Track One serves as an introduction to the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. Participants will gain the fundamental knowledge needed to prepare the liturgy or to serve in a liturgical or parish leadership role.
W1. Fundamentals of Christian Liturgy (assembly, ritual, symbol and gesture, proclamation of Scripture)
At the very core of the Christian life is the celebration of the liturgy, which has been entrusted to the Church and her ministers. The parish staff has a responsibility to promote and to celebrate the liturgy so that God’s People can “fully, actively, and consciously” participate in the paschal mystery. This session’s aim is to unpack and explore the meaning of liturgy and worship within the Catholic Church. Participants will gain a basic understanding about the liturgy and some of its key elements.
W2. Introduction to the Mass I: Introductory Rites, Liturgy of the Word
The celebration of the Eucharistic or Mass is the “source and summit” of everything we do as Christians (LG 11). Our life flows from the Mass and our life/work flows back into the Mass. This session will provide a definition for Mass, give a brief historical sketch of its development, and unpack the Introductory Rites (e.g. Gathering, Collect) and the Liturgy of the Word (e.g. Readings, Intercessions). Participants will gain an understanding and appreciation of the specific elements for these two components of the Mass in order to better plan and prepare the liturgy.
W3. Introduction to the Mass II: Liturgy of the Eucharist, Concluding Rites
Continuing where the previous session concluded, this session will help participants understand the various parts of the Liturgy of the Eucharist (e.g. Preface, Communion Rite) and the Concluding Rites of the Mass (e.g. Blessing, Dismissal). In this session, particular attention will be devoted to examining the different sections of the Eucharistic Prayer.
W4. The Liturgical Year
Year-after-year, the Church celebrates the unfolding of the “whole mystery of Christ” (SC 102). From Advent to Ordinary Time, and through Feasts and Memorials, we come to know God’s presence in all of creation. It is in the Church’s prayer and observance of the various seasons that, united with Christ, the day and all human activity is sanctified (Laudes canticum, 11). Participants in this session will gain a deeper understanding of the Liturgical Year and Time, the differences between the cycle of saints and other major feasts, and the importance of observing the rhythm of the Church in parish life.
W5. Liturgical Ministries
The song, “We Are Many Parts,” reminds us that though we all have varying gifts to offer the church we remain the one Body of Christ. “A diversity of members and functions is engaged in the building up of Christ’s body” (LG 7). Within the structure of the church, there are also formal ministries that help order or direct our worship. From the music director and catechists to the pastor and parish secretary, all are part of the planning and execution of the liturgical life of a community. In this session, we will identify the key ministries in the life of the parish, how these ministries function, and how the ministers might collaborate to help the People of God enter into the liturgy.
W6. Sacraments and Devotions
The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy says, “The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify people, to build up the body of Christ, and, finally, to worship God” (59). Filled with rich signs and symbols, the seven sacraments, as Dr. Joseph Martos says, are doors to the sacred; they are the place where heaven meets earth. Alongside the sacramental/liturgical life of the church is the practice of personal piety or the devotional life of an individual or family. In this session, participants will come to understand more clearly, what a sacrament is and what they celebrate (e.g. new life, forgiveness) as well as how devotions, such as the rosary or Eucharistic adoration, provide a rich pallet for one’s life of prayer and contemplation.