Acting Head of Department of Theology, Philosophy and Religious Studies at Liverpool Hope University, England.
Subject/Service Area: Theology, Philosophy and Religious Studies
Phone: +44 (0)151 291 3515
I am a priest of Liverpool Roman Catholic Archdiocese, holding postgraduate qualifications in the field of liturgical studies from both Pontifical and secular academies. In 1996, after several years of parish experience I became Director of the Archdicese’s Department for Pastoral Formation. In 2003 I was appointed to Hope as Lecturer in Catholic Studies, and as Associate Professor in 2009. I am Director of the Hope Institute of Pastoral Theology, and am closely involved in the liturgical life of the Roman Catholic Church in this country: I am a member of the Liturgy Committee of the English and Welsh Roman Catholic Catholic Conference of Bishops, and I chair its Liturgical Formation Subcommittee. I also serve as Roman Catholic observer on the Liturgical Commissionof the Church of England., and ama Committee Memember of the Society of Liturgical Study,
Research Interests: One of my key concerns is to look beyond formal liturgical texts and to ask what sense participants make of the celebrations in which they participate. I explored this area in detail in my ground-breaking study of the celebration of first Holy Communion in Liverpool (First Communion: Ritual, Church and Popular Religious Identity. Ashgate, 2007). Ultimately, I am interested in developing ways to understand and articulate the gap that so often emerges between formal liturgy and life, but also creatively to explore ways of bridging that gap. My approach, therefore, is strongly pastoral in nature. I am currently engaged in exploring that gap in relation to the Roman Catholic initiaton of adults in my forthcoming book that brings together questions of liturgical praxis, catechetical policy and ecclesiology (The Exaggeration of Liturgists? Adult Initiation Rites and Roman Catholic Ecclesiology, Ashgate, 2013).
I also take a keen interest in contemporary liturgical music: I am a member of the St. Thomas More Group of liturgical composers, with work published through Oregon Catholic Press. My musical interests extend beyond the liturgical assembly, and I have published on the use of the Bible in opera. I maintain an historical interest in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Anglican worship. I am currently researching the liturgical work of Bishop John Wordsworth of Salisbury and of his historical liturgist brother Christopher, much of whose personal liturgical library has recently been deposited at Liverpool Hope.
Academic Qualifications: 2003 PhD (University of Birmingham); 1987 Licentiate in Sacred Liturgy (Pontifical Liturgical Institute of San Anslemo, Rome); 1980 BA (Hons) in Music (Liverpool University)
Professional Associations: North American Academy of Liturgy (Christian Initiation Seminar); Society for Liturgical Study – Committee member without portfolio since 2010; British Sociological Association, Sociology of Religion Study Group; Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain.
Liverpool Hope University: http://www.hope.ac.uk/