Colloquium I: Rome 2008

Second aim:

International, Ecumenical Colloquia

Inaugural Colloquium

Sant’Anselmo, Rome

31 May 2008

The first session of an international ecumenical colloquium was held on the theme, “Appreciating the Collect: An Irenic Methodology”, on Saturday 31 May 2008, at Sant’Anselmo, seat of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy.

Five papers were given. The first paper, given by Msgr Renato de Zan, a priest of the diocese of Pordenone, Italy was a revision of his own article, now the standard methodology used in interpreting liturgical texts. Msgr de Zan is the professor of liturgical hermeneutics at the Institute, and also teaches in Padua and Pordenone, Italy. He is a liturgical consultant for the Italian Bishops’ Conference. His revised article was translated by Dom James G. Leachman with Dom Ephrem Carr, and read in excerpt.

The second paper was given by James G. Leachman OSB, monk of Ealing Abbey, London, England, and professor both of liturgy and ecumenism and of liturgical spirituality at the Institute. His paper was entitled, “The Easter Vigil Collect”. Dom James is assistant editor of Ecclesia orans editor of the forthcoming volume The Liturgical Subject. Subject,Subjectivity and the Human Person in Contemporary Liturgical Discussion and Critique (SCM-Canterbury Press, London 2008).

An Anglican contributor to the conference Dr. Bridget Nichols, originally from South Africa, now the Lay Chaplain to Bishop of Ely, England, gave the third paper entitled “An Anglican Experiment in Appreciating the Liturgy: The Easter Day Collect (First Holy Communion) in the First Prayer Book of Edward VI”. Her paper analyzed the Easter Sunday Collect in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549 and developed the historical context of the prayer and its source in the Sarum Missal.

Over lunch the participants were warmly welcomed by the Preside of the Institute, Juan Javier Flores Arcas OSB, monk of the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos, Burgos, Spain.

A fourth paper was presented by Rev. Anthony Igbekele, priest of the diocese of Ondo, Nigeria. His paper was entitled, “The Opening Prayer for Epiphany: A Grammatical and Literary Analysis”. Rev Igbekele recently completed a Doctorate of Sacred Liturgy at the Institute. His doctoral thesis is entitled: “Eucharist as oblatio and sacrificium in the Latin Fathers”. Rev Igbekele presented the only philological study of the vocabulary of a collect.

A fifth paper was presented by Daniel P. McCarthy OSB, monk of St. Benedict’s Abbey, Atchison, Kansas, USA. His paper was entitled “Between Memories and Hopes, Anamnesis and Eschatology in the Sunday Collects”. Dom Daniel is soon to defend at the Institute his doctoral dissertation entitled, “The Chair for the Ministry-Gift of Presiding in the Assembly and Directing the Prayer: Four Models and a Single Vision”.

Each of the five papers considered its respective collect or collects primarily in light of its literary structure, and then in light of the historical and cultural context of the origin of the collect. The respective collect’s biblical allusions were explored and interpretative keys were presented for understanding the collect.

At the end of the colloquium, Ephrem Carr OSB, monk of St Meinrad Archabbey, St Meinrad, Indiana, USA, offered a summary of the day’s presentations. Dom Ephrem is a professor of eastern liturgies in the Institute of Liturgy and at the Patristic Institute, the Augustinianum, Rome, and serves as editor of Ecclesia orans and as a consultor for the Liturgical Commission of the Vatican Congregation of Oriental Churches.

The day’s events were moderated by Patrick Regan OSB, who served for almost twenty years as the Abbot of St Joseph Abbey, St Benedict, Louisiana, USA, and currently teaches liturgy in the faculties of theology and of liturgy at Sant’Anselmo.

Also participating in the colloquium were: Reginald Foster OCD, who is in his fortieth year as Papal Latinist in the Secretariat of State, Vatican City; Cuthbert Brogan OSB, Abbot of St Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough, England; and Rev John Lampard, a Methodist minister from London, England.

This colloquium was the inaugural event of a new research project, Documenta Rerum Ecclesiasticarum Instaurata(DREI), arising from a new model of Liturgical renewal called Liturgiam Aestimare : Appreciating the Liturgy, which was first announced at the biennial meeting of Societas Liturgica, Palermo, in August 2007. The DREI project includes three colloquia, study days and a proposed new series of volumes also called, Liturgiam Aestimare : Appreciating the Liturgy.

The DREI project is in continuity with Leo Cunibert Mohlberg OSB, Leo Eisenhöfer OSB and Peter Siffrin OSB, of the former Institutum Liturgicum (1950-1967), Sant’Anselmo, Rome, who prepared for the liturgical renewal, which would be mandated by the Second Vatican Council, through their corpus of critical editions of ancient liturgical documents published in the corpus Rerum Ecclesiasticarum Documenta (RED). Since the publication of the RED corpus and the post-conciliar liturgical books, much scholarly attention has been dedicated to their translation and pastoral implementation. The time is now opportune to deepen the academic study and appreciation of the renewed liturgical books. Accordingly, the corpus Documenta Rerum Ecclesiasticarum Instaurata (DREI) offers a hermeneutical and literary-critical analysis of the liturgical documents renewed (Instaurata) at the behest of the Council for the Church’s further discerning the course of liturgical renewal.

The DREI project utilizes a new methodology for interpreting liturgical texts that combines a clear analysis of the Latin grammar, as taught by Rev Foster, with the literary-critical methodology taught by Msgr de Zan and used at the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy, Sant’Anselmo. A detailed and delicate study of the renewed liturgical texts will offer the resources for deeper and more irenic study by liturgical scholars.

Just as the RED corpus had ecumenical import in the modern liturgical renewal, so too the DREI corpus will provide the academic resources for fruitful ecumenical study. Just as the contributions from both Roman Catholic and Anglican perspectives during this inaugural colloquium ensure that this gift is offered to the broader church, so too contributions from Europe, North America, Australia and Africa to the larger DREI project witness to an international consensus in applying this methodology for Appreciating the Liturgy.

The Council of the Preside of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy, Sant’Anselmo, Rome, has lent its endorsement to theDREI project. The moderator of the DREI project is Dom Ephrem, and its directors are Dom James and Dom Daniel, who, together with Dom Patrick are the three editors of the first proposed series of books Liturgiam Aestimare : Appreciating the Liturgy.

The project DREI also involves twelve permanent members from Europe, North America and Australia who support the work, participate in the colloquia, as did Rev Lampard, and propose local study days on the three continents. The DREIproject seeks to associate three bishop patrons representative of the three continents, as well as endorsing sponsors and financial patrons.

The papers presented will be included with another six contributions that have been commissioned to complete the proposed volume Appreciating the Collect: An Irenic Methodology, to be published by St Michael’s Abbey Press, Farnborough, England. Other contributors to the volume include Dom Patrick, whose paper is entitled, “The Collect in Context” and presents the history of the Collect as a ritual unit. Rev Foster’s paper is the first ever presentation in print of his unique methodology of teaching the Latin language.

The contribution of Dr Gerard Moore, professor at the Sydney College of Divinity, Sydney, Australia, and permanent member of the DREI project, is  entitled, “The Vocabulary of the Collects: Retrieving a Biblical Heritage”. He presents both the various ways in which the collects are suffused by scripture and describes the pastoral situation from which certain collects arose, indicating their accessibility even in Latin antiquity by the general participant in the liturgical celebration.

The volume will include a second contribution by Dom James, “A History of Collect Studies”, in which he presents the historical stages and contributors of research that have made possible our renewed efforts in Appreciating the Liturgy. The volume will also include a second contribution by Dom Daniel entitled, “The Collect for Palm Sunday: A Study in Comparative Liturgy”, in which he traces the clausal structure of this prayer in its Latin origins and its translations as used by the liturgical churches of the West.

In this volume research libraries and seminaries will have an invaluable tool, and bishops will find the resources needed to fulfill their ministry of directing the future course of liturgical renewal.

The colloquium finds a timely confirmation in the recent article by Robert F. Taft SJ in America, a Jesuit weekly, in which he challenges the Roman Catholic Church “to understand, appreciate and market the riches of their own Latin tradition” (26 May 2008). By Appreciating the Liturgy we hope to gain a more detailed and delicate appreciation of the Church’s current liturgy.


Link to Colloquium II: Farnborough 2009

Link to Colloquium III: Milwaukee 2010

Link to Colloquium IV: Rome 2010

Link to Colloquium V: Ealing 2012

Link to Colloquia VI / VII: 2014 / 15


Image: Participants at the inaugural colloquium at Sant’Anselmo are from left to right:

John Lampard, Anthony Igbekele, Patrick Regan, + Cuthbert Brogan, James Leachman, Bridget Nichols, Daniel McCarthy, Ephrem Carr.

They stand below the mosaic of Joseph and Jesus in the cloister of Sant’Anselmo.