An editorial from the August 18, 1962 issue of America:
There is no Catholic exhibit at the Seattle World’s Fair, but a major Catholic event will take place in the Fair’s arena and opera house, August 20-23—the 23rd North American Liturgical Week. The president of the Liturgical Conference, which sponsors the annual event, says this year’s meeting will be “probably the greatest assemblage of liturgical knowledge and experience ever to be gathered in this country.” The president, Rev. Frederick R. McManus, professor of canon law at the Catholic University of America, is not given to exaggerations. Advance registrations indicate more than 5,000 priests, religious and laymen will attend the four-day conference, to hear some of the best biblical, liturgical and theological experts in the English-speaking world.
The Liturgical Week is not only for experts. Like the Liturgical Conference itself, the Week is for all who wish to know more about the Mass and the Church’s whole life of worship. Bishops, pastors, seminary professors and teachers of religion at all levels, musicians, members of lay organizations, chaplains, retreat masters, artists and architects—all have an opportunity to discuss their hopes and experiences, the progress and problems of the liturgical movement.
Each year the Liturgical Week belies the persistent notion that the liturgical movement is about the externals of religion—rubrics, vestments, candles and the like. With its Lercaro Award for architecture and its encouragement of the best in art and music, the Liturgical Conference tries to surround, protect and adorn something far more important: the sacred liturgy itself, which is, in the words of Pope Pius XII, “the worship rendered by the Mystical Body of Christ in the entirety of its Head and members.”
It is for intelligent, active participation in that worship that the Liturgical Week exists. This year’s program, therefore, like the others since 1940, deals with a profound theological theme: Thy Kingdom Come: Christian Hope in the Modern World. There will be studies of the Church’s mission to continue the redemptive work of Christ; the sharing of all the Church’s members in that work; Christ as “the first born from the dead” and Christians as “sons of the Resurrection”; the Mass as a coming of the Lord and a meeting with Him; marriage and the other sacraments as ways of spiritual growth; the resurrection of the body; the communion of saints; heaven. Here is the real stuff of the liturgy.
The Christian’s view of this world and the world to come will be compared, or contrasted, with the theme of the World’s Fair-Century 21: what science and technology promise for the future. How necessary it is to understand that all men and all creation are to be brought to fulfillment in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit! The message of Scripture is forced upon us with new urgency: we await the final coming of the Lord; our hope is in the victory of the Resurrection, which we who believe and are baptized have as a pledge from our Father in heaven.
We long for the Lord’s final, victorious coming, when His kingdom that lives now in the hearts of men will be established forever. Meanwhile, as Pope Pius XII said, “the most pressing duty of Christians is to live the liturgical life, and increase and cherish its supernatural spirit.” For this reason, the Liturgical Week is one of the most important events in the life of the Church in North America. An article on page 614 presents a number of other reasons why Catholics and non-Catholics, here and abroad, will watch this year’s proceedings with special interest.