Assessing Synod Outcomes Ten Years On

It is ten years since the Archdiocese held its first-ever synod. Liturgy came out as a top priority with all six of the items listed as being essential in order “to make liturgy the SUMMIT toward which all Church activity is directed and the SOURCE from which its power flows” receiving strong support from Synod Assembly members.

The Synod members gave the desired outcome “That parish liturgy becomes more vibrant, meaningful and inclusive” the highest ranking of all 21 presented. The strategies proposed by the Writing Team for achieving these outcomes included:

Parishes ensure that there is a functioning liturgy committee collaborating with the pastoral leadership team.
The Liturgical Commission produces guidelines for a parish liturgy committee setting out its role, membership and sources of support.
As a priority, parishes sponsor liturgy training for key parish people (liturgy committee members, musicians, pastoral associates, presiders, etc) by making budget allocations for training and by inviting suitable people to undertake training.
Parishes provide resources for key liturgy personnel; for example, copies of the liturgical books, music resources, journal subscriptions, and any other resources – printed and online.
Deaneries or clusters of parishes nominate a qualified liturgy consultant to assist parishes in their liturgy preparation and in sharing resources.
The Liturgical Commission establishes a network of these regional liturgy consultants and supports their work
Ensure liturgical cooperation between parish and school by establishing a joint committee of Brisbane Catholic Education and The Liturgical Commission.
Provide regular liturgical in-service for RE coordinators, teachers of religion, and campus ministers.
Parishes review the quality and sacredness of the church building, its arrangements and its fittings.
Parishes establish a structured plan to arrange each church to support the liturgy in the best way possible.
Parish liturgy committee ensures that the liturgy includes women in its ministries and language.
Parish liturgy committee ensures that the liturgy is welcoming of different ethnic groups, of young and old alike, and of people with disability.

The Liturgical Commission (now Liturgy Brisbane) completed the second strategy soon after the synod and guidelines for Liturgy Committees can be found under Documents/Brisbane on the Liturgy Brisbane website http://liturgybrisbane.net.au/ . This document covers the role of a parish liturgy committee, suggestions for setting up a liturgy group, principles of good liturgy, a process for preparation and recommended resources.

A joint committee between Liturgy Brisbane and Brisbane Catholic Education was established as recommended in Strategy #7 and there is now frequent contact between the two bodies, with Liturgy Brisbane regularly providing formation in liturgy for teachers and APREs.

It would be timely for parishes and deaneries to review the strategies above, to celebrate what has been achieved with regard to making parish liturgy more vibrant, meaningful and inclusive over the last ten years, and to put in place a plan of action in those areas which have still to be taken on board or which require further development.

Elizabeth Harrington