Anne McGowan Syllabus

Liturgical Prayer (THEO 60405)

Summer 2013

Monday-Friday (June 17-July 5)

8:30-11:10 a.m.

DeBartolo Hall 225

Dr. Anne McGowan                 


Office:  313 Malloy Hall

Office Hours:  by appointment


Mailbox:  135 Malloy Hall                                 


Course Description

Prayer is the common duty of Christians, and prayer in common forms, nourishes, and challenges Christian faith.  This course will explore the origins, development, ritual components, and theological significance of Christian liturgical prayer, especially (although not exclusively) in the Western, Roman Catholic tradition.  The primary focus of the course concerns elements common to all Christian liturgical celebration rather than features specific to particular sacramental rites of the Church.  After a consideration of what makes certain forms of prayer liturgical, the course will examine daily prayer in the Christian tradition (Liturgy of the Hours, Divine Office), the essential components of Christian liturgical prayer (e.g., Word, assembly, ritual, and doxology), and the connections between liturgical and devotional forms of prayer.


Objectives of the Course

This course is about the acquisition of knowledge with a view toward the critical evaluation of liturgical prayer in a variety of contemporary churches today.  While pastoral issues will certainly be considered, the course is neither a “how-to-do-the-rites” course nor is it concerned with offering blueprints for pastoral practice in the variety of settings from which students come or to which they are going.  Rather, this course takes as its premise that the only way to know what liturgical prayer is is to study its manifestations as they actually appear within the various strata of the Christian tradition.  Only then can one adequately evaluate its current forms.  This means, concretely, exploring the history of liturgical prayer, the history of its theological interpretation, and the ritual forms through which it is expressed.


Through this course, students will:

  • Acquire knowledge of the historical evolution, theological development, and ritual elements of liturgical prayer in preparation for further research and study and/or for service in church ministry.
  • Learn to articulate the significance of liturgical prayer for the life of the Christian community.
  • Explore recent developments in theology and culture that impact the practice of liturgical prayer.
  • Develop theological foundations for preparing, engaging, and evaluating rich celebrations of liturgical prayer in the communities in which they worship.


Course Requirements

  1. Active participation in all class sessions
  2. Engagement with assigned reading (including one 5-10 minute in-class presentation)
  3. Two take-home essay examinations
  4. A final synthesis paper or project (see below for more details)

Basis for Evaluation

Final grades for the course will be based on engagement in class as well as the in-class presentation and take-home exams (which will allow students to synthesize and apply information gained through readings and class sessions) and the final paper or project.


The final grade for the course will be calculated as follows:

Participation/Class Presentation                       10%

Exam #1 (due Monday, Week 2)           25%

Exam #2 (due Monday, Week 3)           25%

Final Project (due Monday, July 8)         40%


Students can actively participate in class and demonstrate their engagement with the readings by:

  1. Completing reading assignments prior to class and coming to class with 2-3 questions and/or points for discussion in mind.
  2. Interacting with fellow students and the instructor during class in a manner that reflects understanding of the material (and/or a quest for understanding) and respectful, critical interaction with others’ views.  Questions can be as valuable as answers—and are often very important for promoting learning. Please feel free to bring up your own experiences of prayer, ministry, and/ or catechesis and compare them to the issues we are discussing.  (Experiences and opinions raised in class should remain confidential.)
  3. Sharing a review and assessment of the assigned readings and providing prompts for class discussion on the day of their assigned class presentations. 


Since some students feel more adept or at ease than others in the context of open group discussions, a significant portion of a student’s participation grade will be based on the section in which he/she presents.  The quality (as opposed to sheer frequency!) of a student’s participation in class on other occasions will also be considered, especially if the student’s cumulative performance on written work falls in the margin between two grades.


Presentation Guidelines

Please prepare a short presentation for the class that shares your review and preliminary assessment of the day’s assigned readings.  (You may choose to comment on the recommended reading selections for the day, if any, but you are not obligated to do so.)  Presentations should also include or conclude with two or three questions arising from your interaction with the readings that can serve as the starting point for class discussion.  Beyond these general guidelines, the specific format of the presentation is up to you; however, please distill your talking points into a short paper (1-2 pages, double-spaced) that will be submitted to the instructor at class time.  The formal part of your presentation should last for no more than 5-10 minutes.


If you are extremely uncomfortable with the idea of presenting to the class, please contact the instructor and an alternative assignment will be provided.


Student feedback on the course is welcome at any time, either orally (after class or during office hours) or in writing (e-mail the instructor or leave a note in my mailbox).  The formal course evaluation will benefit future students, but any feedback you provide during the class could enhance your own experience with the course.


Guidelines for Synthesis Papers and Projects

The general focus for all projects is how liturgical forms of prayer (and the historical, theological, and ritual rationale undergirding them) can either foster or hinder human attempts to engage and be engaged by God in prayer.  Depending on the particular interests and goals of the students, these projects might take various forms.  Since the option chosen will impact the format in which materials are submitted, there is no absolute minimum or maximum length for these projects, but a good general guideline is 8-10 pages of typed, double-spaced text.  Whichever option you choose, please obtain preliminary approval for your project no later than WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26.


Option 1:  Write a research paper (8-10 double-spaced pages, with formal footnotes/endnotes and bibliography) on a particular aspect of liturgical prayer, preferably one that has not been treated extensively in class.  A research paper should consist of sustained investigation of a topic that demonstrates the student’s engagement with primary sources and secondary literature. Topics for the paper might include one of the central building blocks of Christian liturgical prayer (e.g., “Worship and the Word,” “The Relation between Ritual and Repetition”) or a historical topic (e.g. “Daily Prayer in the Rule of Benedict,” “The Reform of the Liturgy of the Hours after Vatican II”).


Option 2:  You have been invited to give a one-hour presentation on “Liturgical Prayer” as part of the adult education series in your local faith community.  Prepare the outline and presenter’s notes for such a presentation, along with any handouts (e.g. key “take-home” points, charts and/or diagrams, annotated bibliography with suggestions for further reading) or audiovisual materials you develop to accompany it.


Option 3:  Prepare a pastoral reflection (approximately 8-10 double-spaced pages) that represents your response (informed by class readings and discussions) to the following question:  What do you see as the future of the Liturgy of the Hours as common prayer?


Option 4:  Choose a contemporary Christian office book and write a book review, attending to the structure of the prayer, the organizing theological and liturgical principles, and the ease of use for ritual specialists and non-specialists.  Would you recommend this book for your praying community?  Why or why not?


Option 5:  Prepare a service of morning, evening, or night prayer for a particular praying community.  Develop a participation aid for the assembly and other ministers.  Please include an introduction providing an overview of the real or hypothetical community that might use such a service and commentary on the service itself, explaining the order of the service, its contents, and your rationale for structuring the prayer the way you did.


Option 6:  Musicians may opt to compose (a) musical piece(s) for use in liturgical prayer (for general use at morning, evening, or night prayer or for use on a particular feast or during a certain liturgical season).  Students selecting this option should also prepare a 3-5 page written explanation providing historical and theological support detailing what choices they made in composing the piece(s) and why.  For example:  What are these pieces trying to evoke?  How do the lyrics (if present) capture the key idea(s) of the time of day/feast/season in general and emphases particular to the student’s own tradition [if applicable]?  


Option 7:  Propose your own project that integrates historical, theological, and ritual consideration of some aspect of liturgical prayer with critical analysis and/or practical application.  Possibilities might include exploring certain forms of art (e.g., icons) as aids to liturgical prayer or preparing a series of sermons for use in the context of liturgical prayer.




Required Texts [and their abbreviations on the Syllabus]

Bradshaw, Paul F.  Two Ways of Praying.  2nd edition.  Maryville, TN:  OSL Publications, 2008.

[ISBN:  978-1-878009-59-3]

Guiver, George.  Company of Voices:  Daily Prayer and the People of God.  Revised edition.  Norwich,

Norfolk: The Canterbury Press, 2001.  [ISBN:  978-1-85311-394-9]


Additional articles/chapters/documents designated with (*) on the schedule will be supplied to students via the course’s Concourse in Sakai site (if they are not already available online).


Recommended Texts (on library reserve)

Note: Some “required reading” for discussion purposes will be expected from some of the following texts as indicated in the syllabus.  However, any required selections from the works below will be supplied to the students as needed (via Sakai).


Bradshaw, Paul.  Daily Prayer in the Early Church.  New York:  Oxford University Press 1982. 

            [Reprint: Eugene, OR:  Wipf & Stock, 2008]  ISBN:  978-1-60608-105-1 

Campbell, Stanislaus.  From Breviary to Liturgy of the Hours: The Structural Reform of the Roman Office 1964-

            1971.  Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1995.

Fassler, Margot E., and Rebecca A. Baltzer, eds. The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages: Methodology and

            Source Studies, Regional Developments, Hagiography. Oxford/New York:  Oxford University Press,


Jungmann, Joseph A.  Christian Prayer Through the Centuries, ed. Christopher Irvine and trans. John Coyne. 

            2nd edition (with notes).   New York:  Paulist Press, 2008.

Taft, Robert.  The Liturgy of the Hours in East and West.  2nd edition.  Collegeville, MN:  Liturgical Press,

            1986.  [ISBN: 978-0-8146-1405-1]

Woolfenden, Gregory W.  Daily Liturgical Prayer:  Origins and Theology.  Aldershot, England/ Burlington,

            VT:  Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2004.  [978-0-75461-601-6]


Tentative Schedule and Class Topics


  • Each session will be divided into two segments as follows to give our bodies and minds a break:

(1)        8:30-9:45 a.m.

(2)        9:55-11:10 a.m.

  • All readings and other assignments should be completed in time for class on the day on which they are listed on the syllabus.
  • Articles/chapters designated with (*) on the schedule will be supplied to students via Concourse in Sakai.    Select this course (THEO 60405), click on “Resources,” then “Readings.”
  • Questions for the take-home exams can be found in the “Exams” folder on Sakai.



M June 17       Introduction:  What is Liturgical Prayer?

                        Read:  Guiver, 3-45

                                    Bradshaw, Chapter 3

                        Recommended Reading:  (*)Stephen Platt, “Liturgical Prayer.”  Sourozh 104 (2009):  52-63. 

                                                            [An Eastern Christian perspective.]

IN CLASS:  Assign topics for student presentations (for classes 4-15)


T June 18        The Prayer of the Church

                        Read:  Bradshaw, Chapter 4

                                    (*)General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, paragraphs 1-19

                        [Text available online at ]

If you own the four-volume set of the Liturgy of the Hours books, the General Instruction

can be found in volume I.


W June 19       Patterns of Daily Prayer:  Ancient Models

                        Read: Bradshaw, Chapter 1

                                     Guiver, 49-64

                                   (*)Selections from Egeria’s Travels, trans. John Wilkinson, 3rd ed. (Warminster,

                                   UK:  Aris and Phillips Ltd., 1999, 2002 [corrected].

Recommended:  (*)Paul Bradshaw, “Cathedral and Monastic:  What’s in a Name?” Worship 77

            (2003): 341-353.


R June 20        Patterns of Daily Prayer:  Developments in the East and the West

                        Read:    Guiver, 65-83.

(*)Gregory W. Woolfenden, “A Brief Summary of Historical Developments and

                        Geographical Locations,” in Daily Liturgical Prayer, 41-47.


F June 21         Patterns of Daily Prayer:  The Benedictine Office and the Medieval West

Read: (*) Rule of Benedict, chapters 8-20

           Guiver, 84-103

           (*) Robert Taft, “The Monastic Hours in Italy,” in The Liturgy of the Hours in East and

            West, 121-140.  

Recommended:  Susan Boynton, “Prayer as Liturgical Performance in Eleventh- and Twelfth-

Century Monastic Psalters,” Speculum 82.4 (2007):  896-931.



M June 24       Praise and Intercession

Read: Guiver, 169-173

           (*) Joyce Ann Zimmerman, “The General Intercessions:  Yet Another Visit,”

            Worship 65 (1991):  306-319.

                                   (*) Robert F. Taft, “The Structural Analysis of Liturgical Units: An Essay in

                                    Methodology,” in Beyond East and West: Problems in Liturgical Understanding, 2nd rev.

                                    and enlarged ed. Rome: Pontifical Oriental Institute, 1997: 187-202.

                        EXAM #1 DUE (Questions are posted on the Sakai site, in the “Exams” folder.)


T June 25        Word, Psalmody, and Prayer

                        Read:  Guiver, 151-168

                                    Bradshaw, Chapters 5-6                       

(*) Renato De Zan, “Bible and Liturgy,” in Anscar Chupungco, ed., Handbook for

                                    Liturgical Studies, volume 1 (Collegeville, MN:  The Liturgical Press, 1997):  33-


                                      Recommended:  (*) Robert Taft, “Christian Liturgical Psalmody:  Origins,

                                    Development, Decomposition, Collapse,” in Harold W. Attridge and Margot E.

                                    Fassler, eds., Psalms in Community (Atlanta:  SBL, 2003): 7-32.


W June 26       Assembly and Ministry

                        Read:  (*) Mark Francis, “The Liturgical Assembly,” in Anscar Chupungco, ed., Handbook

                                    for Liturgical Studies, volume 2 (Collegeville, MN:  The Liturgical Press, 1997): 


                                    (*) Edward P. Hahnenberg, Ministries:  A Relational Approach (New York: 

                                    Crossroad Publishing Company, 2003):  151-210.



R June 27        Symbol, Ritual, and the Body

                        Read:   Guiver, 149-150

Bradshaw, Chapter 7

                                    (*) Nathan D. Mitchell, “Ritual’s Roles and Risks:  How Symbols Mean,” in Meeting

                                    Mystery (New York:  Orbis Books, 2006), 48-70.

                                    (*) Robert VerEecke, “What’s a Body to Do?:  Posture and Gesture in Liturgical

                                    Prayer,” Ministry & Liturgy 32.2 (2005):  11-12.

                                    Recommended:  (*) Nathan D. Mitchell, Liturgy and the Social Sciences, American

                                    Essays in Liturgy (Collegeville, MN:  The Liturgical Press, 1999):  5-34.


F June 28         Prayer in Motion:  Text, Song, Time, and Space

                        Read:  (*) Nathan D. Mitchell, “Ritual Speech and the Logic of Metaphor,” in Meeting

                                    Mystery (New York:  Orbis Books, 2006), 189-227.

                                    (*) J. Michael Joncas, “Liturgy and Music,” in Anscar Chupungco, ed., Handbook

                                    for Liturgical Studies, volume 2 (Collegeville, MN:  The Liturgical Press, 1997): 


                                     (*) James F. White, “The Language of Space,” in Introduction to Christian Worship,

                                    3rd edition, revised and expanded (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 2001): 81-





M July 1          Patterns of Daily Prayer:  Reformed Models, Protestant and Catholic

                        Read:  Guiver, 115-146.

                                    (*) Robert F. Taft, “The Hours in the Churches of the Reformation,” in The Liturgy

                                    of the Hours in East and West, 319-326.

                        EXAM #2 DUE (Questions are posted on the Sakai site, in the “Exams” folder.)


T July 2           Patterns of Daily Prayer: From Breviary to the Liturgy of the Hours

                        Read:  (*) Robert F. Taft, “The Roman Office,” in The Liturgy of the Hours in East and West,


                                    (*) Rubén M. Leikam, “The Liturgy of the Hours in the Roman Rite,” in Anscar

                                    Chupungco, ed., Handbook for Liturgical Studies, volume 5 (Collegeville, MN:  The

                                    Liturgical Press, 1997):  59-98.

                                    (*) General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours, chapters 2, 3, and 5

                                    (=paragraphs 34-203 and 253-284)

                        [Text available online at ]


W July 3          Patterns of Daily Prayer:  Contemporary and Alternative Models

                        Read:    Bradshaw, Chapter 8

                                    Guiver, 195-211

                                    (*) Maxwell E. Johnson, “Planning and Leading Liturgical Prayer in an Ecumenical

                                    Context,” Pro Ecclesia 8.2 (1999):  187-200.

(*) Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and Enuma Okoro,

                                    “Introduction,” in Common Prayer:  A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (Grand Rapids, MI:

 Zondervan, 2010).

                        Online:  Spend a few minutes exploring the companion website for Common Prayer,



W July 4          Liturgical Prayer and Popular Devotions

                        Read:  Bradshaw, Chapter 2

                                    (*) Mark Francis, “Liturgy and Popular Piety in a Historical Perspective,” in Peter

                                    C. Phan, ed., Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy:  Principles and Guidelines

                                    (Collegeville, MN:  Liturgical Press, 2005):  19-43.

                                    (*) Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2002), selections

[Text available online at ]

(*) Sheila C. Browne, “Our Prayer and My Prayer:  What’s the Difference? 

                                    What’s the Same?  Forms of Prayer That Complement Liturgical Prayer,” Liturgical

                                    Ministry 12 (2003):  213-217.

                                    Recommended:   (*) Paul Bradshaw, “Whatever Happened to Daily Prayer?” Worship

                                    64 (1990):  10-23.


F July 5           Theology, Piety, and Prayer

                        Read:  Guiver, 104-114, 177-194, 212-213

                                    (*) Robert F. Taft, “Toward a Theology of the Liturgy of the Hours,” in The Liturgy

                                    of the Hours in East and West, 331-365.

                                    Recommended:  Gregory W. Woolfenden, “The Shape and Theology of the Office,”

                                    in Daily Liturgical Prayer, 277-295.



(Since final grades for the summer session are not due until early August, this deadline is

negotiable.  Please contact the instructor in advance of the July 8 due date to propose an

alternate submission date if desired.)