Mary E. McGann

Dr. Mary E. McGann
Address1712 Euclid Avenue
Berkeley, CA

Associate Professor of Liturgy and Music, Franciscan School of Theology
Associate Professor of Liturgy and Music, Graduate Theological Union

B.Mus., Manhattanville College,
M.A., LaSalle University,
M.A., University of Notre Dame,
Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union,

Dr. Mary McGann, a Religious of the Sacred Heart, joined the FST faculty in 1996 upon completion of her Ph.D. in Worship and the Arts at the GTU, with a concentration in ethnomusicology at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to a strong academic background in liturgy and music, Mary brings significant pastoral experience, including nine years of service as Director of Liturgy at Loyola University, Chicago.

Mary’s teaching and writing place particular emphasis on the importance of cultural diversity in the church’s worship practice, and the challenge of appreciating and fostering the modes of liturgical and musical expression appropriate to each culture. Her courses at the Franciscan School explore the theology and practice of Christian worship, the relationship of liturgy and spirituality, processes of liturgical inculturation, women and worship, and liturgical leadership. She is a member of the Core Doctoral Faculty of the GTU in Liturgical Studies, teaching primarily in the area of Ritual Studies in liturgical scholarship.

Mary is the author of A Precious Fountain: Music in the Worship of an African American Catholic Community (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2004), Exploring Music as Worship and Theology (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2002), as well as several articles. She has given workshops on liturgy and music in a variety of pastoral and academic settings in the U.S. and abroad. Mary served on the translation committee for the ICEL Liturgical Psalter (Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1994) and on the editorial committee for the Hymnal for the Hours (Chicago: GIA, 1989). She is a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy, the Catholic Academy of Liturgy, the Societas Liturgica, and the Society for Ethnomusicology.
Selected Course Descriptions
Liturgy and Spirituality

This course examines the interrelatedness of liturgy, spirituality, and culture from a Roman Catholic perspective in an ecumenical context. It explores the origins and historical evolution of Christian worship—including the forms, patterns, and language—as well as to its contemporary practice. Special focus is given to contemporary concerns such as the inculturation of liturgy; the relationships of worship, social justice, and the mission of the church; issues of inclusion; and the relationship of liturgy and spirituality in specific ethno-cultural settings.

The Art of Liturgical Prayer

This course explores in depth the patterns of both Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours, and how these patterns can be embodied by assemblies in ways that are inclusive, dynamic, and sensitive to the challenge of a multi-cultural church. Focus is given to the role of music, proclamation, environment, and various modes of ritual action in the church’s worship, as well as to the relationship between liturgical celebration and the church’s mission in the world. Students are involved in the preparation/celebration of the weekly liturgy at the Franciscan School and assist in the coordination of various ministries.

Ritual Studies as Liturgical Studies

This seminar explores the changing understandings of “ritual” in contemporary scholarship in the humanities and the social sciences, and the implications of this evolution for liturgical scholarship. Students engage in critical analysis of various theories of ritual, as well as research into new developments in this emerging sub-field of liturgical studies.

Other courses taught:

  • Proseminar in Liturgical Methods
  • Music as Ritual Performance
  • Research in Music and Liturgy
  • Liturgy and Inculturation, (with Eva Lumas)
  • Advanced Preaching and Prayer Leadership, (with Ken Lavarone)


  • “Timely Wisdom, Prophetic Challenge: Rediscovering Clarence R.J. Rivers’ Vision of Effective Worship,” Worship 76:1, January, 2002. 2–24.
  • “The Emergence of African American Catholic Worship,” co-authored with Eva Marie Lumas, U. S. Catholic Historian, 2:10, Spring, 2001. 27–65.
  • “Hymn and Anaphora in Early Christian Liturgy,” Ecclesia Orans, 17:3, 2000. 407–43.
  • 33 articles for Worship Music: A Concise Dictionary, Edward Foley, General Editor. (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2000).
  • “Why Do Congregations Sing?” co-authored with Edward Foley, Proceedings of the North American Academy of Liturgy, Annual Meeting, January, 1990.
  • “Music and the Eucharistic Prayer” (co-authored with Edward Foley), Assembly 12:3, 1986.

Papers / Presentations

  • “Liturgical Ethnography: Source of Healing in a Divided Church,” 20th Congress of the Societas Liturgica, Dresden, Germany, August 2005.
  • “Embracing the Diversity within the Church,” 28th Annual Convention, National Association of Pastoral Musicians, Milwaukee, WI, June 30, 2005
  • “Interpreting the Musical Experience of a Liturgical Community.” Liturgical Hermeneutics Study Group, North American Academy of Liturgy, Annual Meeting, New York, NY, January 4, 2004.
  • “Liturgical Ethnography and African American Catholic Worship.” African American Worship Traditions Study Group, North American Academy of Liturgy, Annual Meeting, New York, NY, January 3, 2004.
  • “Effective Worship as Soulful Worship: The Enduring Legacy of Clarence R. J. Rivers.” North American Academy of Liturgy, Annual Meeting, St. Louis, January 2001.
  • “Rhythms of the Body, Rhythms of the Spirit. A Further Look at Gospel Music in Catholic Liturgy.” Society for Ethnomusicology, Annual Meeting, Bloomington, IN. October, 1998.
  • “Why do Congregations Sing?” North American Academy of Liturgy, Annual Meeting, St. Louis, January, 1990.
  • “Music and the Eucharistic Prayer.” North American Academy of Liturgy, Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, January 1985.


  • A Precious Fountain: Music in the Worship of an African American Catholic Community, Virgil Michel Series (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2004)
  • Exploring Music as Worship and Theology: Research in Liturgical Practice. Essays in American Liturgy Series (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2002).
  • Music and the Eucharistic Prayer (co-authored with Edward Foley), American Essays in Liturgy Series. (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1988).

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