Sacramentos y Liturgia

This course is available upon request by partner dioceses. Prior completion of the course "El Camino de la Fe" is recommended. For more information, contact Esther Terry.

Course Description

This course helps to assess, in the light of Sacred Scripture and Tradition of the Church, the understanding of the origin, theology and pastoral practice of the liturgy and the sacraments of the Catholic Church. There is a special emphasis on the Eucharist in order to enter more deeply into the mystery of God’s love and living an authentic Christian life.

Each session is made up of the following parts: an introductory personal reflection, required lectures, additional readings (optional), topic introduction, lecture and assigned homework questions as an incentive to continue expanding knowledge and growth in appreciation of the Sacraments of the Church. The participant will also have the opportunity to refine what he/she has learned through his/her culture, ministry and life experience.

Course Content

Unit 1
  • To help the participant evaluate his/her understanding of liturgy and sacrament, exploring their origins, evolution and their constituent elements
  • Understand the seven sacraments of the Church as sensible symbols and signs that transmit grace: Jesus as the sacrament of the Father, the Church as the sacrament of Christ, and each sacrament as a particular manifestation of the Church as sacrament
  • Explore the liturgical year as model of our spiritual life based on the celebration of the mystery of Christ
Unit 2
  • Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist; theology and central signs of each sacrament
  • Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA): History, rites, and stages of the process
  • Reflect on what has been learned according to the culture, ministry and life experience of the participant
Unit 3
  • Celebration of the Eucharist: origins and historic evolution
  • Focus of this sacrament in the life of the Church
  • Brief look at the liturgical reform of Vatican II
  • Celebration of the Eucharist: development of the mass ritual
Unit 4
  • Sacraments of Penance or Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick: Why sacraments of healing?
  • Names of the Sacrament of Penance: origin, evolution, minister, and effects
  • Anointing of the Sick: Origins, evolution, matter, minister, and effects
Unit 5
  • Sacraments at the service of the community: Orders and Matrimony; brief history and evolution of each sacrament
  • Theology, minister, symbols, ritual and effects of each of these sacraments
  • Pastoral implications

Required Texts

  • Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica (available online)
  • Catholic Bible
  • Brief texts and links to online materials will accompany each unit to round out the experience of course participants

Course Requirements

  • Weekly reading of assigned texts and materials
  • Participation in class discussions in the forums (minimum of two comments, questions or responses each week)
  • Written assignment (between 150 and 200 words)
  • Weekly chat session (minimum 4 chats)

Time Required

  • 4 to 6 hours per week (this varies from student to student depending on learning style and available study time) 

Course Certificate

  • A Certificate of Completion awarding 30 Contact Hours will be sent upon completion of all course requirements.

Meet the Developer

Dr. Fanny Cepeda Pedraza

Fanny Cepeda Pedraza

Fanny Pedraza been involved in religious education during the last 40 years of her life at parish, diocesan, and national levels. She has been part of the RCIA diocesan steering committee, instructor and later Director of the Formation Toward Christian Ministry Program offered by the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis of the diocese of Galveston-Houston. There she served as Associate Director for over a decade. As co-founder of the Institute of Catechetical Leadership, she presented and obtained the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approval of the program standards and procedures for the National Certification of Diocesan Religious Education Directors of her diocese.

Fanny was president of the National Organization of Catechesis with Hispanics and collaborated with the USCCB as author and editor of the Catechetical Sunday materials, and also as member of the National Committee of Catechesis and Cultures. She obtained her Licentiature in Languages from Universidad del Atlántico of Barranquilla, Colombia, S. A., her Master in Religious Education from the University of Saint Thomas, Houston, TX, and her Doctor in Hispanic Ministry from the Graduate Theological Foundation of South Bend, Indiana. She continues active in the area of faith formation as national consultant and author of catechetical materials, facilitator of online catechist formation courses in Spanish, as well as instructor of spiritual direction programs. Fanny facilitates retreats and is a frequent speaker during catechetical conventions in various dioceses of the United States. She has been married to Roberto for 46 years and they have three children and four grandchildren.

Course development made possible through a generous grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.