Roman Missal Workshops: Unexpected Success?

Our diocese had our fourth day of regional workshops on the Roman Missal, third edition yesterday. We offer an afternoon and an evening session, each 3-hours long, covering some basics of good liturgy, the reasons for and some examples of the changes we’ll see on the Firth Sunday of Advent, and a packet of resources for implementing the changes.

Our last two workshop are next Tuesday, and after they’re done I really want to sit and analyze what we did right with this workshop. The afternoon session is for Catholic school teachers — usually a very tough audience. But so far, with some minor exceptions, this is the most engaged I’ve seen the teachers on a catechetical topic.

I’m not sure why that’s so; part of it may be that we’re giving them materials they can take back and use in the classroom (something they’ve been asking for for years), but I think the fact that we’ve divided up the workshop into smaller subsections — none longer than 30 minutes, some as short as 5 minutes — helps to make the presentations feel snappier. We’ve also added a variety of short video clips (from ICEL’s Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ DVD, a great resource), multiple presenters (participants hear from 5 different people), and we purchased a portable PA system so that we don’t have to rely on spotty systems in gyms and parish halls.

I suspect that it’s a combination of all these factors that have made the workshops a success. Of course, the real proof will be how parishes use the materials and prepare people for the new language of the Mass we’ll be using in two months!