40 years ago, the then dean of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy, Prof. Dr. Anscar J. Chupungco OSB (†2013), wrote in the introduction to the first issue of our journal[1]:

Ecclesia orans fulfills the Liturgical Institute’s long-felt desire to have its own review. Its experiences and resources built up over a period of twenty-two years now permit it to offer this particular contribution to the liturgical renewal envisaged by Vatican II. It is the earnest hope of the founders of Ecclesia orans that the Ecclesia orans find in this new review an instrument for the work of sanctifying men and women in Christ and glorifying God, to which all her other activities are directed as toward their end.

22 years after the foundation of the PIL and 6 after its elevation as an ecclesiastical Faculty in 1978, the Institute gave birth to its own journal, dedicated to the «literary (editing and study of texts), historical, theological, pastoral, and artistic aspects of the liturgy». Ecclesia orans was born as an international journal that publishes articles in French, English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and German and the authors were required to be professors from the PIL or other faculties of S. Anselmo, graduates as well as «writers who specialize in topics that are related to the liturgy»[2].

At the moment, the journal – equipped with an international scientific advisory board – follows the international standards of the double-blind peer review to which all contributions intended to be published are subjected; furthermore, it has been recognized as a class A journal by the National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes. Authors now come from all over the world, and with more than 320 copies distributed, the journal reaches an equally international readership and is available in many scientific libraries, as well as on the ATLA digital platform.

Since 2016, the journal has been accompanied by the series Ecclesia orans / Ricerche (now: Ecclesia orans / Studi e Ricerche), which publishes texts and manuals of liturgy and sacramental theology. The 40th anniversary of the journal also marks the inauguration of a new series of annual study days that will delve into current themes in liturgy. This year, the study day will take place on December 6th and, together with a group of doctoral students and professors from the PIL, it will address the often contentious issue of the prayer of the faithful in the Eucharistic celebration. These study days aim to foster scholarly dialogue on selected topics among faculty and doctoral students of the Institute and leading figures in the field of liturgical science at the international level.

Since its foundation, our journal goes alongside the other publications of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy of which prof. Chupungco could already enumerate the three series Rerum ecclesiasticarum documenta, Analecta liturgica and Anàmnesis in his presentation of the first volume. In the meantime, the number of the series has also grown, and we are thankful to the graduate assistants Valentina Angelucci and Paulo Renato Mendes Gauto, who in this issue provide an updated overview of the publications from our Institute.

The study section of this issue is open by the contribution of Valerio Ciarocchi (Messina) about the theological foundation of liturgical music with a special reference to J. Ratzinger’s contribution. Following is the study by Elias Haslwanter (Vienna) who, under the title Medicine of Immortality? adds observations from a catholic perspective to the discussion on liturgical issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eucharistic prayers for Masses with children were introduced experimentally for the first time in 1974. In 1980, Pope John Paul II allowed their continued use until further decisions were made, and upon the publication of the third edition typical emendata of the Roman Missal, the Congregation for Divine Worship decided to publish these texts not in Latin in the typical edition but outside of the Missal[3]. Currently, episcopal conferences around the world manage these prayers in various ways. In his contribution, Christopher O’Brien (Washington) offers an additional perspective on the context, text, and reception of these prayers, connected to a new assessment. Finally, M. Skeb (Rome) provides an Italian translation and an introduction to the Proems in Diodorus of Tarsus’s commentary on the Psalms, addressing the topic of liturgy and the hermeneutics of the Psalms.

In addition to the studies, three notes are included. Francesco Bonomo (Rome) presents “Fragments of a Medieval Homiliary”, Ondrej Talaš (Rome) deals with the chants in the Czech Missal, and Brian Spinks (Yale), in response to N. Chase («From Logos to Spirit Revisited: The Development of the Epiclesis in Syria and Egypt», EO 39 [2022] 29-63), offers Another View of the Anaphoral Epiclesis.

Until 2019, detailed indices were always included at the end of the second issue of each year. Since 2020, these indices have been published online annually at ecclesiaorans.com. This decision, made by the editorial board in 2019, significantly expedited the annual publication of the second issue, and it is planned to continue with this approach. Starting in 2025, and then every five years, a journal issue will be published containing the indices of the previous five years to facilitate their consultation.

The publication of the fortieth year of Ecclesia orans coincides with the 60th anniversary of the promulgation of the conciliar Constitution on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium. In the first number of the Constitution it reads[4]:

This sacred Council has several aims in view: it desires to impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful; to adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institutions which are subject to change; to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church. The Council therefore sees particularly cogent reasons for undertaking the reform and promotion of the liturgy.

The preamble connects the Constitution on the liturgy with the objectives of the Council, established by John XXIII and confirmed by Paul VI. Among these objectives there is the need to adapt ecclesiastical institutions, which are subject to change, to the needs of the present time[5]. In the liturgy, therefore, it was necessary to identify what is susceptible to change and what is immutable (SC 21). This distinction was fundamental to the liturgical reform. But even after the reform, history continues. The needs of today are now in many ways different from those of the 1960s. Just to give an example: the rite of concelebration, the first fruit of the liturgical reform that came into effect during the Council, on Holy Thursday in 1965, was received with great enthusiasm, but today it is once again subjected to criticism because it seems to favor a new clericalism in the celebration[6]. In this, as in many other cases, new reflections and continuous updates are needed, even from the field of liturgical science, which, by delving into the study of sources and systematizing historical data, has the task of embracing new challenges and pointing the way to find answers and solutions. The journal Ecclesia orans, even forty years after its foundation, is ready to be part of this discourse.

Editorial Board and Editorial Council

On May 11th of this year, the term of the journal’s editors was extended for another five years. With the meeting of the editorial board on October 23rd, the term of the board members expired. We would like to extend special thanks to the outgoing members, all professors at the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy: H. E. Aurelio García Macías, Pierangelo Muroni, and Olivier-Marie Sarr OSB. The last two have worked for the journal for the past 15 years, as editor, vice-editor, and as members of the editorial board. The renewed editorial board will convene next in the spring of 2024.

News from the Pontifical Litugical Institute and from S. Anselmo University

On October 2nd of this year, the solemn opening of the new academic year took place. After Vespers presided over by the Grand Chancellor, the Very Reverend Abbot Primate Gregory J. Polan OSB, the academic community gathered, for the second time already, in the cloister for the inaugural address by the Magnificent Rector, Professor Dr. Bernhard A. Eckerstorfer OSB, and for the presentation of diplomas of the 2022/23 academic year.

Already on January 26th, Professor Dr. Isabella Bruckner, holder of the three-year chair in Thought and Form of the Spiritual, inaugurated on November 29th, 2022, at S. Anselmo, received the “Karl Rahner 2022 award” at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Innsbruck for her doctoral dissertation titled “Gesten des Begehrens. Mystik und Gebet im Ausgang von Michel de Certeau”.

At the beginning of the year, the PIL Doctoral workshop meetings resumed. During the first meeting, doctoral candidates presented their various projects, followed by a presentation by Professor Dr. Karol Litawa (Krakow), who presented his faculty and the challenges of studying liturgy in Poland. The discussion then addressed the topic of “Councils, Synods, and Liturgy”, which will be the theme of the next international PIL Congress from May 8th to 10th, 2024. All information about the Congress and registration details can be found on the university’s website: bit.ly/Liturgia24.

The first lesson of the new course on Drawing, Painting, and Art Design for Worship took place on November 4th of this year.

On November 21st, Professors M. Barba and E. Massimi presented their book titled L’«Ordo Lectionum Missae» del Concilio Vaticano IIStoria della redazione attraverso studi e documenti inediti del «Coetus XI» (BEL.S 208), CLV, Roma 2023.

To commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the promulgation of the conciliar Constitution about liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, the PIL and the Office for liturgical formation and sacrament celebration of the diocese of Rome organized a reading of the conciliar text on December 4th at the Basilica of S. Anselmo.

On December 6th, the first study day of the Ecclesia orans journal on the Prayer of the Faithful (SC 53) is held in hall XI and online. There are contributions from graduate students and professors from our faculty, and Professor Dr. Liborius Lumma from the University of Innsbruck (Austria) has been invited as guest and expert. All information and the program can be found at the following link: bit.ly/SC_53.

Alongside these extraordinary events, it is essential to mention the daily academic teaching, which is the cornerstone of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy. At the beginning of the 2023/24 academic year, the PIL has a total of 374 enrolled students: 10 in the first cycle of the bachelor’s degree in liturgy, 29 in the preparatory year of the licentiate, 115 in the two-year licentiate program, 69 doctoral candidates, 57 in specialized courses and 94 in other courses. The faculty consists of 3 full professors (ordinarii), 3 associate professors (extraordinarii), 4 assistant professors (associati), and 5 lecturers. There are 6 emeritus professors and 6 honorary professors. Additionally, the visiting professors are 11, with 28 more invited for specialized courses.

Markus Tymister, Editor

[1] A.J. Chupungco, «Presentation», EO 1 (1984) 4.

[2] Chupungco, «Presentation», 3-4.

[3] «Harum textus, debite quoad disciplinam et expressiones revisi, extra Missale Romanum imprimentur» (Congregatio de cultu divino et disciplina sacramentorum, «Decretum 652/08/L [8 iunii 2008] 2» Notitiae 45 [2008] 176).

[4] Concilium Vaticanum II, «Constitutio de Sacra Liturgia Sacrosanctum Concilium (4 dec. 1963) 1», AAS 56 (1964) 97, English translation: bit.ly/SC_en [vatican.va, access Nov. 5th, 23].

[5] Cfr. E.J. Lengeling, Die Konstitution des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils über die heilige Liturgie. Lateinisch-deutscher Text mit einem Kommentar (Lebendiger Gottesdienst 5/6), Münster 1964, 5.

[6] Cfr. e.g., G. Greshake, «Konzelebration der Priester. Kritische Analyse und Vorschläge zu einer problematischen Erneuerung des II. Vatikanischen Konzils», in Glaube im Prozess. Christsein nach dem II. Vatikanum, FS K. Rahner, edd. E. Klinger-K. Wittstadt, Freiburg-Basel-Wien 1984, 258-288, esp. 273-276 and E.-M. Faber, «In persona Christi agere? Die Rolle des Priesters in der Eucharistiefeier», in Leib Christi sein – feiern – werden, ed. M. Klöckener-P. Spichtig, Freiburg (CH) 2006, 141.