At the annual gathering of the priests of the Diocese last October the speaker was Tom O’Loughlin, Professor of Historical Theology at Nottingham University.  Tom’s major work is a book called “The Eucharist—its origins and modern understandings”.  It is a very tough read!  More popular will be Tom’s most recent book: “The Rites and Wrongs of Liturgy: why good liturgy matters” which should be of interest to anyone who is interested in growing in their understanding of the principles and practice of liturgy.

  Tom covered topics such as: When was the first Eucharist? Eucharistic space and What was distinctive in the way Jesus offered thanks to the Father?  He gave us much to think about in taking forward not just our understanding of the liturgy, but insights to help in the celebration of the liturgy, especially of the Eucharist.

  In his final session, Tom took us through an article he published in The Furrow in May 2015 called “Renewing the Liturgy—six simple steps”.  Over the next few months Fr Peter McGuire will dip into this article.

  The article begins: “Half a century after Vatican II it is easy to be sad that many of the great hopes of the Council have not been realised, but that is small comfort for those who are anxious to see a renewal of the Church in their lifetime or a renewal in their community which seems stuck in the past, aging, with little energy, and embarrassed by scandal succeeding scandal.  Others seek scapegoats: the Curia in Rome, bishops, the ’forces of reaction’, lack of resources …..  Indeed, there is something in both these explanations: the full impact of any change in an organisation as diffuse as the Church can often take decades to work itself out, and the full consequences — such is the way of human action — take centuries.  And, yes, there have been since the Council those who saw little need for it and who disliked its outcomes, and today such reactionaries are both well organised and very influential …  But are there simple steps that one can take right now which can help to embed in our own community Vatican II’s new vision of the Church as the pilgrim People of God?”

  The article then goes on to suggest Six Simple Steps which could go some way to achieving Vatican II’s vision in our celebration of the Eucharist.  We will follow these simple steps over the next few months.