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THCP200 Prayer and Liturgy

Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials, online learning, video-conferencing, or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Prayer and liturgy are central to the Christian life as the chief means by which Christians express and nourish their faith. This unit will explore the meaning and purpose of prayer and liturgy in different Christian contexts, with particular reference to the Catholic Church and its official rites. It will investigate various official and unofficial types of Christian prayer, and will study how to prepare and adapt liturgical celebrations for different groups and cultural contexts. The aim of this unit is to provide a thorough understanding of the history and theology of Christian prayer and liturgy, focusing on skills enabling students to engage with and prepare worship in their context.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Articulate a critical understanding of the central role of liturgy and prayer in the Christian life (GA4, GA8, GA9); 

LO2 - Explain the purpose of the various types of official and unofficial liturgy and prayer in Christian contexts (GA4, GA8, GA9). 

LO3 - Prepare effective liturgical celebrations for a variety of different celebrating communities utilising official liturgical books (GA4, GA8, GA9); 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

  • What is Christian liturgy? What is Christian prayer? 
  • The historical development of Christian liturgy; 
  • The liturgical year and praying seasonally; 
  • Locating and using current official liturgical books; 
  • Overarching traits of post-Vatican II liturgical celebrations with specific consideration of Blessings, Liturgies of the Word, Anointing of the Sick, Ordination and Marriage; 
  • History and theology of the celebration of the Eucharist  
  • Preparing liturgical celebrations for particular groups and in particular contexts; 
  • Inculturation of prayer and liturgy in particular cultural contexts; 
  • Forms of Christian devotional prayer; 
  • History, theology and praxis of popular piety and devotions; 
  • History, theology and praxis of Eucharistic devotion; 
  • History, theology and praxis of the official daily prayer (Liturgy of the Hours). 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials, online learning, video-conferencing, or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment. 

The unit is normally offered in attendance mode or multi-mode. Students learn through formally structured and sequenced learning activities that support the achievement of the learning outcomes. Students are asked to critically reflect, analyse, and integrate new information with existing knowledge, draw meaningful new connections, and then apply what they have learned. Collaborative and peer learning is also emphasized.  

THCP105 emphasises students as active, adult learners. Students are recognised as adult learners who engage best when what they are learning is relevant to them and gives them the opportunity to be responsible for their own learning. In many ways, the student is the one who drives the learning forward, and their active participation in this unit is essential. Learning is designed to be an engaging and supportive experience, which helps students to develop critical thinking and reflection skills.  


Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to attempt all assessment tasks and achieve an overall grade of Pass (50% or higher).  

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome. The three assessment tasks work together and build upon each other toward this end.  

In conjunction with lectures and tutorials, Assessment 1 (Live Presentation) provides students the opportunity to engage with aspects of LO1 and LO2 from a point of view that enlivens their interest and tests the student’s ability to “articulate a critical understanding” and “explain the purpose” of liturgy and prayer to their classmates.  

Assessment 2 (Extended Written Task) builds upon the confidence and skill engendered in students through Assessment 1 by requiring students to bring to bear their understanding of the “central role of liturgy and prayer” and “purpose of…liturgy and prayer” to the preparation a particular form of Christian worship situated within a particular context (LO3).  

In Assessment 3 (Final Exam) students synthesise their learning through written responses to a variety of questions that address all three Learning Outcomes. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Live Presentation: Students are required to explore in depth a particular unit topic related to Christian prayer and present their findings to the rest of the class 


1, 2 

4, 8, 9 

Extended Written Task: Preparation of a Liturgical Celebration. 


4, 8, 9 

Final Examination: Requires students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the importance and meaning of Christian prayer and worship in relation to unit content and topics. 


1, 2, 3 

4, 8, 9 

Representative texts and references

Brook, J. The School of Prayer: An Introduction to the Divine Office for All Christians. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1992. 

Catholic Church. The Liturgy Documents. Volume Two: Essential Documents for Parish Sacramental Rites and Other Liturgies. 2nded. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2012. 

Catholic Church. Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy: Principles and Guidelines. Sydney: St. Pauls Publications, 2002. 

Francis, Mark. Shape a Circle Ever Wider: Liturgical Inculturation in the United States. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2000. 

Mitchell, N. D. Cult and Controversy: The Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass. New York: Pueblo, 1982. 

Pecklers, K. Liturgy: The Illustrated History. Mahway, NJ: Paulist Press, 2012. 

Raab, C. and H. Hagan. The Tradition of Catholic Prayer. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2007. 

Sullivan, P. A. Why We Venerate Saints. New York: Crossroad, 2012. 

Thiron, R. Preparing Parish Liturgies: A Guide to Resources. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2004. 

Turner, P. At the Supper of the Lamb: A Pastoral and Theological Commentary on the Mass. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2011. 

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