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The Supper of the Lamb

Today, I boarded a train from Leuven (where Societas Liturgica is meeting) for Ghent. After years of teaching the Mass to undergraduates, of inviting them to gaze with wonder upon the supper of the Lamb of Van Eyck, I couldn’t leave Belgium without seeing it. I arrived at St. Bavo’s Cathedral after a thirty minute walk from the train station. Escaping the rain, I walked into the cathedral and began to wander around with the rest of the tourists. We passed through the nave of the Church, the high altar, various side chapels, until we arrived at the chapel in the back of the church that housed the Ghent altarpiece. I paid my 4€ and joined the dozens of tourists to see the altarpiece. Each day from 12:00 PM until 1:00 PM, the altar piece is closed, showing the image of the Annunciation. I arrived in the chapel at 12:47 PM and began to pray the Angelus, joining myself with the Marian prayer of the Church. The prayer was uncomfortable. The tourists continued bumping into …

Echo Alumni Interviews: Michelle Ross

In celebration of the upcoming graduation of Echo 12 on Saturday July 29, Church Life will feature interviews with select Echo alumni. Today’s interview is with Michelle Ross, of Echo 10, who served as an apprentice for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston at Christ the Redeemer Parish. For the past two years she has Served at Nativity Catholic Church in Indianapolis as the Director of Religious Education and Pastoral Associate. CL: How do you see yourself renewing the Catholic imagination through your work? MR: My understanding of the Catholic Imagination is as a way of living and growing creatively in the truth offered to us through a personal relationship with Christ and his Church. When we awaken the Catholic Imagination we can dream and, in a way, play with the rich beauty and history of the teachings and tradition of the Church so that our encounter with Christ is lifted up and made present for the world. A lot of my energy at Nativity is poured into sparking the Catholic Imagination in our parishioners, friends and family. …

Globalized Secularity: An American-British Problem

Editor’s Note: This week, the director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy and the editor of Church Life is visiting the United Kingdom to give a series of talks on liturgy and secularization. He is also beginning an inter-disciplinary research project related to this topic. He will be blogging about his trip over the next seven days.  Grace Davie, the British sociologist of religion, has often noted the exceptional quality of Europe’s secularity. Because of her work, it is impossible today to speak about a single experience of the secular. In Britain, according to Davie, secularity is best understood as a vicarious religion. No matter how little belief that one might have, it is viewed positively that there is a vicar in town (along with a cathedral church), who can tend to the needs of people who require such things. It’s good that the Church exists to carry out the rites of passage necessary for maintaining social order. Secularity in the United States, of course, is different than this. Much of this has to do …

The Excellence of the Cross

The Feast of the Holy Cross is one of my favorite to celebrate each year. In the Office of Readings, we encounter St. Paul’s glorious praise of the Cross: As for me, the only thing I can boast about is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. It does not matter if a person is circumcised or not; what matters is for him to become an altogether new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, who form the Israel of God. (Gal 6:14–16) These words have particular meaning in the context of debates about Catholic higher education in the United States. Most Catholic institutions of higher learning have taken up the word “excellence” and run with it. We are to be “excellent” in undergraduate education. We are to be “excellent” in research. We are to be “excellent” in commitment to social renewal. We are to be excellent in all things that we can be excellent in. And in some of the …

The Science of Love

A girl is standing in front of the teacher, a girl rather small for her age. The round face is quite childlike, while the slight body already betrays the early maturity of this southern race. The girl is clad in a peasant smock. She wears wooden shoes. But everyone, not the children only, wear them here, except those very few who belong to the so-called better circles. The brown eyes of the girl are calm under the nun’s gaze. Their expression is uninhibited and dreamy and almost apathetic. There is something in that expression which troubles Sister Marie Therese. ‘So you really know nothing of the Holy Trinity, dear child?” The girl keeps her eyes on the teacher and answers unabashed in a high, clear voice: “No, sister, I know nothing about it.” “And you’ve never even heard of it?” The girl reflects at some length. “Maybe I’ve heard about it…” The nun closes her book with a little bang. Real pain shows on her features. “I’m puzzled my child. Are you pert or indifferent …