A Theology of the Liturgical Assembly

A theology of the liturgical assembly provides a theology for how the various orders in the church interrelate with one another. A theology of the assembly is not simply a theology of the laity since the liturgical assembly includes all those present at liturgy – bishop, presbyters, deacons, and lay faithful. In other words, the liturgical assembly is not simply those folks who sit in the nave of the church. It is not the people vis-à-vis the priest celebrant, but rather the entire people of God gathered by word and sacrament in liturgical prayer, inclusive of the ordained presider. Nevertheless, the assembly provides insight into the interrelationship between the laity and the ordained clergy. Since this liturgical assembly is the subject or agent of the liturgical action, the lay members of the assembly are not simply passive observers of liturgical actions performed by the ordained but active participants along with the presider.

Susan K. Wood, “Liturgical Ecclesiology”, in A Church with Open Doors: Catholic Ecclesiology for the Third Millennium, Richard R. Gaillardetz and Edward P. Hahnenberg, eds. (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2015): Loc 3381-3387.