A focus of the whole Church since the Second Vatican Council has been to help the faithful foster a more “active participation” in the liturgy. It’s not something achieved overnight, and our prayer and understanding can work together to grow in our liturgical life, making it a more spiritually fruitful experience by understanding it better and seeing it as a prolonged prayer. Celebrating the Christian Mystery is a course meant to help you understand the liturgy and the sacraments and live them better.
We celebrate the Christian and Paschal Mystery in the liturgical celebration of each sacrament, especially the Eucharist. That mystery is the mystery of God and his redeeming actions, in our lives and throughout salvation of history. Just as God is infinite, so is his mystery, but that doesn’t mean we cannot penetrate that mystery more deeply with his help, knowing him more profoundly and welcoming him to act more profoundly in our lives.
This course explains some basic liturgical and sacramental concepts, including what is the Christian and Paschal Mystery, what is the liturgy, what are the sacraments, and how are they interrelated. It also explains the historical development of the liturgy, the liturgical rites and families that arose as a result, and liturgical seasons, places, and objects. Finally, it explains each of the seven sacraments.
Hopefully this course will help you enter more profoundly into liturgical life.
Fr. Nikola Derpich, L.C., S.Th.D., was born in California to a Croatian-American family and received a BA with a double major in Computer and Information Sciences and Literature with an Emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1989. He worked in the computer industry for seven and half years as a technical support engineer and a technical writer. He entered the Legionaries of Christ in 1997, making his first vows in 1999, and received B.A.’s in Philosophy and Theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in 2001 and 2006, respectively. He was ordained a Catholic priest on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in 2006, and continued his studies, receiving an S.T.L. in Theology in 2008 and a S.Th.D. in dogmatic theology in 2015. Since ordination he has worked in Regina Apostolorum as U.S. Enrollment Coordinator of the School of Bioethics, as theology instructor in Our Lady of Thornwood (Thornwood, N.Y.), Mater Ecclesiae College (Greenville, R.I.) during which he was also chaplain for Overbrook Academy, and Regina Apostolorum. As a Legionary he was a contributor to Sacerdos magazine from 2000-2006, writing the column Priests of the Twentieth Century. From 2017-2020 he was Associate Pastor at St. Brendan the Navigator Catholic Church in Cumming, GA and from 2012-2021 taught theology as a professor at Regina Apostolorum. He wrote the liturgy blog Finding the Plug for RCSpirituality from 2015-2018, the book Maximizing the Mass in 2020, and is now the manager and contributor for the RCSpirituality Online Classroom.