Liturgy Institute London

For a detailed and peaceful study of Liturgy

Liturgy and Cultures

IL: L735; PIL: 95035
KULeuven: B-KUL-A07L3A, 4 study points

Taught by: James Leachman – Daniel McCarthy

photo of James Leachman OSB

James Leachman

The 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.


At the end of the course each participant will be prepared to:

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


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 19 to 30 July 2021 for academic year 2021-2022. It is completed before enrolment at KU Leuven at the end of August. To enquire please write to: il AT liturgyinstitute DOT com. 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: 19-30 July 2021 (Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 July 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;
il AT liturgyinstitute DOT com
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.


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.

Course 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’ preparation of notes to use in the final, oral exam;
♦ Presentation of the students’ own application of materials considered to an agreed circumstance in the student’s own cultural context – during the final, oral exam.

Evaluation description

Examination type: oral (100%); with written preparation.

When: the oral exam is conducted at the end of the final session; written preparation comprises notes (a copy) handed in at the beginning of the oral exam and kept on file for one year.

Explanation: Students apply the principles established in ecclesial instructions and the contribution of one theologian and the pastoral experience of one adaptation developed in another cultural context to an agreed circumstance in the student’s cultural context. The student is to prepare and bring notes and materials to this oral discussion. The full mark is based on the student’s presentation to the instructor and responses to the instructor’s questions. The function of the prepared notes is to help the student provide a satisfactory answer and to support the student in his or her oral presentation and discussion. Copies of the ecclesial instructions and books discussed during the course will be available to the student during the exam.

Criteria for evaluation: The student is to demonstrate an integration of ecclesial instructions, the contribution of one theologian and the pastoral experience of one adaptation developed in a different cultural context, all considered during the course, by applying these with due reflection to an agreed circumstance in the student’s own cultural context. After an initial presentation by the student, the instructor asks questions to determine the student’s integration of the materials presented and their appropriate application. Discussion seeks to help the student provide a more clear and comprehensive response.

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.

Note: Students must be over 18 years of age.

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

This course is designed so that prepared students may also enrol in Liturgy in the WestHistory and Context, L702, but students may wish to prepare for the intensive schedule by reading suggested texts before the course begins.

Dates: Block II

19-23 July (Monday to Friday; Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 July are free days)
and 26-30 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.


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 17, Sunday 18 or before the lecture begins at 9:30 AM on Monday 19 July 2021.

Residential students may arrange to depart after the lecture ends at 12:30 on Friday 30 or Saturday 31 July 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 at Sant’Anselmo, Rome.

Page updated 18 September 2020