New Director of Archdiocesan Worship Office Hopes to Help People Understand “Liturgy Is Not Just Mass” – Catholic Standard

Timothy Johnston, former editor and training consultant at Liturgy Training Publications (LTP) of the Archdiocese of Chicago, has been appointed the new director of the office of worship for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.

He took office on November 8 and describes his new job as “primarily advising the chief liturgist of the Archdiocese who, of course, is Cardinal (Wilton) Gregory”. The Office of Worship is responsible for coordinating the archdiocesan liturgies presided over by Cardinal Gregory and offering training, workshops and catechesis for liturgical formation.

“My job also involves a lot of ceremonial and ritual preparation,” said Johnston. “But, we are also a source of resources for those who have a question about the celebration of a particular rite or who have a general liturgical question.”

A native of Missouri, Johnston was a former novice at St. Norbert Abbey in Wisconsin. He received an MA in Liturgical Studies from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and an MA in Christian Doctrine from Marquette University in Milwaukee. Prior to working with LTP, he was director of the office of worship for the Diocese of Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Diocese of Saint Cloud, Minnesota. He also served in many parishes as director of liturgy and music.

He is the author of the book “Pocket Prayers for Times of Trouble” and co-author of several other liturgical books. At the moment he is working on composing music for antiphons and hymns that can be sung during infant baptisms. “It’s part of the rite that most people don’t use or even know it exists,” he said.

“I have been in love with the liturgy since the first year. I sang in the choir and have always been impressed with what was going on in the shrine, ”he said. “It was the place where I felt most loved by God and the place where I felt most at home, and it continued. I am blessed to be in this ministry.

In his new post, Johnston said he hoped to help people understand that “the liturgy is not just Mass, but more than that.”

“I want to help the congregation finally understand that what we do Sunday after Sunday is the culmination of our life in Christ,” he said. Mass “is the place where we meet the living God, where heaven and earth meet. How can people not be excited about this? “

One aspect of his new work that Johnston looks forward to is providing liturgical training to anyone involved in the liturgy – including readers, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, choir members, and even those involved in the liturgy. ministry of hospitality. “The training is for everyone, not just for the experts, because the training is also catechetical,” he said.

“We can provide ongoing insight into what the liturgy really is and how we can continue to grow spiritually and in the practice of this ministry,” he said. “By helping people unravel the mystery they are celebrating – and reflecting on that mystery – it deepens their relationship with God through the power of the Holy Spirit. It can radically transform the way they live their daily lives when they think, “How was I challenged? How was I trained? How was I loved? at Mass.

He would also like to help the faithful realize that “our fault in the Catholic Church is to come together just for Mass, but we forget that there are many other ways to come together to pray. There are other sacramental rites – inside or outside the Mass – which are also liturgical. “

Newly transferred to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, Johnston resides in Silver Spring, Maryland. His hobbies include playing the piano and singing, reading historical novels, hiking, visiting museums, and watching movies and the theater. He has a particular devotion to Saint-Norbert and Saint-Augustin, whom he calls “my favorite guys”.

Johnston said he was a member of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Silver Spring, “but I think I’ll travel a bit to get a feel for the Archdiocese. We have a very diverse community here.

“I want to get a feel for the flavor of the local community,” he said. “I want to get an idea of ​​who these various communities are and what gifts they bring and offer to the Church. It is difficult to serve communities that you do not know.

He said he envisioned his office of worship as “a source of liturgical knowledge, and if we don’t know the answer, we will find it.” But right now I’m taking the time to feel things, see what’s needed, and figure out how I can best help people in their spiritual lives.

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