Yesterday I began my second of five summer sessions at The Liturgical Institute in Mundelein, Illinois to continue my studies in pursuit of my fifth academic degree, a Master of Arts (Liturgical Studies) which will better help me serve as Director of the Office for Divine Worship and the Catechumenate.
Normally summers this far north are nearly idyllic, but the weather thus far (I arrived Sunday evening) has been a bit chilly and very cloudy.
At any rate, the summer sessions here are typically divided in two parts of three weeks each with two classes in each part. In this first of the summer session, I am taking the following classes (with their descriptions taken from the course catalog):
Liturgical Traditions: East and West: This course provides a comprehensive introduction tot he rites and practices of non-Roman western Christian traditions (Anglican and other select Protestant groups), and to the liturgy as celebrated by eastern Christian communities (both Catholic and Orthodox). The origin and historical development of these traditions is considered. Particular attention is given both to distinctive theological themes within these rites and to the manner in which the renewal of western Catholic liturgy is occurring today as a result of contact with the theology and practice of the East.
Ritual, Symbol, and Worship: Symbol is the fundamental medium for religion and its ritual elaboration. The nature and function of symbol and ritual liturgical worship is considered. The following are examined for their relevance to the understanding of Catholic worship: the phenomenology of religion; ritual anthropology; various theories of symbol; language theory. Particular attention is given to the manner in which modern symbolic studies provide an understanding of the scholastic maxim, "sacraments confer grace by signifying."
In the second part of this summer session, I will take these classes:
Reconciliation, Anointing, and Death: The two "sacraments of healing" - anointing of the sick and penance - are covered in this course. An examination of the origin and development of the sacrament of penance sheds light on the Church's revised rites and their theological underpinnings. The rites of the Church's sacramental ministry to the sick and dying, and her funeral liturgy, are placed in the context of an anthropology which expresses the paschal character and eschatological significance of a Christian's illness and death.
Music and Worship: The place of music in human culture is examined from the perspective of a philosophy of aesthetics. the historic role of music in the elaboration of the mysteries of the Christian faith is explained. The official documents of the Church produced during the twentieth century are discussed in detail. The current musical structure of the Roman liturgy is explored, and practical principles for the advancement and management of liturgical music programs are proposed.
The work load last summer was not too intense, but this summer it appears to be quite heavy, as is evidence from the text books alone (which do not include other assigned articles and excerpts from other books):
Despite the course load, the summers here are good; the professors are friendly and knowlegable and my fellow classmates are a delight.