Liturgical Formation in the Local Church

Rev Michael Perham, Secretary, Alcuin Club

95% of liturgical formation is hidden within the liturgy itself and within life of Christian community. Liturgical formation about getting the liturgy inside people, so that they live and breathe it. For example, liturgy of Holy Week allows us to identify our own story with that Our Lord in his Passion, as also in ordinary time. The importance of the building which can be a denial of what we believe the Church to be. Stancliffe, 'texts take their colour from the way they are done', but what the liturgy is saying is often flatly contradicted by our surroundings. Formative also is the worshipping community. However, current emphasis on this brings attendant dangers and create fresh exaggerations. The exchange of the Peace is discussed in this context. One of the most powerful instruments of liturgical formation is the liturgical book. We should have a book but it should encourage us to be adventurous. Alternative Service Book discussed. Now books don't last more than a generation, a disadvantage in terms of the liturgy 'getting inside you'. Our private devotions can derive from our liturgical books. As well as leaders preparing, the people also need to prepare for worship. The shortness of biblical passages read and sermons preached is discussed. Signs, symbols and ceremonies discussed, and how far they should be explained. The monthly pattern of services is discussed, as is the area of children and their liturgical formation. The place of worship groups, possibly in the context of the church council, and the planning of worship together., although important of avoid a liturgical elite. Greatest obstacle is lack of expertise or confidence among the clergy.

Volume 20 Spring 1989, p17