National Liturgy Office director Louise Campbell called on the faithful to “trust the liturgy of the Church” as she retired from office in September.
“Liturgy is not just a book, a text, a prayer. The liturgy is Christ present and active among the beloved of God, bringing us to fullness of life and mission in the Church,” she told NZ Catholic.
At a morning tea farewell for Mrs Campbell on October 4 at the Pompallier Diocesan Centre, NZCBC executive officer James van Schie described Mrs Campbell as “the antithesis of every bad joke about liturgists”.
“She is collaborative. She is a good listener. She gives patient advice. But above all, she remains clear about what her purpose is . . . [which is to] help us have a better appreciation of the beauty of our liturgy, but, above all, to allow us to experience God’s grace, to transform us to be a better reflection of God,” he said.
Mrs Campbell was appointed director of the National Liturgy Office in 2012. She brought extensive experience from her work in education and liturgy at school, parish and diocesan level, supplemented with service on various national committees.
“The work of the National Liturgy Office has brought both challenges and rewards,” she said. “Among the challenges have been the frustration of managing continuing translation of the rituals of the Roman Missal from original texts in respect of English syntax, structure and turns of phrase that have obscured the beauty and treasures of the liturgy.”
Mrs Campbell said that, thankfully, the work of the New Zealand bishops had been vindicated by the publication in September last year of Magnum Principium, which is Pope Francis’ motu proprio on liturgical translations. This restored to the bishops their proper role in both preparing and approving translations.
“New Zealand Catholic bishops are now eager to complete the preparation of the Order of Christian Marriage with the firm hope that the translation they approve will be well received by the appropriate office of the Holy See,” she said.
Mrs Campbell added that she hopes “Magnum Principium will also open the door to the provision of a revised lectionary for several English-speaking conferences that has been sorely obstructed in process”.
Mrs Campbell also worked on liturgical music, the ministry of Christian Initiation of Adults, Māori language translation of liturgical texts and support for the translation of the Prayers of the Mass in New Zealand Sign Language.
She said she collaborated with diocesan liturgy advisors, the lay and ordained, as well as with national networks.
“I find myself inspired and motivated by the gifts that emerge when wisdom, talents and support are shared.
“The whole is always greater than the parts,” she said.