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Introduction of Berakah Recipient Virgil C. Funk Virgil C. Funk is president emeritus of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, priest of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, a founding member of North American Academy of Liturgy. He is retired and residing in Portland, Oregon.


he academy and the Berakah award this year honor a remarkable man: Gilbert Ostdiek, Order of Friars Minor, now in his eightieth year. A Catholic raised and rooted in the soil of Nebraska, Gil reflects the best of the Franciscan spirituality and scholarship. He obtained his license and doctorate in theology in Rome during the Second Vatican Council, doing postdoctoral studies at Harvard and Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley.1 As we celebrate fifty years of the Constitution on the Liturgy, it is fitting to honor someone who was one of twelve priest-students chosen for an experimental celebration and assessment of the proposed rite of concelebration, before it was finalized. Gil—you are living history, indeed! Gil’s scholarly interests are many and varied; the titles of his writings reflect a broad pastoral—may I say, Franciscan—concern for the liturgical renewal. Quoting Kathleen Hughes, his good friend and editor of the Festschrift in his honor, Gil has written . . . about the sacramental mission of the Church . . . crafting prayer texts, liturgical presiding, ritual process and human journey, ritual and symbol, priesthood, concelebration, reconciliation, the role of Sunday, human situations in need of ritual, marriage, the ordination of woman, to name a few of his preoccupations.2 Central to all of these is Gil’s interest in liturgy-based catechesis—his original ideas are formulated in his book Catechesis For Liturgy, adapting the theory of Thomas Groome of attending, reflecting, and applying.3 Gil created a catechesis for adult learning, examining the array of languages used in liturgy: word, ritual action, time, and space. As Gabe Huck notes, Gil did a most important and difficult thing: without losing touch with the desired unity of the liturgical experience, he brought a fresh way of “separating and studying its elements.”4

North American Academy of Liturgy Proceedings 2014  
North American Academy of Liturgy Proceedings 2014  

The North American Academy of Liturgy (NAAL) ( is an ecumenical and interreligious association of liturgical sc...