Thursday, December 01, 2005

Keep in Mind: Msgr. Frederick R. McManus

Msgr. Frederick McManusIn this year commemorating the 40th anniversary of the closing of Vatican II, the Church mourns the loss of one of the great leaders of the liturgical movement in the United States. Msgr. Frederick McManus died on the First Sunday of Advent, the first day of the Year of Grace 2006. He was an excellent scholar who never lost sight of the purpose of scholarship--to bring all God's people into deeper union with Christ through the Christian life of prayer, work, and action.

When we celebrate the holy liturgy in union with the word of God made flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ, we first hear God's call and then react, respond, reply, with our faith and with our piety. Our liturgy is incomplete if seen only as a human effort of offering, giving, praising; it must include the act of God, making holy, giving life above all human power, sharing the life of Christ. Neither the holy scripture nor the liturgical celebration in which it is enshrined are or may be divorced from our daily life of toil and play. There is no ivory tower for the worshiper who hears God's word; the word of God and the fruits of the liturgical celebration must penetrate our thoughts and deeds, our every social relationship, our place in the society of others.
--Frederick McManus, Address at the National Liturgical Week, Oklahoma City, 1961

Msgr. McManus was instrumental in establishing the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions which is a consulting body for the United States bishops made up of diocesan directors and commissions for liturgy. The FDLC created an annual award in the name of Msgr. McManus in order to recognize the great liturgical leaders of our time. See the FDLC's special website dedicated to his work.

Below are excerpts adapted from a letter from the administration of The Catholic University of America.

Reverend Monsignor Frederick R. McManus died on November 27, 2005. He was Professor Emeritus of the School of Canon Law and former Academic Vice President at The Catholic University of America.

Msgr. McManus was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, on February 8, 1923, and was a priest for the Archdiocese of Boston. Msgr. McManus studied canon law at The Catholic University of America where he received the J.C.B. degree in 1952, the J.C.L. in 1953, and the J.C.D. in 1954. Msgr. McManus began his teaching career in 1954 and continued to teach until 1997.

Msgr. McManus was well-known for his contributions to the liturgical renewal in the Catholic Church and to the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue. He served as consultor to the Pontifical Preparatory Commission on the Sacred Liturgy for the Second Vatican Council and was a peritus at the Council. He also was a consultor to the Consilium for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy that resulted from the Council. Msgr. McManus also served a term of ten years as the Director of the Secretariat of the Committee on the Liturgy of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Msgr. McManus also held membership on the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, the Consultation on Common Texts, and the English Language Liturgical Consultation. He further served as a consultor to the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity and was a member of the Catholic-Orthodox Bilateral Commission and the International Joint Commission for Catholic-Orthodox Theological Dialogue.

Msgr. McManus was a prolific scholar, authoring eleven books and hundreds of scholarly and popular articles. He also served as editor of The Jurist for more than 40 years. Msgr. McManus received the Pax Christi Award from Saint John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota, as well as numerous other awards, including the John Courtney Murray Award from the Catholic Theological Society of America in 1990. Msgr. McManus was a member of the American Association of University Professors; Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities; Canon Law Society of America; Catholic Theological Society of America; Catholic Commission on Cultural and Intellectual Affairs; Consociatio Internationalalis Studio Juris Canonici Promovendo; Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art, and Architecture; The Liturgical Conference; North American Academy of Ecumenists; North American Academy of Liturgy; and Societas Liturgia.