TRS 100 – Reflection Paper 1 (3-5 pages)
Your assignment is to observe and analyze a Catholic worship service of some kind. This could involve attending a Catholic mass, but could also involve attending some other form of Catholic worship, including Eucharistic Adoration, a rosary group, etc. Ordinarily the expectation is that you will attend a service in person – if for any reason you are uncomfortable doing so, please contact me as soon as you can so that we can discuss the situation and potentially work out an alternative way of fulfilling the assignment. You are particularly encouraged to look into forms of Catholic worship you are not yet familiar with. For example, if you have grown up attending a typical Catholic parish, consider attending an Eastern Rite parish or a traditional Latin mass, etc. The website www.masstimes.org is one helpful resource for finding places to attend.
After you have attended, make careful notes about what you saw (note: do not do this during the service; it could be considered disrespectful). The paper you produce on the basis of your observations will include two parts, and should be roughly evenly divided between the two. First, you should describe in detail what you experienced. What did you see, what did you hear, what was said, what were people doing, what did the building and artwork look like, etc.? Be as precise as you can. Second, you should explain as best you can the theological significance of what you saw by connecting your observations to the themes of our class. To take one example (which you may use, but should not be your only example), almost all Catholic services involve readings from the Bible, which reflects Catholic beliefs about divine revelation.
1) Be sure to conduct yourself in an appropriate manner at all times. This includes appropriate attire (“business casual” is a good guideline) as well as behavior. You are not only representing yourself, but also Marymount University with your conduct. Regardless of personal convictions, it is important to show respect to the religious beliefs of others while in their house of worship.
2) The Catholic Church only permits practicing Catholics to receive Holy Communion. If you are not a practicing Catholic and you choose to attend a mass or divine liturgy for this assignment, you may remain in your seat during Communion. Unless you are at an Eastern Rite parish, you are also welcome to come forward during Communion and cross your arms over your chest. This will indicate to the priest that you are only presenting yourself for a blessing, and not for Communion.
3) In past semesters, students have occasionally attended a Protestant service by mistake. As the point of this class and this assignment is to study Catholic theology, it is essential to the proper completion of the paper to attend a Catholic service. If you are in any doubt as to whether the service you are planning to attend or have attended qualifies, please contact me and I will be happy to clear the matter up.
Length: 3-5 pages, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font