Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 18, 2005
Liturgical studies transforms souls
Newman's Summer School in Liturgical Studies draws a diversity of students
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The Summer School in Liturgical Studies is in full swing at Newman Theological College with 40 students attending the first leg of the program, which began July 4. Some 50 students are registered for the second session due to begin July 18.
Students come from all across Western Canada to take liturgical courses ranging from introduction to liturgy and Eucharist to music and reconciliation.
Newman College, the Liturgy Commission of the Edmonton Archdiocese, the Western Conference for Liturgy and the National Office for Liturgy sponsor the summer school, which is described as "a time for learning, renewal, prayer, faith-sharing and celebration."
Most students are involved in liturgical ministry in their parishes and many come on the recommendation of their pastors or bishops. Some have their tuition fees and expenses paid by their parishes or dioceses.
They come to get a better understanding of what liturgy is, what the role of the various ministries is and how their faith is expressed in the liturgy, said summer school coordinator and instructor Zita Maier.
In addition to an introduction to liturgy, the summer school offers courses on the Eucharist, liturgy and faith, liturgy and youth, the lectionary, the liturgical year, the Rite for the Christian Initiation of Adults, liturgical music, art and environment for worship and reconciliation. There is also a class for lay presiders. Students also participate in various liturgical celebrations each day, including morning and evening prayers and a celebration of the Eucharist or a liturgy of the word.
"We are trying to help people understand better how they can pray the liturgy and deepen their understanding of it," Maier said. "The better they understand it the better they can celebrate the liturgy in the parishes."
Students must complete 12 courses to get a certificate in liturgical studies. Most take four classes each summer. There is a graduation every year for people who have completed the 12 courses and this year the graduation is July 28.
The school is offered in the summer so working people can use their holidays to attend classes. Students from out of town stay at the seminary residency. This year, there are students from the Edmonton Archdiocese and the dioceses of Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, St. Boniface, Prince George, Prince Albert, Grouard McLennan and Yellowknife. Instructors include Bishop Gerry Weisner of Prince George and Bishop Lawrence Huculak of the Edmonton Ukrainian Eparchy who teaches a class on the Byzantine Rite.
"I would say that most students who come have their eyes open to the richness of what the liturgy is and the richness of the faith expression in the liturgy," Maier said. "And once they have been here they come back with a lot more enthusiasm. There are some individuals who come for one class; when they get here they discover that there is a whole field of studies that they can pursue."
Gloria Klos of St. Angela Merici Parish in Edmonton enrolled in the summer school four years ago on the advice of her pastor. "I wanted to explore myself a little more and he recommended the Summer School in Liturgical Studies," she said. "It has been a terrific experience; I graduate on the 28th of July."
At St. Angela's Parish, Klos, a mother of two, is a eucharistic minister and a lector and assists with infant Baptism and with preparation for First Communion and Reconciliation. She also volunteers at a Catholic school and works with seniors at St. Edmund's Parish, namely assisting with a weekly Mass for seniors at a seniors' residence.
"I'm looking to make the best of the gifts that I've been given and to use them to help other people," she says.
The first summer Klos, a former practical nurse now on a disability pension, only took two courses because she didn't know if she could handle it. The next year she increased her load to three courses and this summer she is taking the last three.
"This program has deepened my faith tremendously and made me far more aware of it," she said. "I'm more comfortable talking about my faith."
As a result of her experience at the summer school, Klos also enrolled in the two-year lay formation program offered at Newman and graduated last year. Now she is enrolled in the bachelor of theology, which starts in September.
Tammy Bilodeau, secretary of Resurrection Parish in Fort St. John, B.C., has been attending the summer school for the past five summers and expects to receive her certificate next year. Her pastor, Father Thomas Shymko, who graduated from St. Joseph's Seminary, encouraged her to enroll in the school. "He believes in the education of the laity and the empowerment of the laity so that they can serve in the parish."
Bilodeau, a mother of four, is one of 11 members of Resurrection Parish and many others from the Prince George Diocese who have attended the summer school in the past five years.
"I'm more comfortable talking about my faith."
- Gloria Klos
Time of transformation
"I believe the summer school not only offers education but also transformation," she said. "So in coming here every year you see the transformation happen. "I've grown in confidence, in understanding my faith, in sharing my faith and in encouraging others to do so."
Bilodeau has also completed an online certificate in theology since she began attending the summer school in 2000. "So it (the summer school) opens avenues to more education that perhaps we wouldn't have thought of if we were just at home in our sort of semi-isolated areas."
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