“The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the fount [source] from which all the Church’s power flows.” Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 10
All liturgical ministers need a deep understanding of the Mass to help lead the parish community to recognize the Eucharist as the source of nourishment for their lives as Christians. The Ministry Enrichment Gathering® offers participants the opportunity to reflect on the power of the liturgy for themselves and those they serve. The Mass is not simply an event or an occasion in which a Catholic Christian visits the parish church; it is a celebration of their communal role in the missionary aspect of the Church. The Ministry Enrichment Gathering® will help participants identify “the activity of the Church” and then examine their role in it, both at liturgy and in the world.
#1 Witnesses of the Word: Testifying to the Power of the Gospel in the Modern Worldt
As Catholic disciples, we all serve as ministers and proclaimers of the Living Word. Participants in this session will begin by exploring the human experience: the everyday falling and rising, dying and resurrection. The importance of preparation and reflection will show the link between catechesis and the revealed Word of God living in our midst. Finally, attendees will learn how creating a culture of witness in their parish community will testify to the world the transformative power of the Gospel. (paraphrased from Disciples Called to Witness)
#2 Take This, All of You: An Exploration of the Eucharistic Prayer
The Eucharistic Prayer is the heart of the Mass, the great act of thanks and praise in which the faithful join “with Christ in confessing the great deeds of God and in the offering of Sacrifice” (GIRM, 78). Eucharistic Prayer I, also called the Roman Canon, has formed the faith of countless generations in the Eucharistic Presence of Christ; with stories, music, and art, this session hopes to help deepen ours as well.
#3 Welcoming the Presence of Christ
The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy says that, in addition to his Real Presence in the Eucharistic elements of bread and wine, Christ is present in the liturgy in the baptized assembly, in the proclaimed Scriptures, and in the person of the priest. How do we recognize, welcome, and show reverence to the Presence of Christ in all the ways he is with us in the Mass?
#4 Signs, Symbols, and Ritual Gestures: The Body at Catholic Liturgy
Catholic liturgy is a rich language composed of music, spoken word, silence, symbols, signs, postures, gestures, and ritual actions. Each of these elements serves to open our hearts, minds, and bodies to the presence of God, allowing us to deepen our participation in the mystery we celebrate. In this session, participants will explore the various elements of the liturgy, focusing on the role of the human body in our liturgical prayer.
#5 For the Life of the World: Liturgy and Social Justice
At Mass each week, we offer our prayers for the poor and the marginalized, for peace and justice, and for those suffering in our communities. At the end of each liturgy, the priest or deacon then sends us forth, saying "Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord," or "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life" (The Order of Mass, 144). This acknowledges that we celebrate the liturgy not just for ourselves, but for the world. In this session, we will examine how we might respond to the call for full, conscious, and active participation in liturgy and in the life of the world.
#6 The Liturgical Year: From the Rising to the Setting
The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy reminds us that over the course of each year, the church "unfolds the whole mystery of Christ, from his incarnation and birth until his ascension, the day of Pentecost, and the expectation of blessed hope and of the Lord's return" (102). In doing so, the church "opens to the faithful the riches of the Lord's powers and merits, so that these are in some way made present in every age." In this session, participants will explore the liturgical calendar, reflecting on how the mystery of Christ unfolds in our day-to-day lives through the Church's various feasts and seasons, filling us with "saving grace" and helping us to grow in holiness.
#7 Psalms at Liturgy: Praying the Human Experience
It is through human experience that the Word of God is revealed to us. When we pray the psalms, we share in words prayed by Jesus himself. In the General Introduction of the Liturgy of the Hours, we are reminded that "the words of a psalm help us to pray with greater ease and fervor, whether in thanksgiving and joyful praise of God or in prayer for help in the throes of suffering" (105). The psalms were composed as a response to human experience and it is only through the experience of our lives that we can come to understand and appreciate their role in both the liturgy and in our personal prayer. In this session, participants will explore this collection of ancient hymns, taking the time to reflect on their relevance as we pray them together, lifting our voices in song!
#8 Evangelization with Joy Becomes Beauty in the Liturgy
In Evangelli Gaudium, Pope Francis states that "an evangelizing community is filled with joy; it knows how to rejoice always" (24). In this session, participants will explore the connection between our Eucharistic celebration and the Christian call to "go…and make disciples" (Mt 28:19). We will discuss the ways in which the liturgy can serve as both the foundation for our spiritual lives and as a crucial point for welcoming new and returning members.
The mid-day prayer serves as an opportunity to contemplate the theme of "Liturgy as Source and Summit" in a communal setting. Designed to guide participants as they reflect on the role of the liturgy in Christian life, this prayer experience invites local liturgical ministers to pray together using Scripture, hymns, prayers, intercessions, litanies, and reflections, giving the local church an opportunity to exercise their creativity and utilize the gifts and talents available in their local communities.
At the end of the day, participants in the Ministry Enrichment Gathering® will either be invited to sit with (a) other members of their parish community, or (b) according to their ministerial role in the liturgy. At this time, the presenter will invite participants to reflect on what they have experienced throughout the day. Participants will be encouraged to engage in the process of mystagogia and reflect on what they have heard, learned, and prayed. As participants are sent forth from the gathering, they will be tasked with discerning the next steps of both their own ongoing liturgical formation and the liturgical formation of their local parish communities. Participants will also have the opportunity to explore the resources found in the bookstore, network with one another, and speak with members of the local team and LTP representatives.