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Brisbane prominent at gathering of liturgists

Fr Tom Elich (right) receiving his award from Wollongong Bishop Peter Ingham.

Fr Tom Elich (right) receiving his award from Wollongong Bishop Peter Ingham.

BRISBANE archdiocese has played a significant role in this year’s National Liturgy Conference with Archbishop Mark Coleridge a keynote speaker and Brisbane Liturgy director Fr Tom Elich recognised for his “significant role in the publishing of liturgical resources for the nation”.

Themed Lift Up Your Hearts, the conference held in Wollongong from January 15 to 18, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

Liturgy Brisbane education officer Elizabeth Harrington said “an amazing number, more than 600 from as far away as New Zealand” attended the conference, with about 100 of them from Queensland.

Archbishop Coleridge’s keynote address followed the opening Mass.

His presentation explored the interconnectedness between sacred scripture, sacred liturgy and the call to evangelisation in the light of the four constitutions of the Second Vatican Council.

Mrs Harrington said the recognition of Fr Elich’s contribution to Australian liturgical life had been one of the highlights of the conference for her.

“The organisers acknowledged several people over the years who had contributed to liturgical reform,” she said.

Keynote address: Archbishop Mark Coleridge delivers his presentation to the National Liturgy Conference.  Click to enlarge.

Keynote address: Archbishop Mark Coleridge delivers his presentation to the National Liturgy Conference.
Click to enlarge.

“However, it was decided that one person should be selected for particular mention.

“I understand (Fr) Tom was the ‘hands down’ winner for this honour.

“For Tom, the honour was a complete surprise.

“It was well deserved as he’s put his heart and soul into the work.

“Also there wouldn’t be too many people in this field who have a double doctorate in liturgy, these qualifications being jointly awarded by the Sorbonne and the Pontifical faculty of Institute Catholique.”

Mrs Harrington said the conference had been a real boost to liturgists who can often feel “isolated” working in small groups in parishes.

She said funding was among significant issues discussed during the conference.

“A definite need was seen for parishes and dioceses to put funding into training and resources for liturgy and liturgical music in the parishes,” she said.

“The liturgy is supposed to be the summit of Catholic life but it often seems very low on the list of priorities when it comes to funding.”

Mrs Harrington said the conference seemed to have achieved its purpose.

“Listening to comments in the wrap-up session, it was clear many participants were heading back to their parishes with a renewed sense of purpose in their liturgical roles,” she said.

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