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Review of Making Liturgy
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Review of Making Liturgy

Creating Rituals for Worship and Life, Dorothea McEwan, Pat Pinsent, Ianthe Pratt and Veronica Seddon

Canterbury Press 2001; ISBN 1-85311-440-5; Canterbury Press Norwich, St. Mary's Works, St. Mary's Plain, Norwich, Norfolk NR3 3BH, UK

Review by John Wijngaards

A new phenomenon can be observed throughout Western countries, a phenomenon that may well have long-lasting consequences for the future of the Catholic Church. Everywhere small groups, predominantly of women, but also of men and women mixed, have begun to create and celebrate their own relevant forms of worship.

The liturgies are startlingly fresh and original, deeply Christian while being relevant to our own time, Catholic in their abundant reliance on colourful symbols, and highly conducive to maximum participation by all - the very thing that Vatican II was dreaming of. This is a development from the grassroots up, a real sign of vitality in the faith community.

Making Liturgy is an eminently practical book. It provides guidance and ideas. In the first section, leaders are given valuable hints as to what goes best for small groups, or conversely for large ones, how best to integrate symbols and dance and what music to choose. Here one finds an introduction to street liturgies and the creative use of space. All through, principles are involved but also the sharing of what works, and waht not, based on decades of experience.

The second part offers outlines of actual liturgies that have been enacted. There are samples for all seasonal feasts and on common themes. There is a special series of liturgies to reclaim women's unique roles in society and the Church. The outlines provide the substance elements for each liturgy: suggested symbols, poems, readings, songs and prayers: enough material to keep an active group going for a year, but also plenty of inspiration for local groups to start designing their own imaginative celebrations. The book, successfully, aims at sparking off and sustaining living liturgy.

John Wijngaards

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