This coming fall, the Office for Worship of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will begin a two-year certification process for those working at advanced levels of liturgical preparation in our parishes and other institutions. The course will be offered separately in both English and Spanish, beginning in October of 2017 and finishing in March of 2019.

Symposium participants would include anyone involved in leadership in the liturgical ministries: liturgy coordinators, musicians, initiation directors, members of liturgy committees, deacons, religious education coordinators and parish school liturgy coordinators. Anyone interested in the liturgical life of your parish is welcome to join the symposium if they have fulfilled the prerequisites that will be outlined in the forthcoming information.

The launch date to begin the application and interview process will be June 30, 2017. Check the Office for Worship (OFW) website at or call the OFW at 213-637-7262 for further information.

The symposium group will meet once a month on Saturday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Northridge (16 sessions) in the San Fernando Pastoral Region. Topics will include liturgical theology and spirituality, the liturgical year, study of church rites and documents, ritual music, Liturgy of the Hours, interculturation in the work of liturgy and more. The two-year course will finish with four sessions in the specialization of the participants’ choice: initiation, liturgy or music.

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (CSL), the first document promulgated from the Second Vatican Council in 1963, called for the faithful to receive the necessary instruction to enable their own full participation in the liturgy, and to work towards that of the whole assembly.

“The Church earnestly desires that all the faithful be led to that full, conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations called for by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people … is their right and duty by reason of their baptism. … This full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else. For it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit and therefore pastors must zealously strive in all their pastoral work to achieve such participation by means of the necessary instruction.” (CSL No. 14)

“With zeal and patience pastors must promote the liturgical instruction of the faithful and also their active participation in the liturgy both internally and externally. … By doing so, pastors will be fulfilling one of their chief duties as faithful stewards of the mysteries of God; and in this matter they must lead their flock not only by words but also by example.” (CSL No. 19)

This participation was not envisioned by the Council leaders as only active response at Mass, nor as simply observation and support of the presider’s activity. The participation referred to in the documents becomes full and conscious if we each prepare ourselves spiritually so that our participation comes from an inner depth of personal involvement and connection. To be full and conscious, we also need to expand our knowledge of liturgy, our Church’s tradition of public prayer. Our role as members of the assembly is the central ingredient, for it is through our actions together at the liturgy that the body of Christ continues to be made manifest to the world. The ritual actions are the work of the whole assembly together, not just the presider.

One of the intentions of this OFW Advanced Liturgical Symposium is to connect our diocesan parishes in an on-going conversation that grows understanding and awareness about Catholic liturgical tradition. Another intention is that participants engage in learning and conversation that will be pastorally and spiritually formative for them personally, especially among parish leaders working in liturgy, music or initiation. And, finally, the intention is to encourage the work of parish liturgy committees by providing the opportunity for their growth in information and committee formation.

Liturgy as the work of the people is never complete, never static. It is an ever-evolving, on-going work that needs regular revitalization and new energy. It is not just the responsibility of the pastor, priests and deacons. “The work” of liturgy includes all people of the parish.

The Office for Worship would like to encourage all pastors to consider sending a representative from their parish to participate in this symposium.

“For the liturgy, ‘making the work of our redemption a present actuality’ … daily builds up those who are within into a holy temple of the Lord,…and thus shows forth the Church to those who are outside as a sign lifted up among the nations, under which the scattered children of God may be gathered together, until there is one sheepfold and one shepherd.” (CSL No. 2)