Rita Ferrone, “The Call to Participation” – NPM Live Stream Keynote

1:30–3:30 pm ET
Gathering and Convention Keynote Presentation by Rita Ferrone
“The Call to Participation”

Archive of Keynote Presentation:

The increased participation of the assembly and the increase in the number and variety of liturgical ministers are two of the gifts of Sacrosanctum Concilium. While we have done very well with exterior participation, we have not always been as conscious of interior participation. The exterior needs to come from something deeper, something within. There has been much discussion, in the past fifty years, about what “participatio actuosa” means in Sacrosanctum Concilium. What, then, is the nature of full, conscious, and active participation? How do we do mystagogy in ways that engage in a mindful manner the mysteries we celebrate?


  1. I listened the full two hours, but I kept losing the feed. However, the problem could have been entirely with the internet connection at my end.

    Did anyone else have problems with the live stream?

  2. I had no problems with the entire time. It paused for a couple seconds once or twice but otherwise, just fine.

  3. I just watched the archive of the opening. It was very clear and there were no problems. Thank you for providing the archive. To be able to participate in this way is a gift.

  4. I watched it both live and reran the opening from the archive.
    It was great to be able to see it. There were some drop outs with the live feed probably because of bandwidth but the archive was just fine.

    We need to have a lot more of this kind of access for those who can not make it 3000 miles to a national conference.

  5. Resonated with most of this but she lost me at about the 1:28:38 mark with the not so subtle remarks about women as priests, LGBT rights, etc… Yes, there was applause then, but only from about half the audience – and I was surprised it was that much.

    I am by myself here this week but most folks around me seemed shocked by her comments at this point. A good portion of the crowd started leaving shortly thereafter. Funny how a speaker can lose an audience (or at least a good part of it) by going against its basic principles in the middle of a speech.

    Nonetheless I was impressed by her knowledge, bought her book and look forward to reading more about liturgy post Vatican II from her perspective.

    1. @Kent Campbell – comment #6:
      Kent, thanks for your comments, and I’m glad that most of the talk was a positive experience for you. Enjoy the book. I’m pleased you got a copy!

      I do want to offer a different perspective however on the part you found troubling. First of all, context. I was enumerating contemporary obstacles to participation. I don’t think anyone can deny that the role of women and the stand of the church on homosexuality have become obstacles to participation for some of our brothers and sisters in Christ since the Council. As I said in the talk, the church’s response to these issues has NOT been seen as a vibrant counter-cultural witness but rather has led to folks feeling “pushed away” from the faith they once embraced. The demographic shift on these issues is epochal.

      Also, I deliberately did NOT say “women’s ordination” or “LGBT rights.” What I said was that we need to catch up with contemporary understandings of the equality and leadership of women, and advances in the understanding of human sexuality. That’s a different claim, and I didn’t presume that there’s one easy answer.

      Let me share, however, the reason I put that in (and it was only a tiny part of the keynote): People are hurting over this. And it’s hurting the Church. I do believe we have NOT engaged with the times we live in anywhere near as effectively as we could. That’s a challenge, for sure. But these are adults. They can take a challenge.

      If some people walked out because I named some hot button issues, I’m not dismayed. I think a lot more people are walking out of our churches because we won’t engage with their real concerns about these topics. Nevertheless, from where I was standing (and I think I could see the room pretty well from the stage), I didn’t see quite the exodus you report here. Some people did come and go; frankly I thought folks needed the rest rooms! 2 hours captive! 🙂

      Peace to you.

  6. Dear Ms. Ferrone,

    I did enjoy your address very much at the conference this week. The whole conference, as a matter of fact, was amazing! Personally, I am on a “high” and am “fired up” about my ministry this year in my parish community.

    However, I was deeply pained and hurt at the phrasing you used concerning the Church’s relationship with the modern world’s understanding of women’s equality, human sexuality, and LGBT concerns. I do deeply believe that people are hurting over these issues. My concern is that we, as Church, are not doing a good job explaining why we believe what we believe. We need to use our faith in Christ to love the other as other.

    Perhaps I misinterpreted your meaning, but as an avid media consumer, I immediately responded to the phrases “women’s equality,” “human sexuality,” and “LGBT” in the way in which our secular, pluralistic, western society uses them. To the Catholic “ear” in America, I believe it is safe—albeit reductionist—to say that the phrase “women’s equality in leadership roles” translates to “women’s ordination to the priesthood.” Similarly, in our Catholic American context, the phrase “human sexuality” often means “contraception.” Also, the phrase “LGBT” means broadening the definition of “marriage” to include the sexually intimate relationship that a man or woman may have with a member of their own sex.

    Concerning women in leadership roles today in the Church, I believe women occupy leadership roles in virtually every leadership role in the Church except ordained ministry. Women run schools, hospitals, are parish administrators and serve the church in many ways. In many ways, I believe that women are far more important to the life of the Church than even priests are. Even on the issue of Women’s Ordination, Blessed John Paul II was silent on the issue of a female diaconate. I believe this may leave room for that possibility

    The problem is, as the soon-to-be (Pope) Saint John Paul II wrote in his Theology of the Body, men and women are not just physically different. Rather, they are “ontologically” different. I do realize that I am digressing here. I could go on forever about the Theology of the Body and how monumental it is for the future of our Church in virtually every aspect of the Creed. While your feelings are to be respected and honored, perhaps the National Pastoral Musicians conference was not the best forum for these issues to be conjured?

    Peace be with you,
    Adam Chapman

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