University of Notre DameUniversity of Notre Dame

McGrath Institute for Church Life

Notre Dame Center for Liturgy


The purpose of Symposium seminars is to provide a more specialized study of themes raised during the Symposium by specific ministers. Each of our seminars have the feel of a graduate level classroom with readings that will be made available in the March before the Symposium. Attendees will be asked to sign up for seminars when they register with the Notre Dame Conference Center. 

In Persona Christi et Ecclesiae: the Foundation of Priestly Vocation in Christ and the Holy Spirit 



Fr. Robert Imbelli, Ph.D., Associate Professor Emeritus, Boston College












Msgr. Michael Heintz, Ph.D., Director of M.Div. Program, University of Notre Dame






The seminar will explore the two-fold aspect of priestly ministry and spirituality. On the first day, we will reflect upon the radical “newness” of Jesus Christ, inspired by Saint Irenaeus’ affirmation (cited by Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium): “Christ brings all newness by bringing himself.” The priest bears witness to Christ’s ever-newness in his preaching, celebrating, and guiding of the people of God.

The second day will reflect upon the priest’s identity shaped by the Eucharist at which he presides. However, he always does so as a member of the Spirit-endowed people, the body of Christ. The grace of ordination is given not to replace the many charisms the Spirit bestows, but to foster and coordinate them for the building up of the body in holiness and truth. Yet Christ alone is the Head of the body.

The Rite of Marriage


Fr. Daniel Merz, Outgoing Associate Director of the Secretariat of Divine Worship, USCCB; Priest, Diocese of Jefferson City

Marriage and the family have become the center of Church’s attention. It seems providential that, during this same time, the Church is readying a revised “Order of Celebrating Matrimony” for English speakers around the world.  More than twenty-three years after Rome promulgated a revised edition in Latin (1991), the English translation is finally ready. This seminar will unfold what’s new in the revised Rite, not only in terms of the new ritual options and new U.S. adaptations, but also the considerably expanded theology now provided in the Introduction to the ritual text.  The beauty of the sacrament (and the challenges in celebrating it!) will be discussed. The biggest challenge will be left to married couples and the grace of God: living it!


Formation for the Sacrament of Marriage


Joshua Noem, Writer and Faciltator of STEP and Editor of, University of Notre Dame

Stacey Noem, Director of Human and Spiritual Formation, Master of Divinty Program, University of Notre Dame

Co-Authors of USCCB blog, Happily Even After.

"Marriage based on exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa” (Deus Caritas Est, §11). In forming couples for the Sacrament of Marriage, it is our responsibility to help them fully appropriate their identity as an icon of love. During the first half of our time together we will contextualize the paschal mystery within the experience of marriage, broadening the engaged couple’s sacramental imagination to consider their relationship as a participation in Christ’s redemption of the world. In the second half of the seminar, we will focus on the practice of marriage preparation, including the use of case studies to flesh out this theology as well as a discussion on what mystagogy might look like for this Sacrament. 

Liturgical Music for the Rite of Marriage


Christopher Ferraro, Director of Music, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Lindenhurst, NY

This seminar will attempt to contextualize the Rite of Marriage within the larger picture of the Church's liturgical and sacramental vision. In particular, after exploring and developing a theological language, we will, through the lens of mystagogical reflection, examine the moments in the Rite where music is envisioned and attempt to flesh out what the text and musical form mean for the Church at prayer.  In an effort to explore marriage preparation and the Rite of Marriage itself as graced moments of evangelization, we will also explore the joys and challenges of ministering to engaged couples in the midst of a consumerist culture where the Church’s ritual and its musical tradition are often ignored.

Hispanic Catholics and the Sacrament of Marriage


Fred and Lisa Everett, Co-Directors of the Office of Family Life, Diocese of Fort Wayne/South Bend

Why are decreasing numbers of Hispanic Catholics getting married in the Catholic Church? Why are increasing numbers of Hispanic women choosing to postpone marriage while having and raising children on their own? What pastoral strategies can the Church implement to re-catechize Hispanic Catholics in a sound theology of marriage while also attending to the concrete relational needs of all couples?
This seminar will explore these questions while reviewing recent research that attempts to answer various aspects of them. There will be a particular focus on a recent CCHD-funded project in South Bend that researched these questions through focus groups and individual interviews with members of the Hispanic community. Finally, the seminar will look at these questions with reference to the call of Pope Francis to form missionary disciples that will venture into the peripheries of the community.

The Deacon in the Life of the Church


Deacon Scott Dodge, Cathedral of the Madeleine, Diocese of Salt Lake City

Since the restoration of the renewed permanent diaconate almost immediately following the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, permanent deacons are an integral part of parish and other Church ministries in the United States and in a growing number of countries.  This seminar will look at the role of deacons in the life of the Church and discuss some of the ways in which the renewed and restored diaconate is an order still in the process of developing its unique ecclesial identity.  Day one will focus on the question, “What is a deacon?”  In answering this question, we will look at the history and development of the diaconate in the Church, with a particular focus on its modern history, as well as make some key comparisons between the ancient diaconate and the renewed diaconate.  On day two we will take up the question, “Who is a deacon?”  This question will first be addressed by looking at different diaconal images, then will focus on the relationship between the sacraments of marriage and orders in lives of married permanent deacons.

This seminar would be particularly valuable for deacons, priests, and lay ecclesial ministers, including liturgists, on whose close collaboration the success of parochial ministry often rests, and anyone interested in gaining a basic understanding of the diaconate, including several key ongoing issues the diaconate presents.