Parish Liturgy Group

Guidelines for Liturgy Groups

 

What is Liturgy?

Liturgy is our Sunday Mass celebrations; it is our reconciliation services; it is occasions like baptisms, marriages and deaths in our community; it is anytime we gather to pray and worship together as a community. Liturgy gives praise to God. It articulates and supports the faith of the parish. Liturgy addresses the joys, needs, hungers, celebrations of all. It is particular to this community, yet reminds us that we are part of the whole church community.

How doe we 'do liturgy' as a parish?

Each season of the year reflects a different face of God. It also reflects our faith by the choice of liturgies, readings, prayers, hymns and symbols. Each parish community is different, and needs to find ways to come to know and understand its faith, as it celebrates liturgy.

What is the role of the Parish Liturgy Group?

  • Plan the liturgical year ahead - short-term/ medium-term/ long-term
  • Be aware of the different moods/times/senses of the liturgical year
  • Ensure that there is initial and on-going formation and support for all liturgical ministers;
  • Connect with the other ministry groups to ensure good communication and clarity;
  • Evaluate our liturgical celebrations and make whatever decisions are needed for our upcoming celebrations.

 

Who would you invite to join the Liturgy Group?

Anyone who shows an interest and is open to enjoying and celebrating liturgy, to working in coperation with priest(s) and parishioners, to undertaking some reading and reflection on liturgy, and who is open to creativity. It can be very helpful to have people from some of the ministry groups e.g. Word, or Eucharistic or music ministers, altar society etc. as well as people from different age groups within the parish community. When you have a group together, it is important that there is a shared understanding of:

  • The meaning of liturgy and what we are trying to do in and through the Mass;
  • The role and purpose of the liturgy group in the parish;
  • The relationship between this group and other groups in the parish.

Courses offered at centres like the Diocesan Pastoral Centre and Glenstal Abbey can be a source of on-going learning for those involved in parish liturgy groups. See our diocesan calendar for information on up coming events.

What is the agenda for our liturgy meetings?

Like all parish ministries, we are called to consider both the current and the long term needs of the community. So preparation for an up-coming liturgy is important. So too is consideration of wider issues. Two questions could inform our work:

  • How are our celebrations enabling people to pray and live their lives as Christians?
  • How can we make our celebrations more welcoming and inclusive for all?

As a liturgy group, we need to become aware of the different groups who come to celebrate in our community e.g. young children, older people, parents, people with a disability. As we prepare liturgies, it can be helpful to imagine oneself as young, old, unwell, disaffected, hard of hearing etc. to see how this might seem to others, and whether in fact we are managing to touch into the needs of different groupings within the parish community.

Taking Action

If possible, take a few weeks just to notice what is happening in your parish – try to look at it all afresh and see what is good, what is supportive, what is life giving to parishioners.Begin small...concentrate on one Mass or some small actions. Confidence and abilities grow as we learn from each small step.Take stock as you go. Take note of what you try and how it worked for you...take time to see what is helpful for your parish and what is needed.

Possible outline for Parish Liturgy meetings:

September:      Reconnecting and Preparing for Harvest Mass, Mission Mass

October:          Preparing for November Mass

November:      Preparing for Advent  and Christmas

December:       Preparing for Christmas

January:           Preparing for Mass for the Sick

February:         Preparing for Lent

March:             Preparing for Easter

April:               Preparing for Pentecost

May:                Preparing for Exam Mass

June:                Celebrating and evaluating the year

The liturgy group is not simply in charge of preparing a special monthly celebration, but in fact, is invited to look at how all our celebrations can be improved. For this reason, it can be helpful to look at other areas too, such as the physical environment of the church (lighting, heating, sound systems), and the liturgical ministers (do we need more ministers of the Word? Do the Eucharistic minsters need some support? When will we celebrate and acknowledge our altar servers?) It is a mixture of looking at the regular celebration during the year and preparing special liturgies.

Prayer

We cannot prepare prayer if we do not pray together ourselves. It is important for the liturgy group to nourish itself, and prayer is a central part of each meeting. Taking the Sunday gospel or using another way of praying helps to tune us in to what we are about as a group. It is also a way of tuning into the season of the year, and what we are celebrating as a parish at this time.