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Who We Are/What We Do

The Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University is one of four such liturgical institutes in the United States, three sponsored by major universities: the Notre Dame Center for Pastoral Liturgy, the Georgetown Center for Liturgy, and the Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University. The fourth Center is the Institute for Liturgical Ministry, Dayton OH.

The Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University came into existence in Fall of 1993. It was founded by Fr. John Foley, S. J., at the invitation of Fr. Lawrence Biondi, president of the University.

Motivation for this our work is founded in the following statement of Vatican Council II:

Liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the fountain from which all her power flows (from the Catholic Church’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy).

These words form a mandate for the Church, one that is at once obvious and at the same time unrealized. Catholics would never argue that the Mass is unimportant to them, in fact they would insist the opposite. Yet would they claim as their own the importance that Vatican II gives to liturgy? The Center for Liturgy takes as its mission the realization of the Vatican II vision.

Activities of the Center

1. Creation and maintenance of the weekly Center for Liturgy Sunday Web Site: available, free of charge, at Prepares all members of the liturgical assembly for Sunday Mass by supplying the coming Sunday’s readings, prayers for contemplation on these readings, aspects of spirituality found in them, background information on them and the Sunday, and finally, musical pieces being played by selected parishes in North America and England. For more about the site, see The Sunday Web Site.

2. Sponsorship of Liturgical Composers Forum: For the first time in history, published American Liturgical composers are called together annually to meet, discuss and learn about the craft and form bonds each other as colleagues. The Center originated these meetings and continues to sponsor them yearly.

3. Partnership in the VOICES Project: Saint Louis University has named the Center for Liturgy as an important partner in VOICES (VOcation: Interiority, Community, and Engaged Service). This program pays eight student apprentices as they receive training in liturgy from the Center and from parishes. VOICES is a University-wide program, funded by the Lilly Foundation, helping students to think about their lives and choices in terms of vocation or personal calling.

4. Eleven Published Studies and One Book from members of the Center for Liturgyduring the last seven years. More than 130 talks, seminars, workshops and major presentations throughout the country by members of the Center faculty have given over the past seven and a half years. Also they have worked for and with St. Louis Liturgists, parishes and with the Archdiocese, and have sponsored city-wide liturgies

5. Young Adult Ministry Program: Based on the perception that young adults are now less interested and engaged in the Catholic Church and its Sunday Mass, the Center for Liturgy undertook a two-part program: to survey parishes and their active members as to young adult activities, and to devise a seminar and manual to teach the meaning of Sunday Mass from five different perspectives. Sponsorship by the Rascob Foundation.

6. The National Initiative for Young Adults: The Center’s Associate Director took an important role in a five-year project sponsored by the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association (NCYAMA) and Catholic Campus Ministry Association (CCMA). Nine volumes resulted from this work, the last three of which contain liturgical ideas for every Sunday and feast in the three-year Catholic cycle of readings.

7. Seminars, retreats, practicum courses for students. Fr. Foley teaches in the Department of Theological Studies under the title of Distinguished Liturgical Theologian.

8. Premieres of Collections or Major Liturgical Works by Fr. Foley, together with numerous repeated performances through the country; and of course liturgical use of his liturgical hymns from the last twenty-five years.

9. Major Liturgical Music Compositions and Publications by Fr. Foley under sponsorship of the Center and Saint Louis University: up to ten major music collections written, recorded and published during the past seven years.

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Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University
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