The Presence of Christ in the Gathered Assembly
Reflections on Sacramentality and the Power of Symbol
Part of the 2006-2007 Liturgy Symposium Series
ISM Great Hall - 409 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT
Refreshments for mind, body, and spirit will be served. Free and open to the public.
Dr. Judith Marie Kubicki, C.S.S.F., is assistant professor of Theology at Fordham University. She earned a Ph.D. in liturgical studies and a Master of Liturgical Music at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She also has a BA in Music from Daemen College, and an MA in English from Canisius College, both in Buffalo, New York. Dr. Kubicki is the music reviewer for the journal Worship and has published articles in many journals, including Studia Liturgica, Theological Studies, and Worship. Her books include Liturgical Music as Ritual Symbol: A Case Study of Jacques Berthier’s Taizé Music (1999) and The Presence of Christ in the Gathered Assembly (Oct. 2006).
When the Second Vatican Council highlighted the Church’s belief in the manifold presence of Christ in article seven of Sacrosanctum Concilium, it articulated an aspect of eucharistic faith that had been forgotten or de-emphasized in the liturgy and in popular piety over several centuries. The Council reminded Christians that belief in the presence of Christ in bread and wine is part of a much richer and broader tradition that speaks of the manifold presence of the Risen Christ in the assembly that gathers for worship.
Nevertheless, while the human experience of gathering for worship can be an opportunity to encounter the Risen Lord in the midst of the assembly, postmodern cultural currents and contemporary liturgical praxis pose both challenges and opportunities for apprehending this aspect of sacramentality. Cultivating a sacramental worldview and celebrating liturgical symbols well, particularly those symbols that highlight the unity of the assembly as the one Body of Christ, are important strategies for promoting an awareness of Christ’s presence in the gathered assembly. Such awareness is essential for fruitful participation in the sacramental life of the Church, for living the Christian life, and for building ecumenical understanding regarding belief in the real presence of Christ in the Church.