About the Liturgy Office

What We Do

Work of the People is the official online resource of the Liturgy Office for the Diocese of San Jose in northern California. Our mission is to be a free, timely, high-quality, easily-accessible resource for parish ministers who prepare the liturgy. Our vision is that liturgy, primarily the Eucharist, is the foundation and goal for all aspects of parish life–not only its worship and prayer life, but also its catechetical, communal, and apostolic life. So you’ll find resources here that help you prepare good liturgy and show how good liturgy not only praises God and sanctifies the people, but also catechizes, evangelizes, and changes the world.

Why “work of the people”?

“Work of the People” is a phrase that has often been used to define the word “liturgy” which comes from a Greek word, leitourgia, itself made from the Greek words for “work” and “people.” In the Helenistic period, “liturgy” meant any kind of public work on behalf of others, a service done for the common good, whether political, religious, or practical. For example, serving in the army, caring for the poor, or picking up trash would have been a “public work” or leitourgia. Over the centuries, the word came to be associated only with the religious aspect of community life, and more specifically, only with the actions done by the priest. In the 20th century, first by Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Mediator Dei (MD), and later in the first document of Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC), the Church began to reclaim the broader meaning of “liturgy” as the work of Christ, head and members, priest and assembly (MD, no. 25; SC, no. 7) for the benefit of the community.

Julia Upton, RSM, says that “[a]n expectation was that retoring the word ‘liturgy,’ would also restore the concept that liturgy is not self-serving, but outwardly directed. When people go to public worship, they do it for the other people, to support them in faith” (“Liturgy,” The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia, ed. Michael Glazier and Monika K. Hellwig, The Liturgical Press, 1994, p. 517).

Sr. Upton goes on to say that “[t]his restored sense of liturgy as service for the sake of others gives each member a role” (p. 517). SC 14 says: “In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit.” It is the way we learn how to live as Christ in the world. For “in doing something together, people become something together” (Upton, p. 517). In celebrating the liturgy well and by being sent into the world “to love and serve the Lord,” we become Christ for the life of the world. The “work of the people,” ultimately then, is Christ’s work in the world through us, his Body, in praise of the Father by the action of the Holy Spirit.

Liturgy isn’t the work of just a few people. Everyone who celebrates the liturgy has a role to play. And the work we do together can change the world. We hope you fiind some help here to do your part of our work together.

Meet our new Director of Liturgy: Christopher Wemp

Christopher graduated from Santa Clara University with a Bachelor of Music and Political Science and a Master of Educational Leadership in 2015. He is currently completing his Master of Theological Studies at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara with an emphasis on liturgy.
Chris is currently the Director of Professional Development Programs in the Santa Clara University School of Education. In this capacity he designs and implements programs which support ongoing professional development for organizations, community programs and educational institutions. He facilitates and teaches sessions on organizational behavior, liturgical music best practices, program assessment and technology training. He supports and serves positive working relationships with SCU partners like our Diocese with the Academy of Church Leadership for priests and our Diocesan Department of Education with the Blended Learning Program. Since 2015, he serves as Director of Music for Sunday masses at St. Clare Parish. He is also fluent in Spanish and his Honors thesis was on The Role of Music in Social Awareness and Change in Peru and El Salvador.

Meet our Coordinator for Episcopal Liturgies: Hưng Phạm

Originally hailing from Orange County, CA , Hung graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in both Theology and European Studies while minoring in History and German.  After spending a year in Oakland with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, he went on to earn a Master of Divinity from the Jesuit School of theology in Berkeley, CA.  In addition to his work at the Chancery Office, He also serves as the Parish Liturgist at Sacred Heart Parish in Saratoga, CA and as one of the Episcopal Master of Ceremony for Bishop McGrath.  For the past 14 years, he has also served on the sacristy team at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.

In addition to his liturgy work, Hung has also done work for various ecumenical groups such as the Fund for Theological Education, National Council of Churches, and World Council of Churches.  In his free time he enjoys cycling, playing board games, and learning random facts about everything.