WelCom November 2021
The National Liturgy Office (NLO) supports the New Zealand Catholic bishops in their pastoral, liturgical, and teaching ministry, and ensures that the distinctive identity of the Catholic Church in Aotearoa-New Zealand, with its Māori dimension, is present and celebrated in the Liturgy and celebrated.
NLO provides Liturgical resources as required by the bishops and as requested by people. It ensures no Liturgical area is missed and that requests from parishes, school chaplaincies and individuals are answered readily.
The office provides support and resources throughout the Liturgical year for the Mass–Miha, sacraments and rites, ministries, Liturgical music, and Church-related news and events. Support for Sunday Liturgy is changed weekly and throughout the year for Church seasons, Solemnities and some feast days.
The NLO team consists of Fr John O’Connor as director and Catherine Gibbs as administrative assistant. Their office is in the Archdiocesan Centre, Wellington. They oversee, produce and distribute resources to the six dioceses and others as requested. Materials are on the NLO website: nlo.org.nz
John O’Connor is a priest of the diocese of Christchurch with a background in parish ministry, spiritual and retreat direction. Catherine Gibbs lives in the Wellington Archdiocese and has a background in music, and arts education. She has strong links to promoting social justice and integral ecology.
‘We both work part-time for NLO from different cities, which requires considerable flexibility,’ Catherine says.
NLO is supported by a national Liturgy advisory group, representative groups from the dioceses and national networks, which include the Liturgical musicians’ network, the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults’ network, and the National Sign Language group for liturgy needs. ‘Through the Vicars for Māori we have also built good relationships to deliver scriptural translations, karakia and himene translations,’ says Catherine.
‘NLO has been impacted by the effect of the pandemic on Catholic communities. While the dioceses have responded directly with provision of live-stream Masses, we have provided supporting resources for parishes and schools. And we are providing support for Te Ara a Maria Hīkoi,’ Catherine says.
John and Catherine offer regular Zoom meetings for schools and parishes seeking support for Liturgies. ‘While the pandemic has restricted our physical availability, our desire is to respond to any invitation, either in person or by phone or Zoom,’ says John.