Welcome from the director

At the centre of our liturgical year lies an ordered time which provides the Church with rich opportunities to focus on and find applicable meaning in the different facets of our faith lives expressed in the liturgy. In the lections, prayers and music of Ordinary Time, is found the Christian wisdom of the ages handed down to us for our consideration, inspiration and action. Ordinary Time brings with it a chance to consolidate our beliefs, to affirm and nourish our faith, and to take some time to hone our liturgical skills in order to realise more fully the wisdom, formative capacity and spiritual gifts housed in our liturgical forms. During Ordinary Time there is room to nurture excellence in liturgical performance so that the prayer of the Christian community might always be served by our most engaging and faithful proclaimers, our most gifted cantors, our most inspiring homilists. Achieving excellence in any forum takes knowledge, skill, mentoring and practice, and aiming for excellence in the performance of our prayer lives requires us to think differently about how we do the work of the liturgy.

In this issue of the Centre’s newsletter, we welcome a new staff member to the Centre’s team and report on a scholarship awarded to a masters’ student in liturgy.  Along with greetings from one of our Board of Advisors, you will find articles from two experienced liturgical musicians, Dr Paul Taylor and Ms Fiona Dyball, who map the local landscape at macro and micro levels. We encourage you to contact the Centre to discover how we can help you to hone liturgical skills and promote liturgical excellence among your community’s proclaimers, cantors, homilists and other ministers. Wishing you a productive and fruitful Ordinary Time.
Professor Clare V. Johnson
Director, ACU Centre for Liturgy
Professor of Liturgical Studies & Sacramental Theology, Faculty of Theology & Philosophy


Fr-Anthony-Casemento-200x200From our board of advisors
In his address to members of the Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music in October 2007, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI remarked on the “the effectiveness of song and sacred music in moving and uplifting hearts to penetrate, so to speak, the intimate depths of God’s life itself!”

This observation from Benedict XVI captures beautifully, the importance of liturgical music in enhancing the act of worship in Catholic liturgies. In worship, music is able to express the most profound thoughts and emotions in ways that words cannot. Music in the Christian context is a powerful act of worship that must be used thoughtfully, imaginatively, and prayerfully. As a member of the Advisory Board for the ACU Centre for Liturgy, I am delighted to be able to support the Centre achieve its mission on enhancing knowledge, practice and love of the liturgy (and in particular music) for the Church in Australia.
Fr Anthony Casamento, csma
Vice President, Australian Catholic University


News and recent events

Professional Specialist – Liturgy Education joins the staff of the Centre for Liturgy
After a national search, the Centre is pleased to announce the commencement of a new full-time staff member within the ACU Centre for Liturgy. Ms Sharon Boyd will join the Centre as a Professional Specialist – Liturgy Education beginning in semester 2, 2018. Sharon has a long affiliation with ACU as a sessional academic within the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, and has substantial experience working in Catholic parishes and secondary schools. She holds a MA in Liturgical Studies from the University of Notre Dame (USA) and a MA in Pastoral Care and Counselling from the Catholic Institute of Sydney. Sharon is a member of the Australian Academy of Liturgy and the Psychotherapists and Counsellors Federation of Australia.

ACU Centre for Liturgy scholarship

In April the Centre awarded its first 2018 postgraduate scholarship to Susan Fajardo from Brisbane who will focus in her ACU master of theological studies project on the ars celebrandi and its relationship to fostering full, conscious and active participation in the liturgy. 



From Death to New Life: Short Course on Preparing and Celebrating Catholic Funerals

The Centre for Liturgy is nearing the completion of its national short course investigating various aspects of Catholic funerals. Offered across five locations in four complementary sessions, the course explored the Christian theology of dying and death as well as how the Order of Christian Funerals celebrates death in a specifically Catholic way.

Other sessions included “Collaborating in care – funeral directors and priests in dialogue,” and “A fitting conclusion – preparing your Catholic funeral.” Director of the ACU Centre for Liturgy Professor Clare Johnson led the short courses in Melbourne and Geelong, joined by Dr Margaret Smith sgs, Fr Greg Bourke, Fr Jim Clarke, and Ms Wendy Goy of Tobin Brothers Funerals.
Dr Jason McFarland, ACU Lecturer and Assistant Director of the Centre, led the courses in Strathfield, Canberra, and Brisbane, joined by Rev Dr Tom Elich, Very Rev Peter Williams, Rev Dr Stephen Hackett msc, Fr Robert Borg, Msgr John Woods, Mr Warwick Hansen of Tobin Brothers, Mr Massimo Nodari of KM Smith, and Mr Brett Kennedy of WN Bull Funerals. The Centre is in the initial planning phase for its next short course. Watch the Centre’s website for details.  Find out more

Workshops and professional development

Professor Johnson travelled to Dubbo in late May to facilitate a weekend intensive for a diverse and interesting group of people participating in the Diocese of Bathurst Ministry Formation Program. A second weekend will be facilitated in Bathurst in August. She facilitated a professional development day in early June for prospective and aspiring religious education coordinators within Sydney Catholic Schools.

Paul-Taylor-200x200Liturgy Spotlight
The national Catholic liturgical repertoire
During the past fifty years of liturgical reform and renewal, liturgical musicians have witnessed a veritable explosion of compositions promoted by publishers and composers locally and overseas.
Exposure to such a range prompts the question: what is our national Catholic liturgical repertoire? Aware of the challenges facing liturgical musicians, the National Liturgical Music Board [NLMB] – an advisory body to the Bishops Commission for Liturgy of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference [ACBC] – is keen to provide a website where Catholic communities around Australia can access recordings and lists of recommended items from our national Catholic liturgical repertoire. It is hoped the site will assist musicians in identifying what belongs to our common repertoire and also to render some assistance to those seeking to learn new compositions.

An early effort by the Australian Bishops to promote a common repertory of approved liturgical music following the introduction of the vernacular liturgy is represented by Sing the Mass: A Directory and List of Approved Music for the Sung Mass [Melbourne: ACTS Publications, no. 1576 (20 May 1970)] and Music in the Liturgy: A Directory and List of Approved Music for the Sung Liturgy (Melbourne: Advocate Press, 1973). A decade later, the late Fr William Jordan (1935-2013) edited the Catholic Worship Book (Sydney: Dwyer & London: Collins Liturgical, 1985) with a view to fostering a common repertory around Australia. Ten years later Jane Wood edited another helpful and contemporary hymnal, Gather Australia (Melbourne: NLMC Publications and Chicago: GIA, 1995). The ready availability of the popular As One Voice, Vols. 1 and 2 (Sydney: Willow Publishing, 1992, 1996) and the steady growth of online liturgical and musical publishing meant Church communities in Australia and other countries had easy access to an extraordinary range of liturgical compositions not readily available prior to the introduction of the Order of Mass in English in Advent 1969.

Aware of the proliferation of liturgical compositions around the world, the Holy See called for episcopal conferences to prepare directories of liturgical hymn/song texts with a view to providing an official recognition, in order to foster a common expression of the Church’s faith and in the hope of stabilising the repertoire [see Liturgiam Authenticam [LA] (2001) art. 108]. The NLMB responded to LA by producing the NLMB List of Recommended Hymns and Songs, a list that received ACBC approval in May 2009. The intent of this list was to provide an indication of material considered appropriate for the Church’s liturgy according to standard liturgical, theological/textual, musical and pastoral criteria. It was from this list of recommendations that much of the contents of Catholic Worship Book II [CWBII] (Melbourne: Morning Star Publishing, 2016) was drawn, supplemented where necessary by other liturgical resources such as ministerial chants, Mass settings and ritual music.

The CWBII is rightly recognised as the ACBC’s official collection of liturgical music for Australia. The collection might be compared to other books used during the liturgy in this country. For example, the Roman Missal (London: Catholic Truth Society Publications, 2010) is a collection of officially approved liturgical prayers selected from a wider range of liturgical prayers produced over centuries and sifted by the Church over time. Similarly, the Lectionary is a selection of officially approved readings, responsorial psalms and canticles drawn from a wider collection of scriptures in the various books of the Bible. In each case, the Church has focused the selection of liturgical prayers, readings and hymns/songs within particular parameters, from a wider available selection. This is wise, because endless liturgical choices represented by multiple hard copy and internet sources is liturgically unwieldy and practically unrealistic. Think for a moment of Christmas carols: one reason the texts and music are participatory is that the repertoire is kept relatively stable and repeated from year to year in the Church - and the broader culture!

Whilst a digital version of CWBII is still in the pipeline, the internet is of immediate service by promoting a common national repertoire of liturgical music that is easy to access. The National Catholic Liturgical Repertoire website (forthcoming) will build on earlier resources by providing users with titles and musical examples musicians can learn with a view to fostering the full, conscious and active participation of the assembly in the Church’s liturgical prayer, the principal aim of the whole conciliar liturgical reform [cf. Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (1963) art. 14]. Drawing upon the NLMB list of recommended liturgical songs, CWBII and other Catholic (and ecumenical) sources past and present, the site will be of service particularly to liturgical communities with modest resources and those in search of musicians who can bring the notes on the page to life! The site will provide music for both general use and music proper to particular liturgical seasons, feasts or rites. The music suggested on the site has been curated by NLMB members and draws upon the talents of gifted students and musicians in schools and parishes around Australia. The site will be a work in progress and is sure to become a common reference point for liturgical musicians around Australia and beyond.

Dr Paul Taylor is Executive Secretary of the Bishops Commission for Liturgy of the ACBC and a member of the NLMB. He was a member of the editorial board of Catholic Worship Book (2016).



Sharing good practice: using Catholic Worship Book II in your parish

Using Catholic Worship Book II in your parish 
Using Catholic Worship Book II has been a welcome addition to the music resources at Immaculate Conception Catholic Parish in Hawthorn, Victoria. The resource brings together well-loved music from a wide Catholic repertoire, as well as lesser known pieces that support and encourage communal singing throughout the liturgical year. In 2017 the parish sought feedback on the adoption of CWBII which resulted in a positive response to the resource from the community. It is a joy to hear the assembly singing with confidence each week in Mass as the liturgical choir and instrumentalists support and weave their musical lines around this primary voice of the people.

Missa Magis (Willcock) and Mass Shalom (Smith, revised Mason) from CWBII are used throughout the liturgical year at Hawthorn. An inclusive and empowering music ministry has helped to create a singing culture at the parish through explicit and warm invitation, and skilled but humble musical leadership. Providing music notation through CWBII for the majority of music each week has proven to be a practical means of hospitality for regulars and visitors alike. Regardless of whether people can read music, being able to see the shape of the melody supports active participation so all people have the opportunity to find their voice in song.

A striking and unexpected result of using CWBII has been the revelation of the beautiful windows that form the stunning backdrop to the altar at Immaculate Conception. Because people are using the CWBII books, the large projector screen that had blocked the windows is now not needed for every weekend Mass. The simplicity, beauty and practicality of Catholic Worship Book II has enhanced participation in sung prayer at Hawthorn Parish. It is an invaluable collection for supporting the singing prayer of the Australian Church.

Ms Fiona Dyball is a member of the National Liturgical Music Board and Director of Music Ministries at Immaculate Conception Catholic Parish in Hawthorn, Victoria. She is also a part of the Marist National Formation Team.

Engage our expertise

Improve liturgical celebrations in your parish: We provide specialised training and formation workshops for parish ministers and liturgical musicians on a variety of topics. 

Deepen your understanding of the liturgy as a Catholic educator: Our professional development (PD) sessions and workshops focus on helping teachers and religious education leaders to enhance worship within school contexts. 

Develop your skills as a presider at liturgy: Our specialised PD sessions for clergy include topics such as: the art of presiding at worship, the art and craft of preaching, gaining confidence in presidential singing and navigating new liturgical translations.

Bring our experts to you: Our academic and professional specialists can deliver keynote addresses, public lectures, and conference workshops on topics of interest to your organisation.

The Liturgy Nexus

The Liturgy Nexus is an online network for professional Catholic liturgists and those working in areas related to liturgy, sacraments and the sacred arts. It is a subscription-based, closed network for conversation on liturgical issues, resource sharing and problem solving. 

Apply on the Centre of Liturgy website to join the conversation. Membership is granted to applicants who meet the eligibility criteria. The membership fee is $30.00 per year (not pro-rated) and can be renewed on or before March 1 each year.

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