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Unit rationale, description and aim

Prayer and liturgy are essential components of every Christian community. This unit explores the nature and purpose of prayer and liturgical participation in Catholic parishes and schools with a particular focus on their role in religious education. The unit presents an introduction to how to teach about prayer and Christian worship in a variety of settings. It provides opportunities to examine and evaluate existing resources and to develop skills in preparation of liturgical celebrations. This unit aims to develop students’ knowledge about prayer and liturgy in the Catholic tradition and provide them with opportunities to develop professional expertise in these areas in the context of religious education in schools and other settings.

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 the importance of rites, rituals and symbols in human experience and their place in religious education (GA1, GA5; APST 4.1)

LO2 - Apply the principles governing liturgical celebration and participation outlined in relevant Church documents (GA8; APST 1.5)

LO3 - Evaluate the place of prayer and liturgy within the religious education curriculum (GA5; GA9; APST 2.3)

LO4 - Critique resources available for liturgy and prayer in a variety of settings (GA5, GA8; APST 4.1)

LO5 - Design prayer and liturgical celebrations suitable for use in a variety of Catholic school settings and in the Parish context (GA1, GA5, GA8; APST 1.5)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

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

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


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

2.3 Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.


Topics will include: 

  • the meaning and purpose of ritual and symbol in the context of religious education;
  • application of official Church legislation and principles of liturgical preparation and celebration in Catholic schools and other settings; 
  • a variety of methods, approaches, and resources for preparing and celebrating liturgy and prayer in the Catholic school and other settings; 
  • options within the liturgy to accommodate the needs of specific groups within the school and parish community; 
  • a review of resources for use in liturgical celebrations. 

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, and online learning. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation and submission of tasks for assessment. 

The unit is normally offered in online mode. Students learn through formally structured and sequenced learning activities that support the achievement of the learning outcomes. Students are asked critically to reflect, analyse, and integrate new information with existing knowledge, draw meaningful new connections, and then apply what they have learned to their school and other professional contexts. Learning activities take a social constructivist approach which recognises the particular relevance, value and need for peer-to- peer engagement in learning within this discipline.

Teaching Religious Education in parish and school settings requires specific knowledge and skill sets unique to the contemporary Catholic Church. Students in this unit need to acquire knowledge about prayer and liturgy in the Catholic tradition and apply that to religious education contexts. Church documents inform teachers about the role of prayer and liturgy from the perspective of the Magisterium, and local curriculum documents inform teachers about their responsibilities from a local diocesan viewpoint. This background information provides a foundation for teachers to construct pedagogically appropriate classroom teaching and learning strategies for Religious Education, including previously acquired theological understandings of the essential precepts of Church teaching. 

The unit is constructed to consider students’ range of knowledge and experience in teaching RE and to build their capacity to do so. The unit is constructively aligned to build knowledge and integrate skills from general principles to specific outcomes that apply to classroom, school-wide and other professional settings of Religious Education.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to demonstrate achievement of all five learning outcomes and achieve an overall mark of 50% or higher.

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students progressively to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome.  

Task 1 requires students to engage with initial and core readings for the unit. The task is designed to allow students to display achievement of Learning Outcomes 1 and 2. In this task, students engage with the place of prayer and liturgy in the Catholic tradition before they begin to apply ideas of the tradition to religious education contexts.   

Task 2 requires students to demonstrates learning outcomes 3, 4 and 5. In this task students apply the knowledge demonstrated in assignment 1 to religious education contexts, principally in the school. This task requires knowledge and skills associated with professional competence in school (and other) contexts and develops their expertise as religious educators. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written Task: The nature and significance of rites, ritual and symbols in human experience with particular reference to the Catholic tradition and religious education.  


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA5, GA8

 Application of knowledge and skills related to prayer and liturgy in school (or other) contexts. 


LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Recommended references

Catholic Church. (2013). Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children: Approved for Use in the Dioceses of Australia. Brisbane: Liturgy Brisbane/Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

Cockayne, & Salter, G. (2019). Praying Together: Corporate Prayer and Shared SituationsZygon54(3), 702–730.

Dooley, Kate. (1993). To Listen and Tell: Introduction to the Lectionary for Masses with Children. Washington D.C.: Pastoral Press.

Duggan, Robert. (2000). Teaching Kids the Basics of Liturgy: Making the Rituals More Meaningful. Allen TX: Thomas More.

Jackson, Pamela. (2015). “The Liturgy.” The Oxford Handbook of Catholic Theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199566273.013.29

Leonard, Richard. (2013) Why Bother Praying? New York: Paulist.

Mick, Lawrence E. (1997) Worshiping Well: A Mass Guide for Planners and Participants. Collegeville: Liturgical.

Moore, Gerard. (2004). Why the Mass Matters: A Guide to Praying the Mass. Homebush: St. Pauls.

Pilcher, Carmel, David Orr, and Elizabeth Harrington, eds. (2013) Vatican Council II: Reforming Liturgy. Adelaide: ATF Press. ProQuest Ebook Central

Schillitoe, Rachael and Anna Strhan. (2020) “‘Just leave it blank’: Non-religious children and their negotiation of prayer in school,” Religion 50(4) 615-635,


Further references

Lebon, Jean. (1987). How to Understand the Liturgy. London: SCM.

DeBona, Guerric and Eileen Schuller. (2021). “The Bible and Liturgy.” The Jerome Biblical Commentary for the Twenty-First Century. Edited by Donald Senior, John J. Collins,

Barbara Reid and Gina Hens-Piazza. London: T&T Clark.

Mathson, Patricia. (2011). 70 prayer starters for children ... and those who teach them. New London CT: Twenty-Third Publications.

Mullen, Godfrey and Harry Hagan. (1997). “The Liturgical Year: The Way of Catholic Spirituality.” The Tradition of Catholic Prayer. Raab C., and H. Hagan, eds. Collegeville: Liturgical, 131-146.

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