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  • Professional Term 5Online Scheduled




THCP514 - Foundations in Liturgy or THLS501 Foundations in Liturgy or THCP613 Celebrating Liturgy Today: Exploring the Ritual Enactment of Faith

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

Liturgy is “carried out by means of perceptible signs by which the faith is nourished, strengthened and expressed.” As the activity where the community of faith enacts and embodies its faith through ritual symbols, sacred texts, remembered traditions and sacramental actions, the celebration of the liturgy forms “the centre of the whole of Christian life for the Church both universal and local, as well as for each of the faithful individually.” This unit investigates the celebration of liturgy (particularly the Eucharist) in light of the revised Roman Missal, recent church instructions and key writings on the major liturgical and theological principles undergirding liturgical celebration. It identifies guidelines for preparing and evaluating effective liturgical celebrations in schools and parishes today.

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.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Identify and explain key liturgical and theological principles undergirding the celebration of Roman Catholic liturgy today, especially as evidenced in the revised Roman Missal (GC1, GC9, GC11
LO2Analyse and critique various forms of liturgical celebration in light of official Church teaching on the liturgyGC1, GC7, GC9
LO3Articulate the components necessary to promote high quality liturgical celebrations in schools and parishesGC1, GC2, GC9, GC11
LO4Contextualise local adaptations of the liturgy in accordance with sound application of foundational liturgical principlesGC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC9, GC11


Topics will include:

  • Liturgy: definition, forms
  • Ritual and symbol
  • The liturgical vision of Vatican II
  • Key liturgical-theological principles for effective celebration
  • Eucharist: what do we think we are doing?
  • The revised translation of the Roman Missal: process, reception, use
  • Speech and silence in the liturgy
  • Liturgical ministries at the service of the liturgical assembly
  • Locating and analysing current liturgical legislation
  • Personal preference versus official church teaching on the liturgy
  • Employing technology appropriately in liturgy
  • Principles for preparing and evaluating liturgical celebration

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 intensive face-to-face mode which enables students to interact directly with the lecturer and fellow class members as they consider carefully structured and sequenced unit materials designed to support the achievement of the unit’s learning outcomes. In face-to-face class sessions students are provided with the opportunity to learn with experts in liturgical studies and to work collaboratively in groups to discuss key principles and critically analyse their application to specific practical examples; identify and assess their own presuppositions and current perceptions regarding liturgical celebrations and how these might change in light of exposure to unit content; and engage in practical activities which enable them to reflect critically on key unit content, analyse and integrate new information with existing knowledge, draw meaningful new connections, and then work individually to apply what they have learned to liturgies being prepared and celebrated in their own unique circumstances. Assessment tasks are designed to provide a variety of opportunities for students to demonstrate their achievement of the unit’s learning outcomes and to enable them to go beyond the unit materials presented during the face-to-face classes so that they can engage in analysis and research tasks which require them to apply the knowledge they have gained through exposure to the unit’s lectures, tutorials, readings, analyses and exercises. In the course of the intensive week, students are provided with the opportunity to practice the skills they will need to employ to complete the Liturgy Exercises independently following the intensive classes.

The intensive face-to-face mode of learning requires students to attend class sessions and interact actively with the lecturer and fellow class members during those sessions to consider and begin integrating key concepts covered in the unit; and to work in small groups to prepare and offer presentations in class. Following the class students are expected to work independently to integrate and embed concepts, information and principles covered during the class sessions through follow-up reading, individual research, writing and submission of assessment tasks.

Assessment strategy and rationale

To pass this unit students are required to attempt all assessment tasks and achieve a cumulative grade of Pass (50% or higher). The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to enable students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome.

Assessment Task 1: Liturgy Exercises provide an opportunity for students to apply key principles studied in the unit. Through these targeted exercises students explore in a focused manner several key concepts of liturgical studies and apply to practical contexts skills they have acquired in the unit.

Assessment Task 2: Annotated Bibliography provides students with an opportunity to research, read and analyse appropriate resources for use in their major essay for this unit. It enables students to identify and utilise resources that are directly related to their essay topic to enhance the quality of the final essay and to ensure that students are accessing and reading closely materials that will ensure their achievement of the learning outcomes of the unit.

Assessment Task 3: Major Essay – utilising the knowledge gained through completing the Annotated Bibliography and the relevant unit materials (along with relevant additional primary and secondary bibliographic references), students will research and write a major essay which enables them to engage in an extended investigation and critical consideration of a topic central to the unit. This assessment offers students the chance to demonstrate a synthesis of knowledge and insight gained throughout the unit.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Liturgy Exercises: require students to demonstrate in practical exercises their knowledge of central concepts of liturgical studies through analysis and application of key principles.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Annotated Bibliography: requires students to identify, analyse and write a critical summary of bibliographic resources directly relating to their major essay topic.


LO1, LO2

Major Essay: requires students to research and write an extended critical consideration of a set essay topic synthesising and demonstrating understanding and application of central concepts covered in the unit.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Hughes, Kathleen, ed. Finding Voice to Give God Praise: Essays in the Many Languages of the Liturgy. Collegeville: Liturgical, 1998.

Foley, Edward, gen. ed. A Commentary on the Order of Mass of the Roman Missal. Collegeville: Liturgical, 2011.

Chupungco, Anscar J. Handbook for Liturgical Studies: Volume II - Fundamental Liturgy. Collegeville: Liturgical /Pueblo, 1998.

Irwin, Kevin W. Models of the Eucharist. New York: Paulist, 2005.

Kavanagh, Aidan. Elements of Rite: A Handbook of Liturgical Style. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press/Pueblo, 1990.

Kubicki, Judith M. The Presence of Christ in the Gathered Assembly. New York: Continuum, 2006.

Martin, James. Celebrating Good Liturgy: A Guide to the Ministries of the Mass. Chicago: Loyola, 2005.

O’Malley, Timothy P. Liturgy and the New Evangelization: Practicing the Art of Self-Giving Love. Collegeville: Liturgical, 2014.

Searle, Mark. Called to Participate: Theological, Ritual and Social Perspectives. Edited by Barbara Searle and Anne Y. Koester. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2006.

Turner, Paul. Let Us Pray: A Guide to the Rubrics of the Sunday Mass. Collegeville: Liturgical/Pueblo, 2012.

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