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Liturgy Course 1st - 3rd Oct 2015

200 participants from various liturgical ministries took part in a 3-day Liturgy Course that was held in Church of Mater Dei, Lutong Miri. It was organised by the St.Joseph’s Cathedral Parish Liturgy and Worship Committee.  The liturgical ministries that attended the event were sacristans, altar servers, choir and cantors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, hospitality (wardens), intercessors, commentators and projectionists.

The invited speaker for this event was Fr. John Chia, chairperson for Diocesan Liturgical Committee. On the first day, Fr John presented his talk on “What is Liturgy? To understand and to know what takes place and what we celebrate?” The heart of liturgy is the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ: His Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension into heaven – that gives us salvation. God the Father is the Source and Summit of liturgy. And with the help of the Holy Spirit and the Church, Christ and His saving work is make present to us in the liturgy.

The topic that were presented on the second day was “Sacred Signs and Active Participation at Mass - What do these actions mean, and why are they so important?” Fr John quoted a passage by his favorite catholic priest, Fr. Romano Guardini which says, "The agent acting in the liturgy, the one who prays and offers, is not 'the soul' or 'the interior spirit' but man. It's the whole man which carries out liturgical activity. The soul, to be sure, but only insofar as it gives life to the body. The interior spirit, to be sure, but only insofar as it manifests itself in the body.”

Fr John also did demonstrations on some of the 'sacred signs and gestures' that we should practice in the Holy Sacrifice of the mass, and what is not advisable to do. Some of them are 'dipping your hand in holy water, the proper of making the sign of the cross, genuflecting and bowing, receiving communion etc. He gave meanings and reasons for each one of them.

On the last day, Fr John celebrated mass in the morning. Later, he gave another talk on the different liturgical ministries that are in the church and the roles. All the ministries were made aware of their responsibilities in the liturgy and that each of them has the right and duty to be active participants in what happens at liturgy. They are reminded of St Paul’s words, that each of them has different gifts and services to offer, and that they are all serving in the same Spirit and God. Serving the church is not for individual recognition, but is the best way of offering themselves to God.

Throughout the day, there were also individual workshops that were carried out by facilitators from Diocesan Liturgical Committee, for the respective ministries. At the end of the day, Q&A session was carried out where participants raised questions, problems and concern they’ve experienced. All in all the event has indeed instill a deeper meaning of liturgy, and encourage more active participation in the mass. It also gives the different liturgical ministries a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities in the celebration of mass.

This was the second event hosted by the St.Joseph’s Cathedral Parish Liturgy and Worship Committee this year for all ministries. The first event was carried out on mid of last month (Sept 15 -16) for all extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, main speaker was also Fr.John Chia. Fr John thanked all the faithful for participating in the three-day liturgy course and he hopes to have more of this course carry out in the diocese. The day ended with a prayer by him



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