From the June 28, 1962 issue of Commonweal Magazine, a provocative call for liturgical reform by an organizer of the North American Liturgical Week recently held in Seattle in conjunction with the World’s Fair, imagining how liturgy might be celebrated 50 years from now.
By John B. Mannion
Of all the actions likely to be taken by the forthcoming Ecumenical Council, few will affect the Catholic people so directly and personally as the liturgical reforms. For most of us, our principal public contact with the Church is Sunday Mass. And indeed, this is as it should be, for the liturgy is “the chief duty and supreme dignity” of Christians, and takes precedence over any other religious activity—public or private, individual or corporate. For this reason the Mass should be our most meaningful Christian experience. That this is not the case is one of the several motive s which have prompted the liturgical reforms of recent decades. Pope Pius XI’s “outsiders and mute spectators” of 1928 have become Pope John’s “telegraph poles” of 1960.
Clearly the reforms instituted have not been adequate to the task of conveying to the people the true nature of liturgical worship and their role in it. Perhaps this is because the changes have been within the structure of the Roman liturgy as it was frozen in the sixteenth century.
To the man of the twentieth century, the Mass does not appear to be what it actually is: a formal proclamation of the Word of God, a sacrificial oblation re-presenting “in mystery” the redemptive work of Christ, and a community meal renewing the covenant—the pledge of eternal life and love—between the Father and His chosen sons. This threefold reality is not immediately and directly revealed by the words and actions of the Latin rite Mass, which fact has led to a growing realization of the need for further reform. Continue reading →
From Seattle, a report on the upcoming National Liturgical Week by Michael G. Ryan, a seminarian at St. Thomas Seminary in Kenmore, Wash.
This is an exciting time to be in Seattle. I never imagined that our city would host a World’s Fair, but now the “Space Needle,” as they are calling it, rises at the foot of Queen Anne Hill, and the sprawling modern buildings of Century 21 have taken the place of the quiet neighborhood where my dad once taught me to drive. For Catholics, it is an especially exciting time, since Seattle will also be hosting the National Liturgical Week from August 20 to 23 at the World’s Fair Arena. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
Finishing touches are being put on an immense tower, to be called “The Space Needle,” in preparation for the opening of the World’s Fair in Seattle. The event, called “Century 21,” will be a look into the future, an exercise of imagination as to what the 21st Century has in store. In addition to the Space Needle, construction is nearly complete on a new monorail system to move visitors around the vast exposition. The fair will be opened by President John F. Kennedy on April 21, 1962.