Created by Dr. Katharine E. Harmon, this course explores the theology, history, and practice of a traditional pattern of public Christian prayer, the “Liturgy of the Hours,” or the “Divine Office.” The Liturgy of the Hours invites the body of the faithful, the Church, to respond to the Scriptural invitation to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) by praying at regular intervals throughout the day and night. In this course, students will become familiar with the basic structure and content of the Liturgy of the Hours, discuss significant theological themes which shape the Hours, consider key moments in the historical development of the Liturgy of the Hours, and evaluate the challenges and catechetical potential afforded by the Liturgy of the Hours. Doing so will afford opportunity for students to discuss the practical dimensions of adopting the Liturgy of the Hours in pastoral settings, to develop a theology of liturgical prayer, and to build a framework for teaching and implementing liturgical prayer patterned on the Liturgy of the Hours.
Unit 1: Liturgical Prayer: Prayer of Christ, Prayer with the Church
- Introduction to the course
- Prayer in Christ, prayer of the Church
- Focus on Liturgy of the Hours
Unit 2: Memory, Time, and Sanctification
- Jewish ways of praying and development of Christian prayer
- The sanctification of time
- The meaning of each “hour” of the Office
Unit 3: Two Ways of Praying: Interior Piety and Communal Worship
- 2nd and 3rd century sources for the Liturgy of the Hours
- Imperial Christianity: cathedral and monastic traditions of liturgical prayer
- Combining and contrasting cathedral and monastic styles
Unit 4: Ritual Patterns and Ritual Meaning
- Parts of the whole: structure of liturgical prayer
- Ritual patterns in Morning and Evening Prayer
Unit 5: Catechesis, Adaption and Implementation
- Implementation of the Liturgy of the Hours
- Adoption and adaptation of the Liturgy of the Hours
- Six weeks in duration, with one week for orientation.
- Typically 15-20 students in each course.
- Lectures delivered by streaming video.
- All lecture text available online in text format.
- Supplemental readings provided online.
- Written assignments (150-200 words) required.
- Facilitator-moderated chat sessions with participants in course.
Participants need to have a copy of Two Ways of Praying (Paul. F. Bradshaw; OSL Publications, 2008) to use during the course. All other readings will be available online in the course space.
- View or read the lecture for each unit.
- 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.
3 to 5 hours per week, depending on your learning style and schedule.
A certificate of completion awarding 30 contact hours will be sent upon completion of all course requirements.