Wednesday, November 25, 2015. 3:15 - 4:30 pm

Play, Symbol & Festival
in Worship Design

by  David H. Pereyra, MArch, MA, PhD. OCAD University & St Michael’s College University



The German philosopher, Hans-Georg Gadamer throughout his work asserts, “The experience of the beautiful in art is a form of knowing.” To confirm this argument, he works on three basic concepts of his philosophical aesthetics: “play,” “symbol,” and “festival.” In this presentation Pereyra will explore the application of those concepts to the design of Christian churches. Sacred spaces are capable of moving and transforming us because of their particular language of beauty. He will argue that by designing a sacred space with Gadamer’s concepts of play, symbol, and festival in mind, we can enhance our knowledge of beauty through the art of liturgical design. He will explain Gadamer’s three concepts, describe how they can applied to the design of Christian churches, and consider their potential effects. The reality of beauty, as a transcendental quality of being, invites one to enter the world of contemplation wherein beauty gives herself freely and without personal regard. The beauty of the liturgy and the place where it is celebrated must converge in an experience that transforms worship space into Sacred Space.

David H. Pereyra is a seasonal professor at the Faculty of Theology at the University of St Michael’s College in Toronto, and the coordinator of the Liturgy Seminar, at the Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto. He has a degree as an architect at the University of Buenos Aires, a Master in Arts in Theology, and a degree of Doctor in Philosophy of Theology, both at the University of St Michael’s College. For several years he has been a lecturer of Church Design at the Catholic University in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has presented his work in international conferences in Argentina, Austria, Belgium and United States. Right now, he works at the Inclusive Design Research Centre, at Ontario College of Art University in Toronto (OCAD U). His research examines inclusivity and accessibility throughout welcoming space.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015. 4:15 - 5:30 pm

Music, servant of text? Liturgical deliberations at Vatican II

by Dr Michael O’Connor. Senior Lecturer. St. Michael’s College University


Michael O’Connor is a Senior Lecturer at the University of St. Michael’s College. His areas of expertise include Cajetan, music and liturgy. Dr. O’Connor’s academic scholarship and practical music-making overlap in the theory and practice of liturgical music.  He has recently published, "The Liturgical Use of the Organ in the Sixteenth Century: the Judgments of Cajetan and the Dominican Order" and has a monograph due out next year on Cajetan's biblical exegesis. In addition to teaching in the college undergraduate programs at St. Michael’s he runs a weekly Singing Club on campus and directs the USMC Schola Cantorum. Dr. O’Connor is a board member of the Royal School of Church Music Canada.

In the context of Christian worship, music is often said to be a "servant of the text" (or a "servant of the rite"). This is found across denominations and centuries -- e.g., among Calvinist reformers and twentieth century popes. This presentation will first of all consider the implications of this assertion and then the surprising decision, at the Second Vatican Council, to omit it from the Constitution on the Liturgy. The presentation will conclude with some reflections on the consequences of this decision, which remain to be worked out in practice.