National Catholic Reporter
The Independent Newsweekly
Issue Date:  January 23, 2004

A passion for liturgy

Forty years after the Second Vatican Council issued a landmark document calling for liturgical renewal, the Catholic church needs “a second liturgical movement,” says Jesuit Fr. Lawrence Madden, director of the Georgetown Center for Liturgy. “The first phase was getting the rite straightened out. But now we see that we have to find out how to lead people to participate deeply so that they can be transformed -- so that’s the rub. You have to do the liturgy fairly well for this to happen.”

As part of an occasional series marking the 40th anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, in this special section on Ministries, NCR sought out parishes around the United States where good liturgy is found, and talked to the people, lay and ordained, who make it happen every week. As a parishioner of St. Philomena Church in Carson, Calif., says, “People are not aware of what it takes to bring together an excellent liturgy.” As we learn from these ministers, it takes communication, attention to detail, constant learning, teamwork, “beating the bushes” for talent, and, above all, a passion for liturgy.

If liturgical controversy has given way to apathy, as Madden says, that state of affairs belies liturgy’s central importance to the Catholic faith. As Madden says, it is “the heart of Christian life ... where the source of our spirituality is.”

-- Teresa Malcolm

National Catholic Reporter, January 23, 2004

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