Office of Worship focuses on experiencing presence of God

August 20, 2013

HOUSTON — About 250 catechists from around the Galveston-Houston area spent much of August’s first weekend in an intensive, interactive two-day workshop on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) — held at St. Anne Catholic Church in Houston and hosted by the Archdiocese’s Office of Worship. 

The catechists learned from Nick Wagner, dynamic speaker, liturgist, author and co-founder of TeamRCIA, which holds trainings for catechists nationwide and online. 

The Office of Worship, funded by the Diocesan Services Fund, has hosted RCIA events for decades, Director David Wood explained. While there are obviously catechetical aspects, “RCIA is a liturgical rite,” Wood said, involving a process of faith formation reflective of the mission of worship.

This was just one weekend of 52 for the Office of Worship, and RCIA is just one of its responsibilities. The ministry works together with other offices to host and organize many events.

The ministry is also the Archdiocese’s primary source for liturgical support, collaborating with the other offices of the Church. Last year, it prepared more than 400 liturgies for Daniel Cardinal DiNardo and Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz — an average of more than one per day. 

“You’d be surprised at all the little details,” Higgins said. “When we have Chrism Mass and all the priests process in chasubles, there’s a team organized to help with the distribution and return of those so they’re always in good shape. That’s a behind-the-scene function that people don’t see. If we do our job well, no one should notice.”

Other responsibilities of the ministry include the Archdiocesan Choir, which is a mixed chorus of 65 voices that provide liturgical music in celebration of the Archdiocesan liturgies, and the Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Choir, which is the top singers from fourth to eighth grades from each of the Archdiocesan Catholic Schools with recommendations from both the music teacher and principal. 

The Office of Worship also provides consultation to parish leaders regarding liturgical norms and practice. Additionally, the office is available as a resource on the building and renovation of liturgical space.

“The liturgy is a first-hand experience of the presence of God,” Wood said. “The goal is to connect with the experience, and let that echo in a person’s heart... and connect that with the tradition of the Church.”