Catholic meeting draws 600 to Wollongong

The Pope's Ambassador to Australia, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, will join more than 600 Catholics in Wollongong tomorrow for a four-day conference on Catholic liturgy.

The conference includes workshops, musical performances, prayers and discussions at St Francis Xavier Cathedral and St Mary Star of the Sea College.

Among the speakers will be journalist and television host Geraldine Doogue, composer and theologian Father Jan Michael Joncas and Brisbane's Archbishop Mark Coleridge.

They will explore the many changes in the Catholic Mass and music over the years and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II's Constitution on Sacred Liturgy.

Bishop Peter Ingham said Vatican II's work simplified the "liturgy into the language of the people".

"It was an important milestone," he said.

"It is also a terrific opportunity to showcase the City of Wollongong to our hundreds of visitors during summer."

Wollongong's liturgy co-ordinator Paul Mason said the conference had attracted more than he had anticipated.

"I think there is a resurgence of hope among Catholics, which you might put down to the [Pope] Francis effect," he said.

After a drop in the number of liturgists since the liturgy was reformed 50 years ago, there was now a growing number of people in their 20s taking up these studies, he said.

Music will be a big focus of the conference, with discussions and workshops on the direction of music within Mass.

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