Liturgy Institute London

For a detailed and peaceful study of Liturgy

Seminar on Liturgy and Cultures

Instruction will be online in 2021. Local residents may attend in person, but the House for Guests at Ealing Abbey will be closed. Times of seminar sessions will be determined by the Registrar during the week before the seminar begins for the convenience of enrolled students participating from different time-zones.

IL: L719; PIL: 94484
KULeuven: B-KUL-A07I4A, 4 study points

Taught by: James Leachman – Daniel McCarthy

Photo of James LeachmanThe Liturgy of the church is not unchanging. It has its origin and development over time and over geographical space. Inculturation is the study of how changes of the liturgy occur and records the results in a particular time and space. We shall begin with official documents on inculturation and from these we shall discuss practices which both exemplify and move beyond them in both western and eastern Christian traditions. Students are helped to learn from each other by seminar presentations and to edit their own work in the light of others presentations. In this way students refine their research skills and may prepare an article for publication or develop a Masters thesis.


At the end of this seminar each participant will be prepared to:

Describe one or two examples of the influence of cultures on liturgy or of liturgy on cultures,
I. … in light of official ecclesial instructions,
II. …and in light of the contributions of theologians such as Anscar Chupungco, Mark Francis.
III. …and in light of the pastoral experience of adaptations developed in other cultural contexts.

Students are helped to learn from each other by seminar presentations and to edit their own work in the light of others presentations. In this way students refine their research skills and may prepare an article for publication or develop a Masters thesis.


Students enrolling for credit at KU Leuven:

Image of Fr Daniel McCarthy, OSB

Fr Daniel McCarthy, OSB

This course is taught at Ealing Abbey, London from 16 to 27 August 2021 for academic year 2021-2022. It is completed before enrolment at KU Leuven at the end of August. To enquire please write to: this Email address. After successfully completing this course at Ealing, you may thereafter enrol for this course at KU Leuven to receive KU Leuven study points / ECTS credits.

Dates: 16-27 August 2021 (Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 August are free days)

Hours: 9:45-12:45 (including a break)

The course anticipates the student will spend 60 hours in personal reading and study.

Location: Institutum Liturgicum London (at Ealing Abbey)
74 Castlebar Road Ealing London, W5 2DD, UK uk;
Email here.
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8862 2156; Fax: +44 (0)20 8862 2133

KU Leuven awards 4 study points to this graduate course.
This course fulfils the required elective course for the award in Liturgical Studies offered by the Institutum Liturgicum.

Previous knowledge

Beyond a general familiarity with the Bible and the history of western civilization in the Christian period, a general familiarity with the the history and context of the liturgy in the West would be helpful. Suggested but not required are the introduction to method in liturgical research L701 Liturgy Research Seminar and the historical survey L702 Liturgy in the West, History and Context.

We have paired the course Liturgy and Cultures with this Seminar on the same topic so that students may take the course during Block II (19-30 July 2021) and then conduct their own research during the seminar during Block III (16-27 August 2021).


This course examines:

I. Official ecclesial instructions;
II. Contributions by theologians such as Anscar Chupungco, Mark Francis, Mark Searle;
III. The pastoral experience from identified cultural contexts and cultures;
IV. The student’s integration and application of these to a specific situation in the student’s own cultural context.


Course Material

♦ Magisterial documents studied in English translations: Sacrosanctum Concilium nº 37-44; Instructions: Inter Oecumenici; Tres abhinc annos; Liturgicae instaurationes; Varietates legitimae; Liturgiam authenticam.
♦ D.S. Amalorpavadass, “Theological Reflection on Inculturation,” Studia Liturgica 20 (1990) 36-54.
♦ G. Arbuckle, “Inculturation not Adaptation: A Time to change Terminology,” Worship 60 (1986) 511-20.
♦ A.J. Chupungco, Cultural Adaptation of the Liturgy, Paulist Press, New York 1982.
______, Liturgies of the Future: The Process and Methods of Inculturation, Paulist, New York 1989.
______, “A Definition of Liturgical Inculturation,” Ecclesia Orans 5 (1988) 11-23.
♦ ______, Liturgical Inculturation: Sacramentals, Religiosity and Catechesis, (Pueblo Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN 1992.
♦ M. Francis, Shape a Circle Ever Wider: Liturgical Inculturation in the United States, Chicago IL, LTP 2000
♦ R. Ramirez, “Liturgy from the Mexican American Perspective,” Worship 51 (1977) 293-298.


Description of learning activities

♦ Reading and in class discussion of ecclesial and theological works on liturgy and cultures;
♦ Teacher’s presentation and in class discussion on specific pastoral applications;
♦ Students’ reading and participation in discussions;
♦ Students’ reflection, integration and application to a named circumstance;
♦ Students are helped to learn from each other by seminar presentations and to edit their own work in the light of others presentations.
♦ In this way students refine their research skills and prepare a seminar paper based on the students’ own application of materials considered to an agreed circumstance in the student’s own cultural context.

Evaluation description

Examination type: written paper (60%), class participation (40%)

When: evaluation outside normal examination period. Two printed copies of the paper are to be delivered to the Registrar within one month after our last session, that is by 27 September 2021.

Explanation: Participants present their findings in class and have the chance to revise their material based on class discussion and feedback from the instructor, before submitting a graduate research paper of 3,500-4,000 words, equivalent to 15-20 pages of text including footnotes and in addition a title page, bibliography and any appendices, following the KU Leuven norms.

Criteria for evaluation:

Both the regular in class presentations by the students of their ongoing research and the final paper are assessed based on the following:

1. logical organisation of the material and its clear presentation,
2. accuracy of information and analysis,
3. consistency in style of notes and bibliography,
4. sources preferably in their original languages,
5. theological accuracy.

Second opportunity to sit the exam: Because this is an intensive summer course, the opportunity for a second exam is by appointment and depends upon the availability of the instructor.

Future topics:

This research seminar is taught on a different topic each year typically focusing on one of four areas: the Eucharistic Prayer, christian initiation, liturgical history, liturgical theology.

Note: Students must be over 18 years of age.

The course anticipates the student will spend 60 hours in personal reading and study.

Because of the demands of conducting personal research, students do not enrol simultaneously in the seminar and one of the Latin experiences also held during this Block III.

Dates: Block III

16-20 August (Monday to Friday; Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 August are free days)
and 23-27 July (Monday to Saturday)

The instructor will arrange with the students to be available regularly for some time in the Study Centre and is also available by appointment.

Students and the public are invited to attend the annual St Bede Lecture, to be held at Ealing Abbey on Saturday afternoon 8 July at 2.30 PM.


Non residential day students are welcome.

Limited accommodation is available through Ealing Abbey house for guests or other religious houses or nearby.

Residential students may arrange to arrive on Saturday 14, Sunday 15 or before the lecture begins at 9:30 AM on Monday 16 August 2021.

Residential students may arrange to depart after the lecture ends at 12:30 on Friday 27 or on Saturday 28 August 2021.

Additional information from KU Leuven course web-site

 Academic year: 2021−2022

 Study points: 4

 Language: English

 Difficulty: Graduate-Intermediate

 Duration: 26.0 hours

 Periodicity: Taught biennially in Block II

 POC: POC Theology and Religious Studies


This course is included in

Master of Theology and Religious Studies Study Abroad Programme in European Culture and Society (PECS).

A link to the course descriptor at KU Leuven is here. The course is based one that has been offered in Italian by other professors, including Anscar Chupungco and Mark Francis and James leachman at Sant’Anselmo, Rome.