New Mass Prayers for Australia Day

New Mass Prayers for Australia Day
Many parish communities will celebrate Mass on January 26th to mark our national day.

For the past 15 years specially composed texts have been available for Mass on Australia Day, including the Opening Prayer, Prayer over the Gifts, Preface, Prayer after Communion and Solemn Blessing.It was hoped that these texts would be incorporated in the new Missal for Australia, however the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments assumed the responsibility of reworking the prayers for Australia Day. In general the new texts will be helpful, but they are a pale reflection of what was composed for our use a decade ago.

Grant, we pray, O Lord our God,
that as the Cross shines in our southern skies,
so may Christ bring light to our nation, to its peoples old and new,
and by saving grace, transform our lives.

Prayer over Offerings
As we come before you with the fruits of the earth,
tended by our hands, O Lord,
we pray that these offerings may bring a blessing on our land
and peace to all who dwell here.

Prayer after Communion
May our partaking of this sacrificial meal, O Lord,
grant us strength to walk together in the ways of justice,
and behold one day the new heavens and new earth
you prepare for us in Christ your Son.

For from ancient times you made this land a home for many peoples,
and became their rock of strength;
when they were hungry, you gave them food,
and when thirsty, water even in the desert.
To all, your providence has proclaimed the Good News
of Jesus Christ, your Son,
sent by you to be the Saviour of all the world,
who has brought peace by his sacrifice on the Cross.

This must be one of the few times where the new text is shorter than the original. It seems a pity to have lost wonderful images in the previous version such as:
The fierce flood of your grace sweeps away all barriers,
and soaks deep into our being,
so that the desert blooms with the life that lies in wait.

Solemn Blessing
May God who formed our southern land be for you a rock of strength.
May God who rules the great seas keep you safe in every storm.
May God who made the skies above turn your darkness into light.

Disappointingly, the new blessing seems to focus on individual wellbeing whereas the previous version was about sharing and outreach:

May the God of truth and love
make you eager to share your gifts with others.
May God who has shown his justice to the nations
make you tireless messengers in his service.
May God who has shown you his salvation
guide you swiftly to the inheritance he has promised.

Elizabeth Harrington