Guiding Deacons to a Greater Understanding of the Spirit of the Liturgy through a Deeper Understanding of the Nature of Liturgical Action
Liturgical training for deacons is to be provided during their formation, but the manner, type, and format of the liturgical training has no specific requirements. This project aims to provide in the Archdiocese of Baltimore a program of instruction that helps the deacon understand the history of the diaconate, the liturgical role of the deacon through time, the liturgical action of the rubrics and, most importantly, a theological understanding of why the actions are performed, while understanding the how of the action being expressed.This project was offered to two groups, deacons currently serving in the Archdiocese and men who are in deacon formation. The workshop afforded them the opportunity to enhance their skills, review the role of the deacon in liturgy, and practice the rubrics used during liturgy.Presentations, small-group sharing, discussion, and practical demonstration of the rubrics were utilized during the course of the workshop. During the workshop, the men learned about the role of the deacon in liturgy, history of the diaconate, and importance of the "General Instruction of the Roman Missal" found at the beginning of the Roman Missal. The men had the opportunity to practice the rubrics while being video recorded.The participants' review of the video permitted them to observe their attitude and demeanor during their actions. It provided an opportunity for the participants to commentand reflect on what they did, how they did it and most importantly, how their actions appeared to those watching. Participants came to a greater understanding of why it is important to have an adequate understanding of why the deacon performs his liturgical actions.The project workshop for the deacons was conducted at the bi-annual convocation held at the Bolger Center, just outside Washington, D.C. The workshop for the men information was conducted during their regular formation sessions. Prior to the workshops participants voluntarily completed a self-assessment of their knowledge and understanding of the liturgical role of the deacon in history, the "General Instruction of the Roman Missal", the current liturgical role of the deacon, liturgical rubrics, and how their performance of their liturgical role expresses their understanding of the liturgy.At the conclusion of the workshops, the participants were given a post-assessment instrument similar to that used before the workshop. The assessments were compared to ascertain how well the participants learned and understood the material presented.
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