Wednesday, January 11, 2012. 3:15 - 4:30 pm

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and the Villancico: Poetry at the service of liturgy in seventeenth century Mexico
by Rev. Marcos Ramos, O.P., B.A., M.A., MDiv, ThM, PhD. cand. (St. Michael’s College)

Sor (Sister) Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695) was a Mexican nun and poet who was not only an important writer of the Baroque period, but also considered the first great Latin American writer. Her remarkable life and work was praised during her lifetime, being called The Tenth Muse in a time when scholarship in women was not encouraged nor appreciated. Sor Juana has been praised for centuries for her literary skills, with recent scholarship dedicated to the theological nature of her work and her contribution to feminist issues.

This presentation will concentrate on Sor Juana's villancicos (carols), a literary form very popular in the New Spain and used in the Church as a didactic tool to evangelize through poetry and music. We will present different examples of Sor Juana's villancicos in order to analyze her theology and her views about the Christian tradition as well as her views as a woman and a Mexican. The discussion about Sor Juana's works will also be related to the importance of art in liturgy and the unique and fascinating poetry and music of colonial Latin America. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011. 3:15 - 4:30 pm

The Dangers of Moral Certitude and the Challenge to Prayer
by Prof. Rav Roy D. Tanenbaum (The Canadian Yeshiva & Rabbinical School)

"Most of the greatest evil that man has inflicted upon man comes through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false" (Bertrand Russell, "Ideas that Have Harmed Mankind" in Unpopular Essays [1950], p. 149).

Faith without doubt leads to fanaticism (too often anyway). Yet doubt without faith leads to nihilism. And between these two great poles, where is there room to pray? One can masquerade before others, but not before the Holy One whose seal is truth. Neither can one pray as if. So, here, in a nutshell, is one of the looming liturgical issues of the day, the theo-practical issue of prayer in our houses of worship.

In this session, we will go to some of the traditional Jewish liturgy itself for its own internal response.



Rav Roy D. Tanenbaum, Rosh HaYeshiva (President & Vice-Chancellor) and Bible Faculty, has been the force behind the conceptualization and development of the Canadian Yeshiva. Currently serving the Rabbinical Assembly as Dean of its School for Shamashim, he is also past president of the Rabbinical Assembly, Canadian Region. Rav Tanenbaum maintains a scholarly interest in the structure of the Hebrew Bible and the development of Jewish law. He has served on the faculty of the University of Miami in Ohio and Mount Royal College in Calgary. In 2009, the rav retired from Beth Tzedec Congregation where he served as Rosh Yeshiva of the Life-Long Learning Centre and as responding rav for the "Kosher Korner," completing 40 years in the pulpit. With many articles to his credit, in 1998, the University of Calgary Press published his book, Prisoner 88—The Man in Stripes, and his commentary on the Shabbat Morning Service, Rinat Dodim, A Song of Lovers, graces the pews in many synagogues. The rav studied in Yeshivat ITRI and Yeshivat Etz Chaim in Jerusalem. He has received numerous honours for his work in the community, including two doctorates. AB, Cornell University; MAHL and s'mikha.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011. 3:15 - 4:30 pm

The Sacramentality of Preaching
by Prof. Rev. Dr. Paul Scott Wilson (Emmanuel College)

The fragmentation of the theological curriculum typically has left liturgy and homiletics not only as separate disciplines, but also as disciplines that have relatively little to do with each other. This paper will explore Calvin's notion of the sacramentality of preaching as one way of holding the liturgy and homiletics together.


Rev. Dr. Paul Scott Wilson is Professor of Homiletics at Emmanuel College, an ordained minister of the United Church of Canada and a past president of the Academy of Homiletics. A world-renowned scholar in the theology, theory and practice of preaching, his most recent publications include Setting Words on Fire (2008), The Practice of Preaching (1995, 2007), Preaching and Homiletical Theory (2004), and The Four Pages of the Sermon (1999). He was the general editor of The New Interpreter’s Handbook of Preaching, which was selected by Preaching magazine as the 2010 Preaching Book of the Year. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011. 3:15 - 4:30 pm

Ritual Dimensions of The Gospel of Truth
by Dora Kritzmanic, M.Div., M.A., B.Mus., Phd student (St Michael's College)

The Gospel of Truth (Codex Jung f.VIIIv – XVIv / f.XIXr-XXIIr) from the Nag Hammadi find is a Coptic text representing a 2nd century Valentinian document.  Mostly overlooked by studies on the ritual practices of the heterodox communities of the first centuries of Early Christianity, nevertheless the text contains several clues regarding its unique genre and ritual setting.  A survey of these clues, along with the consideration of internal and external evidence, points beyond the use of metaphoric language suggesting instead an organic connection between The Gospel of Truth and a specific Christian Gnostic practice, the ritual of initiation.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011. 3:15 - 4:30 pm

The Cross and Eucharistic Sacrifice: 
An Ecumenical Attempt
by Brett Salkeld, Thd student (Regis College)

Agreement regarding Christ's Eucharistic Presence has been one of the great victories of the ecumenical movement.  The idea of Eucharist as sacrifice, however, has proved much more intransigent.  The presentation plans to look at the cross, its relationship to the Old Testament cult and the Christian Eucharist, in the hope of finding new ways forward on this question.  Do certain soteriologies make the idea of Eucharistic sacrifice more or less accessible?  Do some distort its meaning, while other are more amenable?  What do the prophets critiques of temple worship tell us about Christ's sacrifice?  How does the understanding of the Church as Christ's body open up our understanding?  These and other questions will be investigated and input from various ecumenical partners sought.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011. 3:15 - 4:30 pm

Oremus et pro perfidis judaeis
On Anti-Semitism, Israel, and the People of God in Christian Liturgies 
by Prof. Pablo Argárate Dr. phil., Dr. theol. (Tübingen) (St. Michael’s College)


This lecture discusses the highly relevant and polemical question of the different perceptions of the Jews and Israel offered in the diverse Christian liturgies from the first up to the twenty-first centuries, in the eastern (Syrian, Armenian, Ethiopian, Coptic) and western (Roman, Gallican, Ambrosian, and Mozarabic as well as Reformed) traditions, taking into account liturgical texts from the Liturgy of the Hours, Baptism, and especially the Eucharist, with particular attention to the Eucharistic Prayers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011. 3:15 - 4:30 pm

Back to the Future: Recreating Historic Liturgies
by Douglas Cowling, MA - Musical Dramaturge for the Tallis Choir



Many early music ensembles now recreate the musical sequence of historic liturgies. Concert audiences can hear the masterpieces of Western music in the context for which they were written. But what do these experiments tell liturgists about the cultural forces which gave liturgies their particular shape at a particular moment in history?  This illustrated seminar will discuss recent concert reconstructions of two contrasting liturgies: a Venetian high mass from 1605 with the music of Gabrieli, and a festival Lutheran mass from 1745 Leipzig with the music of J.S. Bach. The results challenge many assumptions about Counter-Reformation and Lutheran worship.

Douglas Cowling is a writer, musician and educator in Toronto who has written on the relationship between medieval liturgy and English religious drama. He is the co-author of Sharing the Banquet: Liturgical Renewal in Your Parish and a contributor to Let Us Keep the Feast. He edited two collections of global music for liturgical use in Let Us Make Music Together, and his own music has been published by CHC in the USA. His children’s symphony show, Tchaikovsky Discovers America was recently performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra. He is Director of Music at St. Philip’s Church, Etobicoke, and musical dramaturge for the Tallis Choir of Toronto.