Role of Liturgical Council
Liturgical Council’s role is to provide the structure that allows for definition of the tasks and methods for accomplishing them. It has a vital role in assisting the assembly to pray primarily at Sunday Mass but also at other liturgical celebrations. This is achieved through effective preparation and enhancement of the rites that encourage full, active and conscious participation by all.
In what ways are Liturgical Council implementing their role?
- Sunday celebrations: this is the main focus for preparation though there are other liturgies such as sacraments and funerals to be prepared. Much of the preparation is already done in the framework of the church documents, the liturgical year and seasons. The work of the liturgy team is primarily to assist the assembly to pray. This is achieved through the effective preparation of liturgies that enhance the rites and encourage participation by the people.
- Formation: the liturgy committee considers which liturgical ministries are present in the parish and the nature of their training and ongoing formation. Formation begins with the members of the team. It should occur at every meeting and be ongoing. The members need an understanding of the liturgical documents and ministries. Liturgical ministers, new and experienced, require initial and regular formation. The committee may advise on this formation. Finally formation of the assembly involves helping the people to worship well.
- Coordination and communication: the work of liturgy involves the cooperation of many different ministries. Coordination of and communication with these ministries and the worshiping community are important. The liturgy committee holds ‘the big picture’ and directs and empowers certain groups such as music ministry and creative groups but doesn’t take over. These ministries have their own expertise and need to be allowed to do what they do best within a framework. There needs to be balance between independence and supervision. It may be helpful to have a representative from each ministry in the liturgy team for better understanding of the issues and improved communication.
- Evaluation: the entire liturgical environment needs to be evaluated regularly by those attending the liturgical celebrations, after special occasions and particularly at the end of a season. The key criterion for evaluation is whether or not the people were able to participate fully, consciously and actively.
- Setting goals: the liturgy committee’s task based on a consideration of the worshiping group is to set goals, directions and standards for the overall liturgical life of the parish. Short, medium and long term goals need to be determined. They need to be stated in specific, measurable terms with a time limitation. In this way the goals are concrete and can be evaluated. Supporting and encouraging parishioners in their continuing efforts to be a Christian influence in the wider community.
What qualities are required of liturgical committees?
- A working understanding of what is good liturgy is an essential component of developing prayerful liturgical practice. This includes knowing the structure of the liturgy, the flow of ritual celebrations and the requirements of good liturgy as outlined in the liturgy documents. Insight into the various liturgical ministries and how they function can be found in the liturgical documents. This is pivotal to the good order and reverence of all liturgies.
- The committee should be made up of people interested in and informed about liturgy together with the parish priest. The presiding priest has a pivotal role in directing, guiding and forming the group.
- All members should support the priest who in turn should be open to ideas from the group.
- Those who have a leadership role in liturgies and representatives of different ministries and groups should be included.
- Cooperation and respect between and among members of the committee and parishioners are essential.