Since 1976, NAAL has conferred the award annually on “a member of the Academy to honor distinguished contribution to the professional work of liturgy.” With the pandemic having forced NAAL to cancel its 2021 Annual Meeting, Max’s Berakah Award bears the unusual date of 2021-2022.
Here I offer a photo montage, with a bit of narrative, to complement Mark’s thorough, if not touching, description of the event honoring his former professor.
Maxwell Johnson, professor at the University of Notre Dame and a former president of the NAAL, is a prolific scholar of the origins and development of early Christian liturgy. But the award citation, composed by Melinda Quivik (herself a former NAAL president) with calligraphy by Judy Dodds (St. Paul, MN), bespeaks a fuller litany of qualities the Academy appreciates in him:
Stephanos Alexopoulos, professor of liturgy at the Catholic University of America, gave an introduction of the Berakah laureate worthy of his colleague and former professor’s erudition and wit.
On those and multiple other counts, Max did not disappoint in delivering his Berakah Response. Through autobiographical narrative he provided a practical-theological history of the scholarly and ecumenical, but always in service of the prayerful and pastoral, developments in liturgical studies over the past several decades.
The understandably smaller than usual number of NAAL members and visitors at this year’s Annual Meeting in Kansas City spread out at tables across the banquet hall. While COVID precautions prevented the planned entertainment by Max’s blues band, the Oblates of Blues, the pleasure and joy of all in attendance was undiminished.