Liturgical Leadership (Sept. 20)


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Theological question

Is leadership the eighth gift of the Holy Spirit? Do all Christians have a vocation to be leaders? How do I know if I’m called to be a leader?


The goal is to understand the role of leadership in shaping parish liturgy.


Students will collaborate to create a liturgy and reflect on that experience to develop a common vision of liturgical leadership.


(after the class has been completed)

Idea starters

  • What are my goals for this course? How will I measure my goals?
  • What is my parish’s mission?
  • How is the mission reflected and supported in our Sunday liturgy?
  • Post some thoughts in the online forum

Evaluate your Sunday liturgy (in preparation for Jan. 11)

Read (in preparation for Sept. 27)

    If you have the fifth edition, read:
    The Liturgy Documents, p. xvi-xxi

    If you do not have the fifth edition, read these files:
    The Liturgy Documents, Introduction 1
    The Liturgy Documents, Introduction 2
    The Liturgy Documents, Introduction 3
    The Liturgy Documents, Introduction 4
    The Liturgy Documents, Introduction 5
    The Liturgy Documents, Introduction 6

Bring with you to class

On Sept 27, we are going to look at liturgical books. Please bring with you any liturgical books you can find in your parish or your home. They can be pre- or post-Vatican II. Be prepared to say a sentence about what you bring.

 Posted by at 5:15 pm
  • Frank Ricchio

    This is my first class at ILM. I enjoyed the activity and class
    discussion. The four dramatic elements we exercised as a team reinforced my experience
    that liturgy is something that we feel with all of our senses. We heard it in
    the music that was playing and the prayer that we said. We saw it in the
    environment that was created with the cross and positioning the people in a
    circle. We felt it in our clasped hands. Most importantly we felt it with our
    hearts. We have all of our senses coming together to give praise and glory to
    I chair the Liturgy committee at our parish. My goal for the class is
    to grow in my understanding of the entire liturgical process so that I can become
    a more effective leader of our liturgical ministers. I can already see that I
    will learn much from the others in the class as we share our stories and

    One of the things we try to do in our parish is to maximize the
    participation of as many people as possible in our liturgical ministries. We
    hear over and over how much this participation enhances their experience of the
    liturgy. For me personally, whenever I minister at Mass, it makes my experience
    of the liturgy so much more fulfilling in knowing that I am not only serving
    God, I am also serving our community.

  • Jerry Brager

    I really enjoyed how we began last week’s class, working in groups to create a liturgy. The groups worked well together and when we were done I felt we had a liturgy that could be used in a church service next week. It was great to see how so many different thoughts and ideas could be put together to form the four parts of the liturgy.

    Before the Second Vatican Council, liturgy was done only by the Priests. But the Second Vatican Council decided to change the direction of the Church. They wanted
    community people to be able to help out, become more involved, and take part in
    the liturgy. This opened the door for all of us to fulfill our calling, whether that be as a Deacon, a Lector, a Pastoral Care Minister, a Eucharistic Minister, or any of the other roles that
    are needed. This also means we have a responsibility to take these roles very seriously, to know what they entail, and to do the best job we can.

    This class helped me to focus on the liturgy when I went to church last Sunday. As I listened I thought about what we had learned. What I used to take for granted, I now looked at through a different lens. Was the message short and clear? Did the song match the
    message? Did the Readings match the message? Were people connecting with the
    message? Was the environment warm and inviting? I also thought about how liturgy, when done right, can fill your heart and lift you up. It can stay with you long after leaving Church. I found myself making connections throughout the week between it and things happening in my everyday life. To me, this is what makes a great liturgy.

  • Vince Duong

    I’m a Catholic, a convert. Indeed I am now an active member of Vietnamese Catholic community in San Jose. I’m proud being a Catholic and I want to learn more about my religion. I think liturgy would help me to deepen my faith in prayers, therefore I take the liturgy class.

    I really enjoyed the first class activity. Within seven minutes, I learned how to work with other people in my group to set up the place to pray, prepare the reading, choose the music and the motion to pray. The preparation had helped me to engage deeply in prayer. I felt connected with my classmates and I felt that God was with us in that moment.

    Through this activity, I understand why “liturgy” means service. In the sense of serving God with public and communal worship. However, liturgy certainly includes ritual, however it is something much deeper than mere ritualism or ceremonial. Liturgy is central to Christianity and is an integral part of our family relationship with God. The signs, symbols, word, and sacred actions which form our public prayer and worship spring from the language and events of God’s own self-revelation to us. Our liturgical celebrations arise directly out of the mystery of salvation in Jesus Christ and are part of the very means by which we enter into that mystery.

  • Katherine Cottingham

    My goal for this course is to acquire a greater knowledge and understanding of liturgy, which I can bring to the table at our St. Frances Cabrini Liturgy Committee meetings, in which I actively participate. With our pastor, Fr. Michael Hendrickson’s supervision, I produce the weekly Sunday Mass Intercessions and Announcements, which is a pretty big job, but I love doing it; and because I do this, I feel much more prepared for Sunday Mass than ever before. Occasionally (not too often) I serve as a Sacristan, so knowing the special nuances of Feast Days and Seasonal Mass Liturgy should be useful in that capacity as well.

    Our parish motto is: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13
    Fr. Michael once mentioned in an RCIA session that this was our amazing patroness, St. Mother Cabrini’s personal motto and inspiration.
    And it is amazing that once we abandon our lives to God, even for the most difficult, challenging aspects in life, through prayer and trust, God does always provide us the strength to accomplish what is good, right, and just. As a parish I see us all challenged frequently to pull together in liturgies, service, pastoral care, special events such as this weekend’s Fiesta… and much else. Sometimes it seems nearly impossible to accomplish so much, so often, but when we have the supernatural Almighty providing His constant Grace, we have no reason to doubt, and with great thanks to Him we do accomplish much together.

    It is such a blessing to gather again with all the beautiful faces, I’ve grown to love over the course of these past two years, my brothers and sisters in Christ and the ILM — especially to study the topic of Liturgy together. After a brief introduction to the class, Nick Wagner threw us all a surprising curveball by getting the class immediately into active unity by assigning us the task of creating a two-minute liturgy of prayer, and— we had a mere seven minutes to accomplish this task! As a whole, the group quickly decided without much debate to pray for the people in Russia. Nick broke us into four groups to work out specific parts of the liturgy according to the “Four Dramatic Arts” : Music, Environment, Movement, and Word. With the Holy Spirit alive and working within us, it came together beautifully, especially given such brevity of preparation time. The Word group did forget to plan a closing prayer, but God always provides! Ramon, as tapped on the shoulder by the Spirit, led us in an appropriate closing prayer, which happened so naturally that the other groups, I suspect, did not even realize the Word group had not covered that in our planning! It seemed the collective class was basically pleased with our swift work together. Alleluia! :) I look forward to the rest of this class.

  • Christine Tran

    The reason I select Liturgy is because in my young adult I always thought that the “rituals” in the church are lengthy & bored. Then at middle age I started engaging in different parish activities and eventually learn the value of church tradition. At the same time I noticed that the more I was aging the more I was drawn to attend daily mass whenever possible and I really want to understand the richness of liturgy so that I can fully participate. Carefully listening to the wordings in the mass and other liturgies I realized that they are sincerely prepared with the intention to bring the attendants to much more in depth relationship with the Holy Trinity.
    The spirit of Christmas and Easter being reflected in the atmosphere inside the church are also so special with decoration, music, Gospel and community that I don’t think can be missed in my life … … but I never be able to put things together to see how much efforts were needed to make the celebration meaningful as well as how much Christian characters were underneath those. The exercise we did in the class made me much more appreciate the liturgy structure and its elements.
    I look forward for more knowledge and understanding that will enrich my spiritual journey and at the same time to help making liturgy in my parish a joyful thanksgiving and worshiping so that we all experience God’s love and be able to open for God’s presence into our daily lives.

  • Gina Pacifico

    What I liked about the class discussion last Wednesday was when the class was divided into 4 smaller groups and each group was assigned a task to come up with something in regards
    to the 4 arts of Liturgy in preparation for an opening prayer of the class. The theme was to pray for “peace in Ukraine and Russia”. The members of each group worked together and accomplished the task assigned in a timely manner. Each group had to know what the other groups are doing in order that the result of all 4 groups will connect and flow. This is how it should be when we prepare the Liturgy of the mass in our parishes. Everyone should participate orchestrate the celebration of the Eucharist. This includes the congregation. The role of the congregation is to come prepared, be on time for the celebration and participate.

    The meaning of Liturgy was discussed and the class was asked what Liturgy means to them. The class responses were as follows: Work of the people, communal, not static, any
    public worship, universal and unique, must have active participation, must contain beginning, middle and end, powerful meaning – not drag, should connect and flow, space for silence, need a good presider and there must be sincerity. A good presider is very important to make the
    celebration active but we all know that doesn’t always happen. Regardless, we must be reminded that we come to mass for the celebration of the Eucharist and to hear the word of God.

  • Christopher Pacifico

    We’ve learned from last Wednesday class that there are 4 arts of Liturgy: Music, Movement, Environment and Word. Greek word for Liturgy is “leitourgia” which means “public work”. These 4 arts of Liturgy were used as we prepared for opening prayer of the class. The class was divided into 4 smaller groups. Each group was assigned to come up with one of the 4 arts of the Liturgy but each group had to find out what the other groups were doing in order that the prayer will flow and connect. Liturgy has to have beginning, middle, and end. The class was asked what Liturgy means to them. These were the responses: Work of people, communal, not
    static, universal and unique, active, powerful meaning – not drag, space for silence and again should flow and connect.

    The beginning, middle, and end of the Liturgy of the mass must flow and connect. If for instance, something was not right in the beginning. For example if the gathering song was off tune or that it was not a proper gathering song, it might affect the middle and the ending of mass.

    Characteristics of Liturgy leader were also discussed. The class came up with 10 characteristics as follows: Responsible, open to suggestions, able to delegates, humble, wise, organized, knowledgeable, communicates well, committed and must be prayerful. An individual was assigned to create a poster to where these characteristics are to be written. This poster will be posted in the class room throughout the school year to remind us of these.

  • Daniel Lesieutre

    I enjoyed the first class and was impressed by the dynamic which started with the introductions – sharing something Pope Francis said or did – and continued with the “speed” liturgy we had to prepare.

    The one thing that spoke to me in the first class related to the questions “Where do I want to get to?” and “How am I going get there?” as they pertain to affecting change in a parish where people are entrenched in how things are done within Liturgy. Mr. Wagner’s instruction was that we must love them first and have patience. But, not in a passive sense: loving interaction over time and patience for the correct time to introduce possible changes. If they know they are loved and accepted, they will love and be receptive to others. This is a very spiritual response. It brings to mind the antiphon “Wait for the Lord to lead, and then follow.” We do not wait passively, and we should always be attempting to follow – to do God’s Will – at all times. Active waiting would include prayers, self-reflection, and loving interactions with those involved, and following would be trusting that Jesus provides the best moments to act. The time frames discussed in class often being on the order of years was enlightening, but it certainly is consistent with our own faith journeys. Contemplating these aspects as ‘leadership in liturgy’ is enlightening. Liturgy is very important to my pastor but changes are being introduced over an extended time period.

  • Luis Urias

    I found our first class in Liturgy to be very productive, informative and uplifting.

    I enjoyed our discussion on what liturgy is to us as individuals and what it is according
    to the Church. As mentioned the four constructs of liturgy are Music, the Word of God, Movement and Environment which is the visual part. All four elements need to be present and flow together in order for the congregation to feel and receive the Holy Spirit through the liturgy.

    I learned that even our prayer should have a similar flow and should include a beginning,
    middle and end. I also learned that liturgy is an action of the Holy Spirit. This is important because it is the Holy Spirit that makes us holy.

    Another thing I took away from the class was the value added by the self-analysis of liturgy
    as it related to the five questions. In answering the questions it gave me greater insight to my own spiritual journey with God and Christ, as to where I’ve been, where I am, where do I want to be and how am I going to get there.

    This was not only a learning experience in liturgy, it also was a reflection of our own self-identity with Christ.

  • Patricia

    We had an exciting class on Wednesday evening. Prior to our Opening Prayer, Mr. Wagner asked the class what impressed us most about Pope Frances. Responses were overwhelming that the Pope is a most humble and compassionate person as indicated by his life choices, i.e., he washed the feet of prisoners, chooses to live in the Vatican guesthouse (not the papal apartments), doesn’t mind if you disagree with him, he will still like you. We all agreed the Pope genuinely loves people and enjoys being close to them. This is why he is the “Pope of the People.”

    Because of the Pope’s upcoming visit to the US and the security issues his personality presents, our mission was to form a liturgical prayer for our Pope—in 7 minutes. We divided into four groups for each dramatic element of the mass: Music, Environment, Movement and Word.

    The Environment was warm and welcoming with a candle and dimmed lighting, the Music, “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace”, was hopeful, the Prayers were focused and the Movement was solemn. We had a beginning, a middle and somewhat of an ending. Our liturgy all came together very nicely, it felt very spiritual. We were all focused on one thought and
    connected in our warm wishes for the Pope. We had a clear purpose. I felt a sense of calm, peace and holiness while we were all joined together in our hearts and mind for a single purpose. It was a short period of deep prayer by a small group of under 20. Very powerful.

    Our liturgy used the four dramatic elements that a liturgy service needs to be connected and related to each other in order to have cohesiveness and balance. The natural flow comes from a clear beginning, middle and end. When all these elements are present and working with each other you will have a “good” liturgy.

    A liturgy that “works” is a bit more difficult: the four dramatic elements have to be at their peak all working almost flawlessly together flowing in a natural rhythm every week. A liturgy
    that works will not only keep the same people coming back each Sunday but it
    will evangelize and get more people involved in parish life and revitalize the parish with new parishoners.

    Our homework assignment questions were discussed in class and with a partner (“Where am I now, Where do I want to get to, How am I going to get there, How will I know that I have arrived”) Great self -evaluating questions and good opening questions to understand our classmates better and will be interesting to revisit at the end of the semester.

    I know this is going to be an interesting and informative class. Mass is the highest form of prayer, a time when we put everything aside and thank the Lord for his kindness and marvel at his greatness. At every mass we re-live the Last Supper, the Lord’s Death and Resurrection and the miracle of the transubstantiation. Learning more about the Liturgy will bring us to a deeper understanding of the mass and a richer experience each time we attend mass.

  • Anai

    There is that saying “God works in mysterious ways”, well God definitely worked on me on Wednesday evening. To be honest, I didn’t come into class positive and open minded. I was unprepared and a bit weary of how the class would be. Between the two classes that ILM offered, Liturgy seem to be the one that would help me out the most in my ministry. We were asked to answer a few questions for class and there was one that dug in to me the most. Where have you been? I answered at mass. Not putting an effort into really thinking were I have been, yet that question tugged at me. During the class discussion, most of our class mates recalled their experiences of pre-vatican II. Which were awesome because I’ve heard stories like those from my God mother growing up, and that was the moment when I began to open up. I am a big fan of story telling and that familiarity I got from our class mates really got to me. So when Nicked asked for a “happy” experience my hand shot up to the roof. Then did I realize that I’ve been and done liturgical things in my past and loved it. To remember the times that I practiced the mass over and over again so I wouldn’t skip a beat of the mass. As a ten year old, one would think my mom made me do it. But that wasn’t my case, I did it because I enjoyed and loved to do it. That leads me to the other question of where I want to be? I hope with the help of this class that I can get back to that joy of mass and be able to show the children and parents in our program that they too can experience that joy. It just goes to show that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and to keep an open mind, no matter the situation. Can’t wait for the next class

  • Jeanette

    I am a parishioner at Holy Family and our Mission Statement is: “Holy Family Catholic Parish is a welcoming, Christ-centered community, called to live the Gospel, celebrate the Sacraments, hand on the Catholic Tradition, and take part in building up the Body of Christ.”??

    Holy Family set out to I develop a mission statement about ten years ago along with most other parishes in the San Jose Diocese. The statement may sound “inward leaning” where the parish is set up to take care of it’s own by . . . celebrating the Sacraments . . . handing on the Catholic Tradition . . . and . . . building up the Body of Christ”. ??

    But I believe it is an “outward leaning” statement; an evangelization statement. To welcome
    all, to be Christ’s love and mercy to all, to be challenged to live the Gospel
    and not live only in “the world”. Celebrating the Sacraments and
    keeping our Catholic Traditions gives us the “glue” to be a
    supportive, loving community that allows us to build up the Body of Christ, to
    go back out and do it all over again.??

    So, how is our mission of welcome reflected and supported in by Sunday Liturgy???

    Since Liturgy is a community prayer, it is important for the community to join together as friends in Christ, with hearts lifted and voices lifted to God. It is also an “intimate”
    community prayer to God; from our hearts to God’s ears. It is important to feel
    welcome, accepted, … home.

    Most guests I have spoken with have said they felt welcomed and included when they come to our Liturgy. Although our Hospitality Ministers are in the process of building up their group, they and other parishioners are usually at the main and one or two side doors prior to each mass to welcome all who enter.??

    During the greeting at the beginning of each mass, one Lector welcomes all who are new or visiting, almost always asking for a show of hands and asking each guest where they are from. The assembly is very responsive and usually applauds for the person/family. Each guest is provided a “coupon” for free coffee and donuts following mass.??

    At this point in the greeting, the Lector asks everyone to take a moment to welcome each other, introducing themselves to those around them, especially those they do not know. This provides an opening for anyone who might be a bit uncomfortable in meeting new people to extend their hand in friendship and welcome.??

    Sometimes our “guests” are looking for a new parish, visiting family or friends who do not attend a church, have been away from the church and are just “testing the water”, or just getting to a Mass at a convenient time. I think Holy Family provides a friendly, warm, safe, and welcoming place to worship God together, to hear the gospel and be open to the homily; the comfort to respond in the prayers and come to Christ in the Eucharist; to go out and share with others – the acceptance, love and mercy they received.

    Even with the positive responses we have received, Holy Family can still improve. We need more Ministers of Hospitality for better coverage of doors. Re-writing the hand-out, adding
    a Welcome Statement, an invitation to continue joining us for mass, and the question “What can we do for you?”. Considering a fellowship opportunity for those attending Masses that may not be followed by Coffee & Donuts.

  • Ana Collins

    God definetly works in misterious ways. I have been doing the Liturgy Coordinator role for a while, and in my experience the more I learn about Liturgy, the more I fall in love with it.
    The class on Wednesday was not what I was expecting. It surpassed my expectations. It make me think and discern about my role as Liturgy Coordinator. As I was driving home after the class, somethings Nick said kept repeating on my head. “What would you do differently? How could you meassure if your changes were successful? Try to change only one thing.”
    We have 5 Masses at my parish and they are all different. They have different personalities; therefore, they have different needs. After many conversations with myself, going back and forth in my head. I know what I am going to do. I will focus in the needs of the 7:30 AM Mass. I will start attending 7:30 AM Mass regularly in order to identify the most inmediate need and work with the community to make it better. Wish me luck. I will keep you posted.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Daniel. Thanks for your reflection on last week’s class. I do think that sometimes change can take years. And we may not even be the beneficiaries of the change we start. But sometime that is our calling. Thanks for the insights.


  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Luis. Your comment that learning about liturgy is also a reflection of our own identity is so true. If we are offering ourselves in the liturgy, we have to have some idea of what (or who) we are offering. I think you are right on track about that. Thanks for sharing.


  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Patricia. Thanks so much for your thoughts on this. I do agree that we want the elements of the liturgy to work almost flawlessly, but that hardly ever happens. While holding that as the ultimate goal, I think we also have to be joyful about small steps of progress we make toward that goal. That’s easier said than done, of course. I’m often frustrated by how much work there is to do and how far we have to go. But more often I’m caught up in the power of liturgy to transform us and the world. Good reflection!


  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Anai. I’m so glad you had a good experience in class! I hope we hear a lot more stories from you. Thanks for jumping in and participating. I know your comments in class and here on the website help us all have a deeper insight into the liturgy. Thanks for sharing.


  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Jeanette. Thanks for this terrific reflection on the connection between your parish mission and the liturgy. I’d bet most people can’t even say generally what their parish mission is. So it is encouraging to see you apply yours so effectively. Thanks for an insightful analysis.


  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Ana. I think that is a terrific first step. By focusing on one community, I think you will learn a lot about what their needs are. And what you learn could very possibly translate into actions you can take to improve your other liturgical communities. Yes, keep us posted!


  • Luis Cardoso

    I enjoyed our first liturgy class last Wednesday. I’m always interested in learning what other ILM classmates have to say about their own experiences. Early on Nick focused our discussion on our thoughts and attitudes regarding the liturgy. As I took my seat, having rushed through traffic, I thought how refreshing it is to listen to other people sharing how the Church’s liturgy is so important to their own happiness and fulfillment. Going to Mass, receiving our Lord, praying for loved ones and friends: a routine that is forever new, emancipating, and powerful. All of it a free gift, and God’s charity has no limits. My partner in our discussion was Luis and I was moved by something he said: “The liturgy will help me become a better father, husband, and friend.” Joseph, our classmate from Vietnam, spoke about his joy as a child when the Mass was first celebrated in his own language. The liturgy transcends time and joins us together as God’s sons and daughters.

  • Jocelyn

    It is an honor to be a part of Mr. Nick Wagner’s class, I’m glad that I was able to get in. I was looking forward to the first day of class for ILM especially because I am very much interested in
    liturgy. It was very good to see familiar faces and hear the sharing of my classmates on their views and expectations on liturgy. The impromptu planning of a prayer for Pope Francis is
    an eye opener. The prayer service came out good considering time constraints and limited resources. Planning is difficult yet I believe that with the help of the Holy Spirit, any endeavor can be successful as long that there is cooperation among all participants. I also realize that it takes a lot of time and effort in order to have a good liturgy yet one should be able to utilize whatever resources on hand and make it work. I am looking forward to learn more on liturgy in the coming weeks. Let us all continue praying for the safety of Pope Francis on his visit to the United States. God bless us all!

  • Luis Mariano Estrada

    Our first Liturgy class was exceptional.
    It was also a great pre-amble to our Pope Francisco’s visit to our home.

    I learned in a multisensory way
    including my spiritual sense.

    First we were called to share our
    name which identifies us personally, and one thing Pope Francis did or said
    which connected us to Pope and the class.

    Then after learning the 4 parts
    or Liturgy, we identified ourselves one more time in one of those parts, and were
    able to use our creativity to put together a prayer through collaboration. It
    was an incredible experience. If we were able to what we did in a few minutes,
    I can’t imagine what we would be able to do at the end of this Liturgical
    Adventure with such great professors like Nick and Diana.

    At the end of the class, our
    learning experience was reinforced with the fact that Liturgy has to be
    structured, beginning, middle and end.

    We also were asked to share our
    experience of where we had been, where we are now and where we’d like to be, which
    made us identify our path through this class.

    Thank you for making me look
    forward to every Wednesday…. God is good!

  • Klarissa dela Fuente

    In class last Wednesday, I learned the four parts of liturgy: music, environment, word, and movement. We applied the four parts to our opening prayer, and I participated in the music team. I enjoyed this activity and immediately had a better understanding of liturgy.

    We were informed that this class will focus more on learning than on education. I appreciate this approach very much! Integration and application of my liturgical “head knowledge” will help me grow more as a Catholic, Youth Minister, and servant of the Church.

    In regards to our writing assignment on habits, knowledge, and attitudes towards liturgy, I found it extremely valuable to create attainable goals for myself. For example, I would like to help evaluate the music of our youth and young adult Mass at Queen of Apostles, and offer insights on how to make it more relatable to our young Catholics. Striving to achieve that goal, among others, will keep me motivated and inspired to learn as much as I can.

  • Laura Barker

    Loved the candle app! I thought it was interesting how each of us so easily moved to one corner of the room – music, word, environment, movement – to respond to how God calls us within the church. Each of us has a particular gift to offer. Amazingly we were able to pull of the liturgy in a short period of time. Its interesting how each mass, even at the same church, can have different music and environment which changes the character of the service. For example, our church used to have a teen mass with a rock band. That service is so different from the early morning mass. What ties the two together, however, is the word and the sacrament. That consistency keeps Catholics from around the world united in one faith in Jesus.

    As a new Catholic I feel like I have so much I can learn from this class. When Nick asked us to bring a liturgical book I really did not know what he meant by that. Thanks for helping me out! It resonated with me when Nick talked about how the form of the service closely follows that in the synagogue — holy books are read, psalms sung, and prayers said. I had the opportunity to attend a service, and though it was in Hebrew, you could still feel the same rhythm as that in the Catholic mass. Well then the “aha moment” — of coarse it is the same since the first followers of Jesus were Jews.

    FYI – Following is the prayer we wrote for Pope Francis:
    Lord God, thank you for Pope Francis – for his vision, his global ministry, and his compassion for humanity and God’s creation. We especially lift up your servant, Pope Francis, on his upcoming visit to the U.S. We pray for his safety. We pray that the Holy Spirit will strengthen him to be a messenger of love, peace and unity. We great him joyfully and pledge our love and support for him. Heavenly Father, we offer you praise and thanksgiving in all things, but especially for your son, Jesus. We offer our prayer through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your son who lives and reigns with you.

  • Ana Collins

    As I posted on my last week, I am on a quest to improve the Liturgy experience at the 7:30 AM Mass. I am on the first face of my quest: This past Sunday to worship and observe. I was able to connect with the ministers. I had some one-ones with them and asked them how things were going? There were many good comments and comments of improvement. After meditating and discerning, I think we as a parish need a workshop on Unpacking the Mass. Plan something in the neer future for the whole parish.
    I really liked the class last week. Thank you Nick for sharing your books with us. I got to see a book that was printed in 1962. I also liked the Misal that was in Latin and English. Thank you Semi for sharing with the Class. The Misal has not change much. It is interesting to see how things have change and at the same time are still the same. Vatican II brought alot of changes in the way Liturgy was done, but did not change the Liturgy. The parts of the Mass stayed the same: Introductory Rite, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist and Concluding Rites.
    Laura, thank you so much for sharing the beutiful prayer for Pope Francis.

  • Luis Cardoso

    A Family Album in Words.
    As I looked at the books Nick Wagner collected and placed on the table for last week’s class, I thought how these books were like family albums containing pictures of our parents, uncles and aunts, our brothers and sisters, and of ourselves as children. The photo albums, often family heirlooms of great sentimental value, help us to remember where we came from and possibly guide us in the future to be the people we ought to be.
    The books contained collections of prayers for Mass as well as private prayer– various Sacramentaries, Lectionaries, and Missals.
    Mr. Wagner said that before there was Mass, the followers of Christ celebrated “the breaking of the bread” using prayers collected and preserved in scrolls. With the passage of time, some became the norm and gained wider usage.
    As our instructor described these events in the early Church, I couldn’t help but reflect on the following: 1) How God respects, esteems, and loves human beings since he comes to us in our own history; 2) How our desire to grasp God is often precarious; and 3) How our search for God is at the core of our being and of who we are.

  • Ana Collins

    It has been a crazy weekend. I ment to post something sooner, but life got a little crazy. The last Wednesday class was very interesting for me. Nick mentioned that Liturgy is comething you have to experience not something you learn from books. I really did not understand what he was trying to tell us. As the class went on, I got my aha!!! moment. Our goal should be not to understand Liturgy but to experience it every time we go to Mass. The rest of the week I kept thinking about the class and replying in my head what we shared as a class, but couldn’t get anything concrete until Sunday when I went to Mass. My pastor gave a great Homily regarding family and family dynamics as he went on, he shared a saying by Lao Tse, “…what you hear, you will forget; what you see, you will remember; what you do, you will understand…” His homily was great! I got out very inspired. That was the last part of the puzzle I need. My conclusion, if we do Liturgy, we will understand Liturgy. The big challenge now is how to pass on this concept to the ministers…????? Do you have any ideas?
    Regarding my 7:30 AM quest, I am meeting with the Choir director for that Mass on Friday. I have narrow it down to focus only in one aspect – MUSIC. At 7:30 AM the music should me uplifting and fun. I will let you know what is the outcome of that meeting.

  • Ana Collins

    Hello, great class last week! We learned about the Liturgy of the Word and how important is for the congregation because the table of the Lord is made by both parts the Word and the Body of Christ. In the Word, God speaks to us and we have to be willing to listen.
    I had Liturgy Committee meeting this past monday and I was able to share with them some of the point we discussed in class. I shared mainly about the the importance of periords of SILENCE during the Liturgy in general for example: silence before and after the readings, the psalm, the homily, and after communion and how we can implement little things like that during this Advent Season and beyond.
    Regarding the music for 7:30 am Mass, I met with the music director and agreed that we need to pay more attention to the selection of the music and we need to invite more people to participate in the choir. We are starting this week. Wish me luck!

  • Ana Collins

    Thank you for such wonderful class this past Wednesday. This past Sunday Fr. Joe Kim was the Presider for our 11:30 AM Youth Mass. He used the Eucharistic Prayer II. As part of our homework was to compare all four Eucharistic Prayer – the Preface off all four prayers give praise and thank God, but EPI has the commomoration of the living. Epiclesis calls upon the Holy Spirit to bless the Gifts the words of all four are different: I – … we pray, to bless acknowledge, and approve this offering in every respect… II … we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall,… III – … we humbly implore you: by the same Spirit graciously make holy these gifts… IV- … we pray: may this same Holy Spirit graciously sanctify these offerings.;. The rememberance are also different they all refered to the Pascual Mistery in a different way. I think they were made for different intentions and/or different celebrations during the year. The Epiclesis III and IV talk about the sacrifice. On the other hand I and II do not mention it. In the rememberance part – EPI … remember those who have gone before us. EPII … remember your church… EPIII … Virgin Mary and all the Saints… EPIV … remember all for whom we make this sacrifice… In all honesty, this homework has change the way I worship on Sunday. I am more attentive and I don’t go just through the motions. Thank you!

  • Ana Collins

    Hello Guys, I thnk this is the last post for the class. I was reading the previous post to see how things had change over this three months. They have change in many ways… I did make the commitment to work with the 7:30 AM communit and focus only in the music. That went well, we were able to recruit three new people to sing in the choir. Unfortunately, no new musicians :(. The music that they are music has also change… they are picking song that the community knows so they can participate even if they don’t have the books. Soooo, of course we need to work some more at the mass, but we have acomplished a lot too. Where am I going? I am going to work with the liturgy in other masses an focus only in one thing. 5:00 PM needs more ministers, specially, Mass Coordinators. 9:30 AM needs more women lectors… right now we have mainly men. 11:30 AM needs to envolve the youth a little bit more. 1:00 PM needs to work on Communion Ministers. Like I said, eah Mass has its own needs and I am slowly going to work with them one at a time. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and love the the Liturgy.

  • John

    I’ll start the first post for the Class of 2017!

    Tonight, we had our first course starting on Liturgy. The one thing that I gained a greater insight was our definition of a leader. When we chose Pope Francis and Martin Luther King Jr., I completely forgot that (1) they were chosen, (2) they were asked to not be chosen, (3) they are charismatic, (4) they are doing good. From this, we expanded on the definition of what a leader is including delegating with others, having a strong vision, utilizing the talents of others, having courage, makes decisions, listen well, lead by example, inspires others, and lastly, being a mentor. I also thought it was great that Nick is pushing us to select three of those items to challenge ourselves the next six weeks. I hope all of us will become solid leaders so that we may be able to lead … whatever God calls us to!

  • Marcy Golebiewski

    In the first class, I appreciated Nick using class participation to remind us all of what we leaned about Liturgy at the end of the ILM second year. Liturgy is the source and the summit where we share the word and celebrate as a community or group. Every liturgy has four elements, word, music, movement and environment or space. Liturgy requires a beginning, a middle and an end. The second thing that liturgy requires is the participation of the assembly. The objective of my learning plan will be to be able to use appropriate resources to put together a liturgy with ritual flow and to aim for rich participation of the assembly. I am looking forward to learning more about liturgy in our weekend together with Nick Wagner and his wife.

  • Lee Campbell

    I enjoyed the discussion on leadership. How MLK & Pope Francis were reluctant leaders. They were willing to serve if necessary, but that wasn’t what they initially wanted. It seems that there desire for power was not a motivating factor. I have been a part of organizations that people strive to be in charge and never let go.To serve God, to do His will, is what I want to strive for.
    ” Liturgy is what you do.” So what we did in the first class was good. We combined our talents in a short period of time, no one in charge, yet we all had an influence on the result. I enjoyed it very much.

  • Greg Ripa

    “Liturgy is what you do”. This was one comment that really stuck with me after class. It fits in with other discussions I’ve had about liturgy and planning for liturgy as leaders in our parishes and in our diocese. Each liturgy is unique. There will never be another one before it or after it that is exactly the same. Other liturgies will be similar, but not the same. And each liturgy also has an element of the “show must go on” saying from the theater world; the best laid plans can change for any number of reasons and that’s acceptable (and should probably be expected). The Holy Spirit must have room to work and move within the prepared liturgy.

    Case in point: we hastily prepared a liturgy during class and I helped with “movement”. Along with my other movement partner, we decided that after the sign of the cross at the beginning of our New Year’s blessing liturgy, everyone would hold their hands open in the orans posture. However, there was no initial sign of the cross (did others notice that at the time, or just me, or did you just now remember that fact now that I’ve mentioned it?) and we decided to just keep going and continue with the liturgical flow. Instead, until our next planned prayer movement, everyone just held our hands in a prayerful posture in front of themselves. Our plans did indeed change, that was acceptable, and in the end, what mattered was that we prayed intentionally and created a liturgy even if the original prepared plans had to be altered as the liturgy progressed. I felt that the Holy Spirit was indeed there, present, and moving throughout our liturgy.

  • Paty R.

    Last week class – our first class- was very interesting. We talk about the definition of Liturgy, its elements and, as John mentioned before, about leaders and their qualities. We were asked to pick three of the qualities mentioned for a leader that we wanted to improve in ourselves. I picked four because mentoring for me is a must.
    During all these days, I keep hearing Nick’s voice saying “It is your job to make the Liturgy flow” so I’m very grateful for this class because I will have more tools to do a better job. I have been involved in preparing Liturgies for some time now and each of them has its own flavor -as I always say- because depending on the liturgy season, the demographics, and even the time of the mass/liturgy everything has a different dynamic and the challenges to keeping them flowing are totally different, let’s see how it goes during these 10 weeks.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi All. This is a comment from Jane that I am posting for her:

    “…blindly follow the ritual directives in the reformed liturgical books will run the risk of a new form of liturgical rubricism that might be externally correct but spiritually dead.” (page xvi). This phrase struck a cord with me because this is where I was when I first stepped into participation in Liturgy as a Lector. I was so focused on doing the rubrics right – all eyes are watching – that I wasn’t focused on the proclamation of the Word of God. Increased education from a mentor boosted my confidence and over the years my priorities got straightened out: good proclamation over rubrics. This class is a next step in having a stronger understanding of Liturgy, making me more capable of mentoring others and helping make our Liturgies truly the spiritual food for all as they are sent forth to “love and serve the Lord”.

  • Stella Lal

    Even though I am a cradle Catholic, I never really understood what is Liturgy; what does it specifically mean. Frequently, when Liturgy was mentioned, somehow my mind thought of Mass.

    In the second year I asked this question in class and Diana explained it in detail. Further, I attended the session on Liturgy at the Faith Formation conference which clarified this further.

    In the first class this year, Nick made is even clearer and more specific; though I am sure there is still more to learn.

    • Has beginning, middle and end
    • Includes proclamation of the Word of God
    • Helps share the story through participation
    • Sending out to the world
    • Consists for four elements; Word, Music, Movement and Environment

    Examples of Liturgy are Mass, Sacraments, Office/Vespers and Blessings.

  • Mike Guzman

    I want to thank Nick Wagner for a great presentation in Class this past Wednesday. We talked about Leaders. Like Martin Luther King, and Pope Francis. They were reluctant to be Leaders. On how they delegated their Power. Their vision and how they led by example. They are Great Speakers. They know how to motivate people, and when they spoke, they knew how to get their message across to their followers. We talked about Liturgy, as it relates to a Book. Which has a Beginning, a Middle, and an End. As an example = Stories, Plays or Novels. We were given the task of presenting a Liturgy in class by presenting it in about 10 minutes of Class time. It was great as we broke into teams to prepare for it. I was proud of my classmates as we all participated in the Liturgy. We all participated in it, and all contributed to it. It was good to walk as an Assembly participating. We participated, by praying, we sang, and listened and reflected on God’s Word. It was a very satisfying experience that I had.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi John. Thanks for your insights about this session. I like the characteristics of leadership that you highlighted. I also like that you incorporated the key element of God’s call. All Christian leadership is a response to a call.

  • Nick Wagner

    HI Marcy. This is a great summary of the core elements of liturgy. I think your objective to make the liturgy flow and to aim for rich participation of the assembly is spot on. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Lee. I’m glad you keyed on the idea that Martin Luther King and Pope Francis did not strive after leadership. I think a lot of us are in that position. We don’t necessarily want to be “in charge,” but sometimes that is what God calls us to. Thanks for your post.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Greg. This is a terrific description of how liturgy flows when it is being led well. I’ve seen people actually stop Sunday Mass because something was not going according to plan. The plan become more important than the movement of the Spirit. Thanks for your insight on this.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Paty. I’m glad to see you pulled out the notion of “flow.” Flow is often hard to describe and even harder to teach. But we all know when liturgy is *not* flowing. You are spot on about the idea that every liturgy is different. Thanks for sharing.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Jane. Rubricism is one of the biggest dangers to good liturgy. I’m glad to hear that as you built more confidence, your priorities shifted. We have to strive to do things correctly, of course, but if we focus too much on the rules, we lose focus on the relationships liturgy engenders. Thanks for sending us your thoughts.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Stella. You are really doing a deep dive on understanding what liturgy is. That’s great! I like that you keep coming back to it, and refining and expanding your understanding. Thanks for giving us some insight into your process.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Mike. You really have given us a comprehensive review of what we did in class. Thanks for your deep attention to our discussion and activities. I’m glad it was satisfying for you. See you Wednesday.

  • Phan Nguyen

    Last Wednesday we had a good review of what liturgy is even though we had learned about it last year but it seems if we don’t practice we will not remember all the details. We also had a hand on liturgy exercise. In the past two and a half years we had done and seen this kind of service several times but we had been given plenty of time to prepare. This time we had only a few minutes to prepare and we performed the service successfully I thought. I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit moving among us. Everyone was joyfully participated and the books that Nick provided played a very important role. We also talked about the characteristics of a leader and one came to mind is our Lord Jesus washing of the feet of his disciples. Serving other people, He is a true leader. A simple and humble action but not easy to follow. We can only ask our God for help.

  • Anthony Ordona

    Last Wednesday was a excellent refresher on what good liturgy is, I enjoyed the structuring of our prayer service. It reminded me of the importance of all the elements of what constitutes good liturgy, ( Music, environment, proclaiming the Word, etc.) The time spent on leadership was good too. Good leaders don’t normally seek out their roles, it is quite often thrust upon them. Like the examples of King and Pope Francis, I would add Nelson Mandela, Dwight Eisenhower and Pope John XXXVI in that category as well. It was good to be reminded that liturgy is not also strictly mass but other rites that are important such as the Liturgy of the Hours and Confirmation.

  • Marcy Golebiewski

    Good reminders, Anthony, In fact, even the mass includes multiple liturgies… such as Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Euchartist.

  • Marcy Golebiewski

    I like this comment idea in lieu of writing papers because of the sharing aspect. I read all of my classmates comments. It seems like a great way to share “notes” from class and be reminded of what we discussed last week as we go into today’s class. If there were a LIKE button, I’d press it. LOL