Gathering for the Eucharist: Ancient Ritual, Contemporary Challenges

The Fairfield University Center for Catholic Studies will host a Living Theology Workshop on this coming Wednesday, September 22, at 5 PM EDT. I will be the presenter.

The topic is: Gathering for the Eucharist: Ancient Ritual, Contemporary Challenges. The presentation will highlight several areas of dynamism and positive developments — including liturgical spirituality, who ministers, and the role of the Word of God — followed by a brief overview of recent challenges, including the planned US bishops’ statement on eucharistic consistency, simmering anxieties about what ordinary Catholics actually believe, and the impact of the pandemic on how we celebrate.

Remote participation is open to the public, via livestream. Click here for more information and to register.


  1. I am very pleased that I attended your virtual presentation at Fairfield University, ‘Gathering for the Eucharist: Ancient Ritual, Contemporary Challenges. I am grateful for Fairfield University and National Catholic Reporter for making the introduction. I found your discussion about the Eucharist very illuminating and helpful for me. If I understood you correctly, the Eucharist is the sacramental presence of Christ not the physical presence. Does your book ‘Liturgy’ provide more background and references? I have struggled with this for several years.

    1. Thank you very much for your comment, Ed. I am glad that you came and most of all that you found the talk helpful!

      No, my book, Liturgy: Sacrosanctum Concilium, does not include a discussion of real presence, since that wasn’t really an issue at the Council. A recent book that does go into this topic in depth, however, is Brett Salkeld’s Transubstantiation: Theology, History, and Christian Unity.

      You’ll find a lot of background here. The book contains insights into what St Thomas Aquinas expressed in his writings, and how some of his interpreters (both Protestant and Catholic) have been mistaken in their “grossly physical” interpretations of real presence since that time.

      You might want to check out a series on transubstantiation that he has written here at the Pray Tell Blog, to get a taste.

      Good luck to you, and God bless!

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