Showing posts categorised as 'Liturgy'

A Service of Hope: praying for those missing from home

by Frances Novillo
Posted at 14:23pm on 13th January 2018
January is a difficult month, by all accounts.  The media report Blue Monday as the most depressing day to head out to work in the cold and dark.  As a new year begins, chronic problems may appear more daunting, the prospect of struggling to cope with them for another 12 month...

Take a bow

by Frances Novillo
Posted at 10:03am on 23rd October 2017
The fantastical hippogriff is said to have a body like a horse and a head and wings like an eagle.  In J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, students are described learning to approach a hippogriff cautiously, bowing, then waiting for the creature to reciprocate.  They quickly...

The tyranny of the template

by Frances Novillo
Posted at 10:29am on 23rd June 2017
Templates are effective in liturgy preparation since they outline the shape and content which renders an act of worship recognisably Catholic.  Following a template ensures nothing vital is overlooked. However, since templates simplify and summarise, they may omit valid options available to liturgy planners, which can lead to unnecessarily repetitive and...


by Frances Novillo
Posted at 03:26am on 9th March 2016
Training liturgical ministers, I invite participants to reflect on images around the church where Christ is held, embraced or cradled, since when distributing Communion or proclaiming the Word, ministers will likewise be holding Christ.  A statue of St Joseph might depict Jesus as an eager, lively toddler, while by contrast,...

Laudato Si'

by Frances Novillo
Posted at 03:08am on 12th November 2015
Laudato Si’ is addressed to all humanity (Laudato Si’ (LS) 3).  It’s about human relationships, as much as plants, creatures, and climate.  Individuals will read and react to it, but the encyclical is clear that each individual action impacts on other people, other creatures, and the environment.  What is described...

Set in stone

by Frances Novillo
Posted at 04:00am on 29th June 2015
Stone features in most of our churches, but its significance as a symbol in worship is sometimes overlooked.  It’s there in the foundations, walls, and furniture, but it seems primarily functional.  It forms the permanent fixtures symbolising what abides for ever, unchanging.  Of course, this can be comforting or obstructive.  The...

Plus ca change

by Frances Novillo
Posted at 03:30am on 10th March 2015
... or how to please at least some of the people some of the time What do you wish for most of all?  Conversely, what is your greatest fear?  For the best or worst to come to pass, change is necessary, and sometimes even small changes awaken intense and deeply rooted...


by Frances Novillo
Posted at 02:22am on 2nd July 2014
Liturgy is a moving experience.   The processions of every Mass (most noticeably to Communion) symbolise journeying in faith towards God, then sharing with others after an encounter with Him.  The faithful move together daily, weekly, and via lifetime milestones: weddings, baptisms, 1st Holy Communion, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Ordination and installation, healing...

Take cover

by Frances Novillo
Posted at 06:11am on 15th November 2013
A parish priest’s absence may feel like a disaster or a blessed relief.  Clergy holidays, ill-health, family matters, or departure due to a parish move or retirement can leave parishioners welcoming a new man upfront, once in a while, or at every Mass, every day, every weekend, for some time. Priest...

Forgive and Remember

by Frances Novillo
Posted at 11:42am on 1st June 2013
Before celebrating the sacred mysteries, we seek forgiveness, sharing the reality of lives lived as sinners called to be saints – forgiven but not forgetting, since liturgy calls for both repentance and remembrance.  As Timothy Radcliffe writes:   Forgiveness is not the scrubbing out of our sins, pretending that they never happened....

Live to tell the tale

by Frances Novillo
Posted at 04:50am on 11th January 2013
At Cecil Sharpe House, home of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, I met a professional story-teller.  As she told me about her craft, I appreciated within it similarities with my ministry as a cantor.  Both animate the assembly with time-honoured words, engaging the people in listening again, and...

The song, the sound, and the silence

by Frances Novillo
Posted at 10:21am on 5th April 2012
The Catholic press reported a few congregations resisting the new translation deliberately with rebellious silence.  Some worshippers responded with silence for fear of making mistakes, unsure which phrases had changed and which remained unaffected.  Where Catholics are voicing the new texts in speech and song with increasing confidence, initial hesitation...

Lyrics for Liturgy 1: Liturgical Song

by Frances Novillo
Posted at 15:28pm on 2nd February 2009
How do the music and text of a hymn, when properly chosen, enable us to worship as a community? The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art.  The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination...
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