ALL SAINTS, FEAST OF

The Solemnity of All Saints, a celebration of the unity of the church across time, is celebrated on Nov. 1. HISTORY This feast, originally a celebration of all the nameless martyrs of the persecutions, arose first in the East, where it was celebrated on May 13, or on the Sunday after Pentecost (Antioch), or the … Continue reading “ALL
SAINTS, FEAST OF”

AGAPE

The love feast was shared by the early Christians as a common fellowship meal. Sacred meals were common features of pagan and Jewish cults in antiquity. Regulations for a communal meal are found in the Manual of Discipline of the Qumran community by the Dead Sea. Gregory Dix argued that the meals shared by Jesus … Continue reading “AGAPE”

AESTHETICS, LITURGICAL

The term “aesthetics” derives from a Greek root meaning “of or pertaining to things perceptible by the senses, things material (as opposed to things thinkable or immaterial)” (o.e.d.). Since the 18th century the term has come to designate the theory and interpretation of the beautiful in art and in nature. Liturgical aesthetics comprehends both the … Continue reading “AESTHETICS,
LITURGICAL”

ADVENT

The season of preparation for Christmas, known also in some Eastern churches as the season of Announcement. The Prayer of this season “looks forward” in relation to the triple coming of the Lord: in history, in grace, at the end of time. Its tone is of anticipation, expectation, yearning. See also Christmas season. The New … Continue reading “ADVENT”

ADULT COMMITMENT, RITUAL FOR

A ritual for adult commitment is a ceremony in which adults express their assent to the beliefs of their church. It is appropriate for those who joined the church when they were too young to make their personal assent, or those who have long adhered to their church’s teachings but find themselves at a stage … Continue reading “ADULT
COMMITMENT, RITUAL FOR”

ADORATION, THEOLOGY OF

The theology of adoration is really a part of a broader question: communion and worship of the eucharist outside its celebration. The purpose of this article is to give a brief historical sketch of communion practice and the origins of eucharistic devotions outside the celebration of the eucharist. From these we hope to draw the … Continue reading “ADORATION,
THEOLOGY OF”

ADAPTATION, LITURGICAL

As the expression implies, “liturgical adaptation” refers to the process by which the liturgy is modified in such a way as to render it “more suitable,” “more appropriate,” “more meaningful” to a given group of worshippers in a given context. While the term “adaptation” has been criticized as connoting an overly timid and even paternalistic … Continue reading “ADAPTATION,
LITURGICAL”

ABSTINENCE

The practice of refraining from an otherwise wholesome activity for reasons of penitence or anticipation. This may be part of a process of repentance for sin or of purification in anticipation of a festal celebration or joyful event. The practice of abstinence from certain foods has traditionally found its way into the various liturgical calendars … Continue reading “ABSTINENCE”

ABSOLUTION, GENERAL

Absolution, or the effective proclamation of the forgiveness of sin, is considered “general” when it is pronounced over a number of penitents simultaneously. It may follow a general confession of sins, as in the Rite for Reconciliation of Several Penitents with General Confession and Absolution (Sacramental Form iii of the revised Rite of Penance of … Continue reading “ABSOLUTION,
GENERAL”

ABSOLUTION

Absolution is the ritual action which completes the sacrament of penance. Through the words and gestures of the priest who has the faculty to absolve sins (and censures), “God grants pardon to sinners who in sacramental confession manifest their change of heart” (Rite of Penance, 6d). In traditional sacramental terminology, absolution is the “form” of … Continue reading “ABSOLUTION”