Faithful invited to ‘Encounter the Sacred’ at SWLC Study Week, Jan. 23 to 26

December 11, 2018

A pre-conference tour  features fine architecture and resplendent sacred art in paint, iconography, mosaics and glass. The tour will visit several six locations, including Annunciation Catholic Church in downtown Houston. File photo by James Ramos/Herald.

HOUSTON — The Southwest Liturgical Conference (SWLC) Study Week, “Encountering the Sacred: Beauty and the Liturgy,” will unpack the beauty of the Word of God, beauty in ars celebrandi, and beauty in visual and aural arts.

By careful attention to the reverent, beautiful celebration of Holy Mass, parish Liturgies will draw the faithful more deeply into the experience of God, according to Sandy Higgins, Office of Worship director and an organizer of the upcoming study week.

“The Planning Committee quickly settled on ‘beauty and the Liturgy’ as a timely topic,” Higgins said. “We see this topic as one that will create a lot of conversation. Is beauty in the eye of the beholder or does beauty in the Liturgy call us to a deeper reality? This study week topic will be both lively and enriching.”

Among those encouraged to attend the SWLC study week are priests, deacons, Liturgy and music directors, RCIA teams, Building Committee Members, Liturgical and Music Ministers, Liturgical Environment teams, Catholic school teachers and catechists, and the faithful who wish to deepen their knowledge and love of the Liturgy.

Southwest Liturgical Conference Study Week

THEME: “Encountering the Sacred: Beauty and the Liturgy”
WHEN: January 23-26, 2019
WHERE: Crowne Plaza Hotel - 8686 Kirby, Houston, Texas
REGISTER NOW: Early bird registration for the conference is $150 ($200 for regular registration). One day registration is $100. Parking is free. Hotel rate will be $139 per night plus tax. A limited number of $50 scholarships are available. Early bird registration ends December 21.

“The Southwest Liturgical Conference Study Week is the longest running liturgical conference in the United States, which is a testament to the quality of education and liturgical experience it provides,” Higgins said. “Houston hosts the study week every eight to 10 years.”

Higgins encourages individuals and groups interested in learning more about the study week to review the event brochure featured at

“One viewing of the brochure communicates the richness of these days of learning with prayerful Liturgies, challenging keynote presentations, a wide variety of workshop opportunities, as well as exhibits, tours and concerts which invite us to experience beauty in a variety of ways,” she said. “I view this study week as a gift to the local Church.”

Special tracks will be offered for those involved in the building or renovation of a church or those who are involved in the purchase of art for the church in collaboration with the Association of Consultants for Liturgical Space.

With the closing of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate, the SWLC offers a track of formation for RCIA teams to understand and implement the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. This track will be led by Nick Wagner and Diana Macalintal from TeamRCIA.

Keynote speakers for the SWLC study week include Archbishop J. Michael Miller; Bishop Stephen J. Lopes, Denis McNamara, Johan van Parys; and Sister Rosemary Esseff, OP.

“The workshop presenters, several of whom have been keynote speakers in the past, will unpack the keynote presentations through panel discussions and workshop presentations,” Higgins said, “challenging us to grow in our knowledge and love of the Liturgy.” For more information, visit