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What, Then, Is Liturgy?

Musings and Memoir
Anscar Chupungco, OSB; Foreword by Mark R. Francis, CSV, and Keith F. Pecklers

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ISBN: 9780814662397, 6239
Details: 272 pgs, 6 x 9 x 1/2
Publication Date: 08/01/2010

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Father Anscar Chupungco fondly recalls his first class as a student at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute in 1965. Professor Salvatore Marsili’ famed theologian, liturgist, and cofounder of the institute’ entered the lecture hall, and after a prolonged and awkward silence finally asked, "And so, what is liturgy?"

This seemingly simple question underlies Chupungco's untiring love for liturgy and his lifetime of searching for answers. His is a passion deeply rooted in tradition, which is evident in this volume. Relying on Scripture, patristic writers, and conciliar and postconciliar documents’and with great skill, prudence, and the fundamental virtue of obedience ’he carefully examines current liturgical trends that are the subject of fierce debate. At a time when we focus so intently on the debate itself, Chupungco cautions us to remember: "At the end of the day what matters are not personal opinions but what truly contributes to making the prayer of the Church an encounter with the person of Christ." It is this most sacred encounter that is at the heart of What, Then, Is Liturgy? And it is this encounter that will lead us day by day to the ultimate heavenly liturgy, our eternal and perfect offering of praise to God.

Anscar Chupungco is a Benedictine of the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat in Manila. He is former president of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute in Rome, where he taught history of the liturgy and liturgical inculturation. Chupungco was Executive Secretary of the Philippine Episcopal Commission on Liturgy for eighteen years and is currently Secretary of the Asian Liturgy Forum. He has served as consultor to both the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, was a member of the Advisory Committee of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) for ten years, and for some time served as Chair of ICEL's Translations and Revisions Subcommittee. Chupungco edited the five-volume Handbook for Liturgical Studies and is author of Liturgical Inculturation (both published by Liturgical Press), Cultural Adaptation of the Liturgy, and Liturgies of the Future.

The genuine voice of Anscar Chupungco sounds in these pages-with the characteristic notes of deep fidelity to Catholic tradition, utter clarity, gracious wisdom, Benedictine humility, and gentle hints of humor. That voice is a treasure. Chupungco articulates a vital memory of the very heart of the liturgical movement and many of its formative leaders, and one slowly comes to see that he himself has been one such leader. He speaks a clear and authoritative criticism of the recently too frequent cases of liturgical reaction on the part of some Roman Catholic leaders, yet he loses neither hope nor dignity in the process. Reading this book, you will discover again the basic principles of Catholic liturgical reform and its ecumenical resonances. You will also be encouraged to sentire esse ecclesiam, to recover the empowered sense of being the church.
Gordon W. Lathrop, Yale University

Benedictine Father Anscar Chupungco writes about the liturgy with the authority of a world-renowned scholar and the familiarity of a dear old friend. He treats both worship and Christian faith with an admirable and attractive sense of wonder. No one who cherishes the liturgical reform of the past fifty years can afford to overlook this delightful book. It's an inspiring read.
John F. Baldovin, SJ
Professor of Historical & Liturgical Theology
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

This is not your usual historical book on liturgy. It is, however, a chance for the reader to sit at the foot of a master teacher and liturgist, one who has taught well, lived the spirit of the gospel, and has dedicated his life to ensuring that history and pastoral practice enliven the faith and give us a glimpse of the heavenly liturgy.
Emmanuel

Anyone in a responsible ministerial role in the coming year would benefit greatly by studying these pages carefully.
Pastoral Music

What, Then, is Liturgy? Musings and Memoir has left me with a greater understanding and appreciation of the way we as Catholics celebrate our faith. It is also a timely work which should be read by all concerned with and involved in the current liturgical changes.
Suzanne Sykes, M.A., Seat of Wisdom

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