Credit points


Campus offering

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THBS100 Introduction to the Bible and THCT100 What Christians Believe


THEO228 Christian Life: Worship and Ethics

Teaching organisation

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.

Unit rationale, description and aim

In the celebration of sacramental rituals, the faith of the Church is expressed, nourished and strengthened. This unit introduces the Church's theology and celebration of sacraments, analysing how symbols and rituals function to express the Christian faith and nourish the Christian life. It focuses on current sacramental praxis common to many Christian traditions but as expressed specifically in the Roman Catholic Church's official rites, drawing out the biblical, theological and ecclesial meanings contained therein. The unit presents how common worship is the fundamental expression of faith in Jesus Christ, by which Christians participate in the Church, particularly in celebration together of the sacrament. It highlights the notions of Christ as Sacrament and Church as sacrament and provides a theological and historical understanding of the sacraments and sacramental theology. In this unit, particular attention is paid to the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) and the Sacrament of Reconciliation - rites commonly prepared and celebrated in parishes and primary and secondary Catholic schools. The aim of this unit is to provide students with the theological knowledge and practical skills needed to understand, engage with and prepare sacramental celebrations.

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 - Identify and explain the theological meaning of the central symbols and prayers employed in the Church’s sacramental rituals (GA4, GA9).

LO2 - Reflect critically on the theological, biblical and ecclesial meanings of the Church’s sacraments, with particular competency in the sacraments of initiation and reconciliation (GA4, GA8).

LO3 - Prepare sacramental celebrations utilising the Church’s official liturgical books, and explain their theological meaning (GA7, GA8, GA9).

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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

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


Topics will include:

  • How symbol and ritual function and relate to human living and Christian faith, ritually expressed;
  • Sacramentality as the basis for understanding sacraments as encounters with God;
  • Christ as sacrament of God, Church as sacrament of Christ;
  • Scriptural foundations of Christian sacraments;
  • Vatican II’s theology of sacraments and the role of the Christian community in worship;
  • Official Church documents and ritual books governing the celebration of sacramental rites;
  • The historical development, theology, praxis and interrelatedness of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist) and Sacrament of Reconciliation;
  • The implications of celebrating sacraments for Christian living.

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.

THCT202 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.

Assessment task 1 enables students to display achievement of LO1 and LO2 by analysing a symbol, prayer or key meaning of a sacramental celebration.

Building on this, Assessment Task 2 requires students to prepare and present a liturgical/sacramental celebration, providing students with the opportunity to show achievement of LO3.

Assessment task 3 asks students to bring together the range of learnings in the unit by demonstrating understanding of the theological meaning of the sacraments and the knowledge and skills required to prepare and participate in liturgical celebrations. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Short written task: Requires students to analyse an aspect of sacramental or liturgical theology.


1, 2

4, 8, 9

Presentation with written component: Students are required to prepare and explain a sacramental celebration.


1, 3

4, 7, 8, 9

Examination: Requires students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the theological, biblical and ecclesial meaning of the sacraments and their liturgical celebrations.


1, 2, 3

4, 8, 9

Representative texts and references

Cooke, B. and Macy, G. Christian Symbol and Ritual. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Larson-Miller, Lizette. Sacramentality Renewed: Contemporary Conversations in Sacramental Theology. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2016.

Laurence, J. D. The Sacrament of the Eucharist. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012.

Martos, J. The Sacraments: An Interdisciplinary and Interactive Study. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2005.

Mick, L. E. Understanding the Sacraments Today. Rev. ed. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2006.

O’Loughlin, F. The Future of the Sacrament of Penance. Sydney: St. Paul’s Press, 2007.

Searle, M. Called to Participate: Theological, Ritual, and Social Perspectives. Edited by B. Searle and A. Y. Koester. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2006.

Turner, P. Confirmation: The Baby in Solomon’s Court. Revised and updated edition. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2006.

Van Parys, J. Symbols that Surround Us: Faithful Reflections. Ligouri, MS: Ligouri, 2012.

Witczak, M. G. The Sacrament of Baptism. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2011.

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