Societas Meet Up

Two weeks from today, Societas Liturgica’s biennial Congress will start here in Maynooth. The Congress will have the theme of Liturgy and Ecumenism.  Over four days over 200 liturgists and scholars of liturgy will gather to reflect on this vital theme (for more details on the theme see pages 8-12 of the Societas’ newsletter).

A number of PrayTell contributors will be present at the Congress.  So hopefully some of the fruits of the discussion will contribute to future blog posts.

One of the challenges of contributing and reading a blog like this, is that there is not a lot of in person interaction.  The comments can be lively, but most readers don’t comment. In case anybody who reads or contributes to PrayTell would like to get together to share impressions and suggestions, I propose that we meet up and talk during the Tuesday (August 8) afternoon coffee break.

In This Issue: Worship 97 (April 2023)

Summary of the April 2023 issue of Worship

Worship is a peer-reviewed, international ecumenical journal for the study of liturgy and liturgical renewal. Founded in 1926 by Virgil Michel, OSB, and the monks of Saint John’s Abbey, Worship is published quarterly in Collegeville, Minnesota. Subscribe to Worship here.

Orthodoxy’s Kryptonite:
False Neutrality and Complicity on Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
Nicholas Denysenko

Damaged Goods
Antonio (Tony) Alonso
A range of works in and beyond liturgical theology share a conviction that the Eucharist has the capacity to shape ethical living and inspire cultural resistance. To the extent such works acknowledge a lack of correspondence between their Eucharistic ideals and Christian witness in the world, it tends to serve as evidence of the corruption of the Eucharist by external cultural forces or a lack of conviction among its participants. In this essay, I use the work of three scholars from outside the field of liturgical theology—Lauren Winner, M. Cecilia Gaposchkin, and Katie Grimes—to argue for more sustained attentiveness among liturgical theologians to the ways that even the goods of the Eucharist can deform its participants and extend damage in the world in spite of those goods.

“From My Head to My Toes, I Felt Like a New Body Was Created”: Lessons from Contemporary Lutheran Catechumenates
Kent Burreson and Rhoda Schuler
The authors present their research findings on the adult catechumenal process at four Lutheran parishes throughout the U.S. The research, funded by the Lilly Foundation through a grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, suggests that incorporating theological images and practices from the early church catechumenate can foster a “missional habitus” in parishes for engagement with the post-modern world. Formation practices that encourage exploration of doubt as part of life experience, that involve the whole faith community in the formation process, and that use robust rituals to mark liminal moments in the process have the potential to reach post-modern generations. The research also suggests that one key to success is a flexible approach that contextualizes the catechumenal process to a particular culture and locale.

Jesus is Lifted Up: The Roots and Reform of the Adoration of the Cross on Good Friday in the Roman Rite
Michael Marchal
One of the most vivid parts of the Good Friday service in the Roman Rite is the Adoration of the Cross. Originating in Jerusalem, the rite spread because of the popularity of pilgrimages to the Holy City. Yet the rite has changed through the centuries. Originating in the veneration of a relic of the True Cross, it was soon adapted to become the veneration of any cross. In the mediaeval period, even though the rubrics always called for the use of a cross, a crucifix became the object venerated. The shifting currents of piety which led to this change affected not only the Holy Week liturgy but our sense of ecclesiology and of Eucharist. And so, we are challenged us to reconsider how we enact this core component of our celebration of Holy Week—especially because of the traditionalist influences of the last few decades.

Son of Man … Vindicated by Her Deeds
Isaac S. Villegas
Feminist sensibilities have led to the production of worship resources with gendered language that includes masculine and feminine imagery for God. This essay extends this trajectory of inclusion by arguing for the use of multiple gendered pronouns for Jesus Christ in our liturgical life in order to break free from the heteronormative confines of the male-female binary. My argument follows the lead of the genderqueer use of pronouns for Jesus in Matthew 11:19. I turn to the guidance of transgender insights to reorient our language—a reorientation which involves the empowerment of trans- people in worship leadership.

Sarah Kathleen Johnson reviews Lester Ruth and Lim Swee Hong, A History of Contemporary Praise & Worship: Understanding the Ideas that Reshaped the Protestant Church (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2021).

Thomas A. Krosnicki, SVD, reviews Jozef Lamberts, With One Spirit: The Roman Missal and Active Participation (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2020).

Gerald O’Collins, SJ, reviews Lively Oracles of God: Perspectives on the Bible and Liturgy, edited by Gordon Jeanes and Bridget Nichols (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2022).

Katrina J. Olson reviews Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson, Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2020).

Stephen S. Wilbricht, CSC, reviews Liturgy with a Difference: Beyond Inclusion in the Christian Assembly, edited by Stephen Burns and Bryan Cones (London: SCM Press, 2019).

Julia Upton, RSM, reviews Mary E. McGann, The Meal That Reconnects: Eucharistic Eating and the Global Food Crisis (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2020).

Andrew Wymer reviews Adam Hearlson, The Holy No: Worship as a Subversive Act (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018).

In This Issue: Worship 97 (January 2023)

Summary of the January 2023 issue of Worship

Worship is a peer-reviewed, international ecumenical journal for the study of liturgy and liturgical renewal. Founded in 1926 by Virgil Michel, OSB, and the monks of Saint John’s Abbey, Worship is published quarterly in Collegeville, Minnesota. Subscribe to Worship here.

A Different Checklist
Genevieve Glen, OSB

The Seven Hebrew Words for Praise: Pentecostal Interpretation of Scripture in Liturgical Theology
Jonathan Ottaway
The Seven Hebrew Words for Praise (SHWP) is a Pentecostal liturgical theology that seeks to define the scope of effective, correct, and God-pleasing worship for the church. The approach of this theology is to explore the Hebrew words underlying the English use of the word ‘praise’ in Scripture. By uncovering these hidden terms, its proponents argue that they are uncovering a fuller understanding of Christian praise which should form the normative liturgical practice of the church. The aim of the paper is to situate this liturgical theology in its wider theological and hermeneutical context. The SHWP paradigm is more than a simple biblicist theology for Pentecostal worship. Instead, it is a complex and historically-contextual theology formed out of a matrix of theological influences. The paper will first detail the historical development of the SHWP, situating it in a wider development of Pentecostal praise theologies in the latter 20th century and describing its dissemination and replication among many Praise and Worship practitioners in Pentecostal and evangelical traditions. The reproduction of the SHWP points to a wider hermeneutical agreement that exists between Praise and Worship practitioners. Hence, in the following section, the paper uncovers the broader hermeneutical tradition that the SHWP stems from rooted in traditional Pentecostal and Fundamentalist interpretive approaches to scripture. I will show the particular reliance of the SHWP on the early Pentecostal methodology of the Bible Reading Method.

Re-imagining Gender Justice: Remnants from the Roman Missal
Gerard Moore
The Roman Missal has been a locus of exclusion for women, particularly around the gender of ministers, or at very least a site of indifference to their participation. The attempt here is to recover within prayers and rites the remnants of women’s experience and contribution. As well, it uncovers theological readings of the liturgical texts that support the exclusion of women—traces within the areas of prayers, genres, authorship, piety and performance.  With this, the intention is not to make a claims about balance: the Roman Missal is overwhelmingly the product of male clerics, and its features reflect this. Rather, the hidden presence of a different experiential basis signals a possible reimagination of the ritual book itself. The missal has within it the seeds of something other! This recognition is a first step towards a missal that allows for diversity, inclusion beyond the female/male binary, and cultural consciousness.

The Embolism: Its Origins and Development
Radek Tichy
The article deals with the origins, historical development, and meaning of the embolism in the Rites of Communion in the Roman order of Mass. Using the method of la liturgie comparée, the author traces the historical development from the original oration of fractio panis, into prayer before communion, and finally into embolism. This final transformation involved inserting the Lord’s Prayer into the rites before communion.

Loving and Reforming a Holy Yet Broken Church
Richard Gaillardetz
This essay has its origins in a “last lecture” the author delivered at an academic conference hosted by Boston College in September, 2022 to acknowledge his contributions to ecclesiology. The lecture is framed autobiographically and identifies three challenges which must be addressed if church reform is to be effective. First, reformist agendas must take seriously the institutional dimension of the church and draw on social scientific analysis of ecclesial structures. Second, successful reform must seek a reflective equilibrium between honoring the contributions of tradition and prophetic critique. Third, effective ecclesial reform must attend fully to the contributions of the sensus fidelium.

Bruce T. Morrill, SJ, reviews Michael Leyden, Faithful Living: discipleship, creed & ethics (London: SCM Press, 2019).

Maxwell E. Johnson reviews Ramez Mikhail, The Presentation of the Lamb: The Prothesis and the Preparatory Rites of the Coptic Liturgy, Studies in Eastern Christian Liturgy 2 (Münster: Aschendorff Verlag, 2020).

Kimberly Hope Belcher reviews The Oxford Handbook of Ecumenical Studies, edited by Geoffrey Wainwright and Paul McPartlan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021).

John F. Baldovin, SJ, reviews Andrea Grillo, Eucaristia: Azione Rituale, Forma Storica, Essenza SistematicaNuovo Corso di Teologia Sistematica 8 (Brescia: Queriniana, 2019.)

David Batchelder reviews Bryan D. Spinks, Scottish Presbyterian Worship: Proposals for Organic Change, 1843 to the Present Day (Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 2020).

Brian Dunkle, SJ, reviews Johannes Zachhuber, The Rise of Christian Theology and the End of Ancient Metaphysics: Patristic Philosophy from the Cappadocian Fathers to John of Damascus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020).

In This Issue: Ex Fonte 1 (2022)

Ex Fonte: Journal of Ecumenical Studies in Liturgy

As a new journal for liturgical studies, Ex Fonte is an international and ecumenically oriented platform for a dialogue between liturgical history and liturgical theology. The multifaceted historical dimensions of Christian worship enrich a present-day liturgical-theological discussion. In this way, the journal accentuates and affirms the contribution of liturgical studies to a renewal of ecumenical efforts. For more information, or to read the latest, visit

Welcome to Ex Fonte!
Florian Wegscheider, Elias Haslwanter

“All you have created rightly gives you praise”:
Re-thinking Liturgical Studies, Re-rooting Worship in Creation

Teresa Berger
This essay challenges interpretations of Christian worship that have constricted the understanding of who worships in starkly anthropocentric ways. In conversation with some hitherto largely ignored early Christian ritual texts, the essay seeks to return liturgical studies to an earlier, arguably more foundational and primordial interpretation of worship, one that re-roots worship in principio, i.e., in God’s primordial activity in creation. Recovering this understanding of worship is driven by contemporary realities, namely life (and worship) on a planet now clearly in peril, a peril that is anthropogenic no less.

From Mosul to Turfan:
The ḥūḏrā in the Liturgy of the Assyrian Church of the East

A Survey of its Historical Development
and its Liturgical Anomalies at Turfan

Catholicos-Patriarch Mar Awa Royel III
The “Upper Monastery” at Mosul was an important centre of liturgical development and reform of the Assyrian Church of the East. There, the liturgical book called ḥūḏrā received its form as it is presently known. After a discussion of the genesis of the ḥūḏrā in general, this paper examines fragments found in Turfan, China, which provide valuable insights into the spiritual and liturgical richness that shaped the Rite of the Assyrian Church of East. These fragments are particularly noteworthy in light of Anton Baumstark’s assumption that mission stations far from the place of origin (such as Turfan) tend to preserve older customs. Therefore, an exploration of these fragments will allow for a fuller understanding and appreciation of this rite and its development.

Der liturgische Vorsteherdienst im monastischen Kontext:
Gleichzeitig ein Beitrag zum Verständnis des Abtsamtes
Stefan Geiger
The monastic liturgy of the Regula Benedicti was realized within two poles: the Divine Office and the Eucharist. The former grows out of the community itself and is constitutive of it, while the Eucharist is externally related to it. The understanding of the role of the abbot is not sacramental, but charismatic. The role of the abbot finds its value in a horizontal hierarchy, as first among equals. The liturgical-sacramental substratum realised in the Divine Office is that of baptism, which aims at the unity of liturgy and life in the sense of a “liturgical” lex vivendi or form of life in and from the liturgy.

Theology and Liturgy as Life in Community and Shared Spirituality
Ioan Sauca
Theology and Liturgy are two important dimensions of the Christian faith. Since faith can only be thought of in a holistic way, both Theology and Liturgy must have a place in the lives of the faithful. Theology as a reflection on faith is not a science that uses only methods of empirical sciences, but is first and foremost the experience of communication with God. The fundamental form of communication with God, however, is Liturgy. Therefore, Theology as well as Liturgy must always be practised in community as “church”. The Ecumenical Institute at Bossey aims at such a holistic approach of Theology, Liturgy and life in communion. This per-spective has implications for the upcoming 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Karlsruhe, Germany.

The Barcelona Papyrus and the Opening Dialogue of the Christian Anaphora: Resituating Egyptian Scribal Practices Amid Scholarly Anaphoral Re-constructions
Arsany Paul
Inscribed within the liturgical portions of the manuscript commonly known as the “Barcelona Papyrus” (MS P.Monts.Roca Inv. 128–178, 292, and 338) are various acclamations consisting of Εἷς Θεός, among others. Previous scholars studying these phrases have argued that they represent a part of the liturgical formulary, generally replacing the staple opening of the anaphoral dialogue of the celebrant’s “The Lord be with you”, and the congregational response, “And with your spirit”. In this paper, I demonstrate, through a detailed paleographical analysis of the phrase Εἷς Θεός with its various appendages in the liturgical portions of the said manuscript, and in comparison to other literary and material, visual cultural sources within Egyptian Christian customs, that these invocations are scribal practices rather than part of the pronounced prayers and thus are “marginalia” that function externally to the liturgical formulary.

Warum Kartäuserinnen Stola tragen:
Zur Übergabe der Stola an Kartäusernonnen bei der Jungfrauenweihe nach der Pratique de la bénédiction et consécration des Vierges von 1699 und dem Rituel Cartusien de Consécration des Vierges von 1986
Daniel Tibi
Nuns of the Carthusian Order receive a stole at their consecration as virgins. Initially, this rite was practiced only in individual houses, but in 1699 it was extended to the entire Order, and this remains the case even today. Since the liturgical reform following the Second Vatican Council, Carthusian nuns even wear the stole at certain liturgical functions. This article presents the rite of reception of the stole at the consecration of virgins according to the Pratique de la bénédiction et consécration des Vierges of 1699, which was used in the Carthusian Order until the liturgical reform, as well as the Rituel Cartusien de Consécration des Vierges of 1986, which is used today. It attempts to interpret the rite in light of the way of life of the Carthusian nuns, and to propose a model of diaconal service for women.

A Tradition of Invention:
Rites and rituals surrounding the death and funeral of Queen Elizabeth II
Daniel Lloyd
Queen Elizabeth II died on 8 September 2022. Her death, after a reign of over 70 years, set in motion a series of events, political and constitutional, religious and ceremonial, which both conformed to a long-established pattern while also introducing new elements. The death of the monarch, the proclamation of the successor, and the mourning and funeral rites are, as they always have been, vehicles for more than the bare protocol itself contains. Choices are made, even – and perhaps especially – when the desired impression is one of continuity; the very presentation of these events requires decisions to be taken and plans to be made which project a certain aura, and attempt to direct the ways in which they are received. This article places those rites in their liturgical and historical context, and asks what meaning can be discerned in the liturgical and other choices made.

Propettive ecumeniche nella Sacrosanctum Concilium
Pietro Ventura
The present contribution provides some reflections on the path marked out by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council towards the visible unity of the Church of Christ, starting from the main outlines indicated in the very first document that was promulgated: Sacrosanctum Concilium. The intimate connection between Liturgy and Ecumenism is evident from the very beginning of this document: “to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call all mankind into the Church’s fold. Accordingly, it [the Council] sees particularly cogent reasons for undertaking the reform and promotion of the liturgy” (SC 1). For this reason, the article sets out the principles out-lined in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy that could favor this reform and argues that it is necessary to maintain a lively dialogue with those principles, so that the Liturgy can manifest itself as a place of encounter, culmen et fons (SC 10), for all Christian Churches.

New Open-Access, Ecumenical Journal Powered by the University of Vienna

Ex Fonte: Journal of Ecumenical Studies in Liturgy promises international scholarship across liturgical disciplines and traditions.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA: In June of 2022, the University of Vienna announced the launch of a new, open-access, continuously published, peer-reviewed journal: Ex Fonte: Journal of Ecumenical Studies in Liturgy. Executive Editorial Board members Florian Wegscheider and Elias Haslwante write,

We see Ex Fonte as an open and internationally oriented platform for scholarly discourse in Liturgical Studies, which may bring new inspiration to ecumenical dialogue. Ex Fonte contributes to bringing worldwide liturgical scholarship closer together and to inspiring mutual enrichment. We see this as a contribution and commitment to ecumenism. We hope that through Ex Fonte and the contributions published therein, ecumenism will also benefit from new impulses from a liturgical perspective to strengthen and foster the dialogue between Eastern and Western traditions, and can be expanded to include interreligious contributions as well, for example from Judaism and Islam. Even if not every single contribution needs to address explicitly ecumenical Liturgical Theology, the authors from different denominations and their submitted contributions commit themselves to a basic ecumenical approach.

In a nod to the increasing need for timely publication and the evolving nature of academic publishing, Ex Fonte does not publish on a fixed schedule. “Articles are reviewed, edited, and published as soon as possible after submission. This makes it possible to discuss and react to current and topical issues or challenges in a quick and uncomplicated manner,” Wegscheider and Haslwante write. “By publishing the articles in Open Access, research in Liturgical Studies will not only be permanently accessible 24/7 to everyone and everywhere, in a simple and straightforward way, but they also comply with the standards and requirements of contemporary academic scholarship. The excellent quality of the published articles is ensured by a double-blind peer-review process.”

This type of publishing heralds good news both for established and up-and-coming scholars seeking to engage their work on a global stage and in a timely manner. Pray Tell will publish new Ex Fonte abstracts regularly in our recurring In This Issue feature. Early articles examine ecumenical perspectives of Vatican II (Pietro Ventura), the ḥūḏrā in the Liturgy of the Assyrian Church of the East (Mar Awa III), and the stole practices of Carthusian nuns (Daniel Tibi), to name a few. The journal’s timely publication schedule has even allowed for an analysis of the rites and rituals surrounding the death of the late Queen Elizabeth II (Daniel Lloyd).

The editors invite submissions at any time; guidelines are available here. The journal has published thus far in German, English, and Italian; submissions in French are also welcome. Visit for full details and to read the latest.