Skip To Content
24-06 Liturgical Theology is a Course

24-06 Liturgical Theology

Jun 10, 2024 - Aug 2, 2024

$99 Enroll

Full course description

Partner dioceses receive discounted courses. This link provides a list of partner dioceses and discount codes to use when registering.


What is “liturgical theology”? To many, it is the study of liturgy much the way any other topic might be studied – by dissecting and examining it. This course suggests a different approach, though, to see liturgy as a source of theology itself. In the words of the prominent liturgical scholar Fr. Aidan Kavanagh, “liturgy is the faith of the Church in motion.” Liturgy expresses and forms the identity of the Christian. The first unit of the course will introduce you to this view of liturgical theology. The next unit will ask about the origins of the Church, and the origins of the structure of the liturgy she does (and I will connect it to the opening rite of the Mass, the Gathering Rite). Our third unit will consider liturgy's connection to Scripture, the Liturgy of the Word, where God instructs the people he has gathered. Toward that end I would like to look not only at the first half of the mass, but also at the Liturgy of the Hours and the Liturgical Year. Our fourth unit will consider the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the central life-giving source for the Christian, and identify five dominant theological themes in it. Our final unit will consider the cost and consequence of entering into this mystery (something I have recently called “liturgical asceticism”). 


Course Plan


Week 1: June 10-16  

Unit 1: What Is Liturgical Theology?

  • Definitions
  • The Liturgical Movement
  • Liturgical reforms of Vatican II

Week 2: June 17-23  

Unit 2: Liturgy and Church

  • Liturgy’s origin in the Trinity
  • Church’s origin in Trinity
  • Church as called assembly

Week 3: June 24- 30  

Unit 3: Liturgy and Scripture

  • Liturgy of the year
  • Liturgy of the Hours
  • Liturgy of the Word

Week 4: July 1-7  

Break Week (catch up if needed)

Week 5: July 8- 14 

Unit 4: Liturgy and Eucharist

  • Christ sanctifies His people with the Mysteries
  • 5 dimensions of Eucharist

Week 6: July 15- 21

Unit 5: Liturgical Asceticism

  • What is liturgical asceticism?

Week 7: July 22- 26


Week 8: July 29- Aug 2

Additional week to complete any outstanding work


Course Format

  • Eight weeks in duration, with six units of material to complete.
  • Flexible assignment deadlines to accommodate summer schedules.
  • Completed with a cohort of other learners to develop community and enhance learning.
  • Cohort limited to 25 students.
  • Text-based content.
  • Certificate of completion available for 30 contact hours if desired.

Participation Requirements

  • Read the lecture for each unit.

Required Texts

Participants need to have a copy of What Happens at Mass (Jeremy Driscoll, OSB; Liturgy Training Publications) to use during the course. All other readings will be available online in the course space.


For a Certificate of Completion

  • Participation in 4 of 6 “real-time” Zoom sessions with other participants. Note: If you are unable to attend in “real time”, participation requirements can be met by watching the Zoom recording and summarizing insights gained.
  • Read or watch assigned materials; keep notes, questions, and comments for class discussions.
  • Answer weekly discussion questions. 
  • Respond to a weekly unit assignment (250 words).
  • Complete the course evaluation.

*Your diocese may allow this to count for professional development credits. Check with your diocesan school’s office.

Time Expectation

3 to 5 hours per week, depending on your learning style, schedule and whether you intend to gain a Certificate of Completion.

Course Begins

June 10, 2024 (ends August 2, 2024 followed by an additional week for outstanding work)

Course Developer Biography

Dr. David W. Fagerberg

David Fagerberg is an associate professor of liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame. His area of study is liturgical theology: its definition and methodology, and how the Church’s lex orandi (law of prayer) is the foundation for her lex credendi (law of belief). Lately he has been working on how liturgy, theology, and asceticism interrelate. He also has interests in sacramental theology, Eastern Orthodoxy, linguistic philosophy, scholasticism, G. K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis.

B.A., Augsburg College 1972

M.Div., Luther Northwestern Seminary 1977

M.A., St. John's University (Collegeville) 1982

S.T.M., Yale Divinity School 1983

M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Yale University 1991