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Continuing Formation: Liturgical History, Theology, Practice, and Spirituality

As part of its mission to assist the Bishop in promoting the full, conscious, and active participation of all the faithful in liturgical celebrations in the Diocese of Arlington, the Office of Divine Worship offers pastoral and liturgical formation for the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Arlington. To request a presentation or workshop for your parish, school, or organization, please contact the Office of Divine Worship.

Liturgy Workshops: Fostering Participation in Sacred Liturgy

The Liturgy Workshops are offered in each deanery throughout the year. These workshops normally occur on Saturdays, 10:00am-3:00pm, yet they may be offered on other days and times. They consist of a workshop for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, a presentation on a liturgical topic, and a workshop for Readers. For more information, including the current schedule, visit the Liturgy Workshops page.

Presentations on the Eucharist

These presentations on the Eucharist explain key components of the Mass in order to provide concrete insights and practices for ongoing spiritual formation aimed at “full, conscious, and active participation” in liturgy. The presentations are 45-60 minutes each.

1. Why Liturgical Tradition Matters - We hear frequently that the tradition of the Mass is important. But, what is “tradition,” and in a world that gives pride of place to innovation, does tradition matter? By appealing to the 2,000-year tradition of eucharistic celebration and theology, this presentation explains what “tradition” is, why it matters as a means for our salvation, and how a better understanding of it can deepen our participation in the Eucharist.

2. Why We Worship - What inspires us to participate in Mass Sunday after Sunday? Or, what is missing from our view such that we or our loved ones participate only occasionally, rarely, or even never? Addressing widely shared challenges in today’s world, this presentation explores Creation and Redemption as two key motivations for why we worship and how a better understanding of them can deepen our participation in the Eucharist.

3. How We Worship Authentically - Wouldn’t God prefer that I spend an hour on Sundays serving those in need rather than in an expensive church? Are service and worship really opposed, and if not, how do we experience their harmony in our daily activities and regular worship? This presentation examines how the rites and texts of the Mass reveal that a life of service is essential for authentic worship and how fostering this unity of service and worship can deepen our participation in the Eucharist.

Presentations on Liturgy in Today’s World

These presentations on the Liturgy in Today’s World connect liturgy with a range of topics of importance and interest in today’s world. The presentations are 45-60 minutes each.

1. Liturgy and the “Return of Analog” - Despite free streaming music, digital tablets, and online marketplaces, not only are vinyl records and brick-and-mortar bookstores still around, they are thriving. What are the reasons behind this so-called “return of analog,” and what, if anything, does it have to do with liturgy? This presentation explores how the anthropological underpinnings of our newfound love for vinyl, moleskin notebooks, board games, handcraft beer, and real books can provide insights into what happens in liturgy and how we can deepen our participation in liturgy.

2. The Science of Liturgy - Are science and faith really opposed, and if not, do they simply coexist or can they dialogue with one another? Today’s world places a premium on scientific understanding, yet all too often science and faith are understood as simply coexisting, or worse, standing in opposition. This presentation explores how science and faith can dialogue by examining how scientific explanations of the human person can deepen our participation in liturgy and how liturgy provides a foundation for our appreciation of the wonders that science seeks to explain.

3. Pope Francis and the Liturgy - While Pope Francis has not produced a major document treating liturgy as its primary topic, his actions and his teachings are imbued with the theological principles that are foundational to all liturgical celebrations. How does Francis address the liturgy, and why is this important for our lives as Catholics? This presentation explores how the nature of liturgy as sacramental, ecclesial, and participatory is raised up and applied to our wider spiritual lives in the words and deeds of our current pope.

Additional Presentation Topics

Additional presentation topics offered by the Office of Divine Worship are listed below. The precise content, aim, and length of the talk can be adapted to the particular needs of the parish, school, or organization.

  • Sacraments and Creation
  • Sacraments and the Incarnation
  • Liturgical Renewal and Reform in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
  • Liturgy and Vatican II
  • Liturgy and Pope Francis
  • General Introduction to Prayer, Liturgy, and Sacraments
  • The Mass: History, Theology, and Practice
  • Church and Altar Dedication: History, Theology, and Practice


In addition to the topics provided here, the Office of Faith Formation offers a wide array of topics (spirituality, lectio divina, science and religion, etc.) through the diocesan Speakers Bureau.