norms regarding this ritual.
  • 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.

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.


Our Lady of Perpetual Help is the Patron of the Church of Maitland-Newcastle. Mass and Liturgy texts are provided in PDF and MS Word format for parishes and schools to use to celebrate our patronal feast solemnity on June 27. 


In Australia Mary MacKillop’s feast is celebrated as a solemnity on August 8. Resources to assist in celebrating this feast are provided below:

  • 2020 COVID-19 arrangements, for live-stream of Feast Day Mass 10.00 am at Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel North Sydney, are available here
  • Download texts for the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours
    • While these texts do not include texts for a Vigil Mass or for Evening Prayer I, communities could begin the celebration with either, given the explanation of Solemnities in the General Norms for the Liturgical year and the Calendar a. 11 Solemnities are counted as the principal days in the calendar and their observance begins with evening prayer I of the preceding day. Some also have their own vigil Mass for use when Mass is celebrated in the evening of the preceding day.
  • Download additional resources for the Prayer of the Church Mary MacKillop.
  • This article may assist those preparing the community's liturgical celebration.
  • Information on Mary MacKillop can be found on the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart website.
  • LiturgyHelp users can access the Mass of Solemnity with Lectionary and Missal texts of Mary of the Cross.

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. 

Advent in 2 minutes

For a joyful and quirky explanation of the relevance of Advent today watch Advent in 2 minutes video by

© 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 as the publisher, via note in publication or verbal mention before use. 


The Feast of Josephine Bakhita provides our whole community - parishes, schools, homes and other groups – with a wonderful opportunity to reach out and connect with the wider Catholic community who have a strong commitment to social justice, specifically modern slavery and human trafficking. The feast provides an opportunity for relevant and meaningful formation and prayer. The International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking also falls on 8 February. It too focuses on St Josephine Bakhita, highlighting the circumstances of violence and injustice affecting millions of voiceless people.

To that end the Diocesan Liturgy Council established a Working Party to study the issue of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking and produce a range of resources for parishes, schools, homes and community groups. These are available below.

It is hoped that the experience of prayer focused on current issues will help to form more deeply in the hearts and minds of the community, an appreciation of the integral link between prayer and Christian life and action. The above resources are a first step as we look forward to the journey ahead.

For more information about modern slavery and human trafficking, view articles below: 

These are critical issues for a church that exists for mission. They also provide an opportunity to learn more about St Josephine and her story.