Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 30, 2007
Liturgy studies feeds the heart and soul
Newman Theological College summer school offers certificate program
By BILL GLEN
- photo supplied
Natasha Godin, left, and Chelsey Blanchett are students enrolled at Newman Theological College.
"I was totally impressed by the program," Belland said. "It was a faith deepening experience for me. It also lit a passion for liturgy that I've always had. It opened doors for me and from there I could keep going because I knew which direction to take."
Students come to get a better understanding of what liturgy is through study and hands-on experience, says summer school coordinator and instructor Bernadette Gasslein.
"Whatever their liturgical ministry, whether it be musician, lector or server, they are coached in those ministries and they also grow through the experience of prayer which is at the heart of the summer school," Gasslein said.
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.
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.
"It's a very powerful experience," Gasslein said. "People help each other. They begin to understand how morning and evening prayers structure our days. They have a thirst for more ministries. It grows in all of their experiences."
Having the students participate in numerous activities lends to a sense of community, says Dan Kingdon, director of religious education at Newman.
"The program has had quite a life," he said.
The program has generally remained the same, but was revised slightly two years ago by adjusting some of the courses.
Kingdon expects the General Instruction of the Roman Missal to be in place in another year and this will impact the summer school program.
Students currently take one to four courses each session, depending on whether they can stay for one session (two weeks), both sessions (four weeks), or only in the evenings.
"I hope to see some 45 students attend both sessions," Kingdon said. "Anything between 40 and 50 students would be a very nice summer school."
Since its inception, the program has attempted to respond to the initiative that came from Vatican II, especially regarding its document on liturgy, Kingdon said. The courses try to make the liturgy more accessible to a wide variety of people.
"We've had seminarians take the program during the summer. Lay people who are part of the liturgy committees of their parishes take the courses. Sometimes we have people take just a single course because it is an area they are particularly interested in, like the RCIA," he said.
"It provides a variety of groups of people with opportunities to make the liturgy a part of their faith lives. The liturgy is ultimately rooted in the Eucharist, and goes out from there. Our (program) does the very same thing by providing a number of courses that offer a little bit of history of the liturgy. It's meant to show what our Baptism means for us as an initiation into the Church.
"Then it will develop ideas like liturgical prayer and ideas for the liturgical year. That's the core of the program."
Elective courses are broad in scope to create the areas of study participants are personally interested in.
Newman College encourages parishes to send at least two people to attend both sessions and, if possible, to pay their way.
"It's nice to come with a partner to discuss the experience not only during the sessions, but afterwards as well," Kingdon said.
Belland says every person involved in Church ministry should take the program.
"Many of our people working in our parishes - even if it's a small parish - are leaders. They should have the program as a basis for their liturgical studies. It was a beautiful and spiritual experience," she said.
For more information about the Summer School in Liturgical Studies program, contact Newman Theological College at 780-447-2993, or 1-800-386-7231. Visit the college's website at www.newman.edu.
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.