Catholic Theological Union Learn@CTUCatholics on CallCatholic Common Ground Initiative
Follow CTU on Facebook
CTU Twitter feed
CTU on LinkedIn

Word and Worship Studies

W3000 Liturgy: Principles and Practices

Introduces ritual, ecclesial, theological, and practical foundations of liturgy and liturgical celebrations in preparation for ministry in diverse pastoral and cultural contexts.

WMP 4000 Communication Skills for Ministry
This course will focus on increasing students' understanding of issues related to intercultural communications, including worship in intercultural communities; employing old and new media in facilitating small group discussion and reflection in intercultural and interreligious contexts; practicing principles for dialogue in conflict situations related to worship and difficult parish situations; and developing skills for community outreach. Students will also explore other cultures through encounters with diverse arts opportunities in Chicago.

W 4010 Liturgies of Dying and Death
This course will examine Roman Catholic liturgical responses to dying and death set out in the Pastoral Care of the Sick (1982) and the Order of Christian Funerals (1989). We will explore the historical, cultural, and theological dimensions of the rites, attend to their pastoral celebration, and assess new situations for which ritual response is needed in today’s diverse pastoral contexts.  (1.5 credits)

W 4019 Canonical Issues in Parish Life
The Code of Canon Law specifies rights, sets forth duties, and provides for the vindication of rights.  This course will examine laws of the Church as they pertain to pastoral ministry.  It will focus on the nature of law in the Church, the notion of parish, Christian Initiation and the other sacraments, particularly marriage. (1.5 credits)

WS 4100 Liturgy, Contemplation, and Mission: Ecclesial Spirituality

This course integrates aspects of liturgy, prayer and contemplation which ground and shape an ecclesial spirituality for the evangelizing mission of the church, and it explores the Trinitarian basis for this integration.  Lecture, reading, discussion, and integrating exercises.  Previous coursework in liturgy and spirituality required.  (3 credits; auditors welcome)

W 4200 Initiation and Reconciliation
Theological, historical, and pastoral reflection on the experience and sacraments of initiation and reconciliation. Particular attention given to: the RCIA as norm for initiatory practice; the relation of sacramental reconciliation to the church's life; and foundations of practical skills for celebration. (3 credits)

W 4201 Eucharist and Sacramental Theology
This course serves as a general introduction to sacramental theology, and a particular introduction to the Eucharist, its history, theology, structure, and practice. (3 credits)

W 4204 Canon Law
This course addresses the nature, role, and history of canon law; church structures and ministries; and law regulating sacramental practice. This course fulfills the MDiv requirement in Canon Law. (3 credits)

W4205 Lay Leadership of Prayer and Preaching

 Recommended taken later in one's program. Prerequisite: W3xxx Liturgy; W4200 ORW4201; B3xxx Introduction to OT and B3xxx Introduction to NT

A practicum to develop competency in the leadership of the community’s prayer, including Liturgy of the Hours, catechumenal rites, the funeral Vigil, penitential liturgies, liturgies of Word and Communion, and ministry to the sick and dying. In conjunction with these settings, it will also consider the liturgical, canonical, and pastoral dynamics and practical skills of lay preaching. (3 credits)

W 4207 Presiding I

Prerequisites: W4200; W4201; W4206 and 4209.
A practicum designed for priesthood candidates to develop competency in leadership of sacramental rites, including initiation, weddings, wakes, and funerals. Special emphasis is given to Eucharist. (3 credits)

W 4209 Preaching I
This practicum explores the homily as a liturgical action within the Christian assembly. Participants consider the basics of homiletics and the liturgical, pastoral, contextual, and practical dynamics of preaching for Sundays, Feasts, and Liturgical Seasons. (3 credits)

W 4212 A Worshiping World: Liturgy, Culture, Context

Engaging the plurality of approaches of contextual theologies, this course explores the intersections of Christian liturgy with cultural, social, generational, and other situated worship experiences. Attending to a worldwide, ecumenical scope, the course examines a dialogue of past, present, and future for liturgical practices with a particular attention to contemporary worship trends, the ongoing dynamic of renewal, and the enrichment of the complex conversation of liturgy, culture, theology, and ethics. (3 credits)

W 4213 Presiding II

Prerequisites: W4200; W4201; W4206 and 4209.
A practicum designed for priesthood candidates to develop competency in the pastoral care and anointing of the sick and in the ministry of reconciliation. Open to students in their final year.  (2 credits)

W 4214 Preaching II

Prerequisite W4209
This practicum builds on the foundations and skills covered by W4209 Preaching I to consider preaching at daily Mass, at the celebration of the sacraments, at funerals, and in a variety of other contexts and settings. (1.5 credits)

W 4215  Predicación y Leccionario  Este curso toma en cuenta predicación para el año litúrgico incluyendo Cuaresma y Pascuacon las lecturas del leccionario. El método para la clase será en conjunto con la Hermana Barbara Reid, profesora en Biblia, y Padre Eddie De León, profesor en predicación. Incluso, cada estudiante tendrá la oportunidad de desarrollar su propia predicación en vivo y en video con texto. 

W 4216 Marriage and Anointing of the Sick.
Liturgical and theological exploration of the sacrament of marriage and the sacrament of anointing and the pastoral care of the sick and dying. Particular attention is given to the interplay of liturgy and pastoral care. (1.5 credits)

W 4217 Worship with Children

Christians who are children because of their chronological age (birth to approximately 12 years old) claim their role as children of God in worship in unique ways.  This course will explore theological foundations, catechetical principles, and pastoral strategies for engaging children in the worship of the entire assembly and for preparing and celebrating liturgies in contexts where the majority of the worshipers are children (such as Children’s Liturgy of the Word and Masses with Children in parish and school settings). (3 credits)

CW4301 Initiation and Contextualization

After studying the general characteristics of Christian initiation and other types of initiation as cultural-religious phenomena in a variety of historical contexts, this seminar focuses on theological, cultural, liturgical and pastoral issues in the holistic process of contextualizing initiation in particular Christian contexts.

W 5001 Catechesis and Religious Education in the Worshiping Community
This seminar explores the interplay of life, liturgy, and adult faith formation to promote a praxis of a holistic, transformative catechesis in the spirit of the General Directory for Catechesis. Offers an overview of the history of catechetical education; critical study of recent major catechetical documents; contemporary trends in adult faith formation; and the intersection of liturgy and catechesis. (3 credits)

WS 5001 Liturgical Foundations for Spirituality
Readings and seminar presentations on the structures, prayer forms, rhythms, and theology of liturgy to uncover liturgical foundations for Christian spirituality.  The seminar will be conducted in a reading, presentation, and discussion style.  (3 credits; auditors welcome)

W 5003 Theology of Word and Sacrament
Joining together theological interpretation and pastoral reflection, this seminar explores various topics in liturgical and sacramental theology in historical, contemporary, and emerging contexts. (3 credits)

W 5004 Liturgy and the New Evangelization
Building on contemporary discussions of the important connections between evangelization and liturgy, this seminar-style course will explore the evangelical and formative dimensions of liturgical celebrations and aid students in developing strategies for catechetical and spiritual practices that are rooted in the liturgy and which promote the work of evangelization in the world today.

W 5005 Liturgical Time:  Feasts, Seasons, and Saints 
The Christian sense of time is shaped by the celebrations Christians keep.  This course will explore the origins, development, and theological significance of the major feasts, fasts, and seasons of the Church’s liturgical year and consider the emergence and evolution of feasts honoring saints.   Topics will include consideration of Sunday as the preeminent Christian feast; the evolution of Easter and Christmas as the most prominent festal occasions in the yearly cycle and the growth of seasons and additional feasts around them (the Lenten and Easter seasons and the feasts of Pentecost and Ascension in the case of Easter and the Advent and Christmas seasons and feast of Epiphany for Christmas); and the rise of the cult of saints celebrating the continued unfolding of the paschal mystery in the lives of Christians through the ages.  The focus of the course will be on the history and theology of the celebrations of the liturgical year in various Christian traditions as myriad manifestations of the one mystery of Christ—with consideration  of pastoral issues and implications for lived spirituality. No prior knowledge of the subject is expected. (3 credits)

W 5021 Liturgy and Popular Religiosity
This seminar will explore the “non-official” contribution to Christian worship of the “plebs sancta Dei” (the holy, common people of God) who, though not theologians and church leaders, provide a cultural context for the liturgy. Through readings, seminar presentations, and discussions, participants in the seminar will examine both historic and contemporary influences of popular religion on Christian worship. (3 credits, open to auditors)

WS 5105 Church Year Prayed and Preached
This seminar explores the Church Year as a liturgical event, spiritual guide and preaching resource. Employing the methods of practical theology, it will consider the relevant contextual, historical, and experiential factors for celebrating, praying, and preaching the liturgical cycle of feasts and seasons. (3 credits)

W 5200 Liturgical Music
Employing the frameworks of practical theology, this interdisciplinary seminar will explore the practice of music in Christian worship. Through the lenses of context, traditions and the experience of prayers and musicians, the course will consider the kinds of theology and theological precedents such practices reflect and generate, and ponder how they contribute to shaping contemporary musical-liturgical practices that is musically, theologically, and contextually appropriate. (3 credits)

WC 5202 Liturgical Inculturation
This seminar explores the inculturation of the church's worship in both historical and contemporary perspective with emphasis on current methodological and theological issues raised by the engagement of the church with contemporary cultures promoted by Vatican II. (3 credits)

WC 5205 Liturgy in a Multicultural Community
This seminar explores the complex situation of liturgical celebration in communities comprising people of diverse languages and cultural backgrounds. It takes up the dynamics of intercultural engagement; assumptions, principles, and critiques relating to multiculturalism; importance of popular religiosity; and contemporary models for liturgy that embrace the plurality of cultures in a respectful, inclusive way. (3 credits)

W 5210 Liturgical Catechesis
Drawing upon the nature of liturgical celebration and principles of adult education, this seminar explores the nature and role of liturgical catechesis and mystagogy, and examines several models for experientially based learning and formation for adult worshipers. (3 credits)

WS 5225 Worship, Spirituality, and Digital Media Arts
Media arts in Christian worship is not a new phenomenon. The first instance recorded occurred at the end of the 19th century. Since the mid-1990s, though, more and more faith communities have chosen to add projection or display of images and video into their worship. Why? How? To what end? How is this practice to be evaluated? By what criteria? These are among the many questions raised in this course that focuses on how the local creation of digital media arts can become a spiritual practice not only for the individual producer, but also for the larger faith community when it is done in a small group process that leads to contemplative media art-making and media art-sharing. Students will explore how today’s media arts (photography, video, new media arts) can appropriately be integrated into Roman Catholic and other Christian liturgy and how the creation of media arts might become a part of faith formation for adults as well as for children and teens. Each week students practice doing photography as a spiritual practice. Through this practice, they discover how the act of media art-making and media art-sharing in community can encourage participants to be become more and more contemplative in their everyday life and to become more attuned to glimpses of grace everywhere around them.  (3 credits)

W 5227 Shaping Places for Worship
Using a range of media and methods, this seminar examines liturgical, spatial, artistic, and human issues involved in shaping places for worship. (3 credits)

W 5230 Liturgical Methods
This seminar introduces students to the major methodological trends in the field of liturgy. Students engage both in the reading of the classic and contemporary works and in the exploration of the various methods by applying them to a study of liturgical rites and texts. (3 credits)

W 5240 Ritual Studies
This seminar explores the ritual dimensions of liturgical celebration. Student presentations are based on field observation and readings in ritual theory from various social sciences. (3 credits)

W 5241 Liturgical History
This course provides an overview of Christian liturgy from its Jewish matrix until the present, especially in the west. It introduces significant movements, places, events, liturgical sources, and individuals that provide basic historical, social, cultural, and theological frameworks for understanding the development of Christian worship. (3 credits)

WSC 5301 Prayer Patterns in the Abrahamic Traditions
This seminar course will examine the development of (non-eucharistic) liturgical prayer patterns in the Abrahamic traditions from ancient Temple and Synagogue prayer patterns into the 21st century.  This historical-contextual approach will provide a framework for inquiring to what extent there can be said to be implied spiritualities in the form, structure and performance of these prayer patterns, and how such might shed light on the evolving prayer practices of these traditions today.  Historical work will be complemented by shared theological reflection on the patterns we examine. (3 credits)

W 5525 Shaping Places for Worship
Christian communities often face the challenge of renovating or building new worship spaces. Many worship in temporary spaces and have to create an environment appropriate for their liturgies. In this online course, students explore how shaping places for worship, whether permanent or temporary, is an urgent issue that requires knowledge of the history of liturgical art and architecture, from ancient to contemporary; appreciation for how creating worship spaces that are universally accessible and designed with sustainability in mind is a matter of hospitality and justice; understanding of how the incorporation of various media arts can become a communal activity that eventually leads to the creation of liturgical media art; appreciation for the history of inculturation in church art and architecture; knowledge of how community processes are a critical part of any renovation or building project; and understanding of Roman Catholic, ELCA Lutheran, and other denominational guidelines regarding worship spaces. Students conclude this online seminar with a project focused on a topic pertinent to their ministry.  (3 credits)