Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Christian Life

Next Session: Oct 14, 2019


Created by Rev. Joseph Weiss, S.J., a former Notre Dame Theology professor. Taking the statement of Vatican II's Lumen Gentium that participation in the Eucharistic celebration is 'the source and summit for the Christian life' as its theme, this course explains the historical development of the Mass, the special forms of the celebration of the Mass, Sunday and the Eucharistic celebration, and Holy Communion and the worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass. At the end of this course participants will be able to: 1) Describe and explain the historical and theological development of Eucharistic worship in the Roman Catholic Church; 2) Discuss the ritual structure and theology of the Mass, the Eucharistic Prayer, Sunday Celebrations is the Absence of a Priest, and worship of the Eucharist outside of Mass.

*Note: Participants in this course must have their own copy of Adolf Adam's The Eucharistic Celebration (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1994).

Course Content

Unit 1: The Eucharistic Liturgy: One Single Act of Worship

  • The Reform of the Liturgy of the Mass by Vatican II

Unit 2: Gathered as One: Celebrating the Word

  • Introductory Rites
  • The Liturgy of the Word

Unit 3: "Do This in Remembrance of Me."

  • The Liturgy of the Eucharist
  • Communion
  • Concluding Rites

Unit 4: Holy Communion Sundays

  • Celebrating Morning Prayer with Holy Communion
  • Celebrating the Liturgy of the Word with Holy Communion

Unit 5: Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass

  • Prayer Before the Holy Eucharist
  • Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist

Course Format

  • Created by Notre Dame Theology Professor.
  • Six weeks in duration, with one week for orientation.
  • Typically 15-20 students in each course.
  • Primary readings from required text, additional readings provided online.
  • Supplemental readings are provided to encourage further exploration of topic, internet links provided for these readings.
  • Written assignments (150-200 words) required.
  • Facilitator moderated chat sessions with students in course.

Required Texts

  • Participants in this course must have their own copy of Adolf Adam's The Eucharistic Celebration (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1994).

Participation Requirements

  • Read assigned texts; keep notes, questions, and comments for class discussion.
  • Participate in the class discussion using the Forums area: post at least 2 comments, questions, or responses per unit.
  • Write 150-200 words in response to the assignment in each unit.
  • Participate in at least 3 scheduled chat sessions throughout the course.
  • Complete the course evaluation.

Time Expectations

4 to 6 hours per week, depending on your learning style and schedule.

Course Certificate

A certificate of completion awarding 30 contact hours will be sent upon completion of all course requirements.


Rev. Joseph Weiss, S.J.

Rev. Joseph Weiss, S.J.

A member of the Society of Jesus, Rev. Weiss was born and raised in Omaha, NE. He has served as associate pastor at parishes in Lexington, Massachusetts and Pine Ridge, South Dakota, Omaha, Nebraska, and Mishawaka, Indiana. He has been a consultant for liturgical renovation projects throughout the mid-west. In 1994 he was appointed liturgical consultant to the NCCB commission on liturgical inculturation for Native Americans. Rev. Weiss served as chair of the Worship Commission of the Omaha Archdiocese. He is a member of Societas Liturgica and the North American Academy of Liturgy. This course was developed when Rev. Weiss was a professor in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, and he presently is a pastor at a parish outside Minneapolis/St.Paul. Rev. Weiss has written on pastoral issues in the area of liturgy, spirituality, and sacramental theology.

MDiv, Weston; MA, Notre Dame; PhD, Notre Dame, 1993