Liturgist promotes Catholics’ identity as sacramental people

by Michael Podrebarac
Special to The Leaven

So what does a diocesan liturgist actually do? No jokes about liturgists and terrorists, please!

The “functional” mission of the office for liturgy here in the archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas is quite simple: to serve as a consultant and resource for pastors and parishes in the areas of liturgical preparation, liturgical celebration and evaluation, liturgical music, art and environment, liturgical ministries, and liturgical spirituality.

The “philosophical” mission of the office, as it might be called, was penned many years ago by my venerable predecessor, Father Francis Hund, now pastor of Church of the Nativity in Leawood: “To promote our identity as a sacramental people, and to find ways to express that identity in daily life.” This is, of course, based on some of the most potent words of the Mass: “Take and eat, this is my Body. . . . Take and drink, this is my Blood. . . . Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”

What does all of this practically mean? Well, in short, I am charged to work toward accomplishing the following: to provide whatever information our priests and parish liturgy committees require in the area of liturgy. This is done through printed information, published resources, and through individual inquiry and consultation. Sometimes I am called the “liturgy answer man.” Perhaps I am. . . as long, of course, as the answers I provide are accurate and faithful to our liturgical tradition and teaching documents.

It is my job to provide continuing formation and enrichment for parish musicians and liturgical ministers. The upcoming workshops on the new Roman Missal are an example of this. In August and September, the office for liturgy will facilitate workshops throughout the archdiocese to help parishes make a smooth implementation of the new Roman Missal this Advent.

It is also part of my responsibilities to prepare the various “archdiocesan” liturgies in a manner which demonstrates a model for liturgical praxis and a means for the sacramental and spiritual growth of those participating.

I also have to stay abreast of what’s “going on” in the world of pastoral liturgy, sacramental theology and the church’s teachings on both.

Finally, it is my privilege to serve as a consultant to Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann in matters pertaining to liturgy. I am grateful for the opportunity he has given me to serve him and the archdiocese in the sacred liturgy.

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