I am a priest of Liverpool Roman Catholic Archdiocese, holding postgraduate qualifications in the field of liturgical studies from both Pontifical and secular academies. In 1996, after several years of parish experience I became Director of the Archdiocese's Department for Pastoral Formation. In 2003 I was appointed to Hope as Lecturer in Catholic Studies, and as Associate Professor in 2009. I am Director of the Hope Institute of Pastoral Theology, and am closely involved in the liturgical life of the Roman Catholic Church in this country: I am a member of the Liturgy Committee of the English and Welsh Roman Catholic Catholic Conference of Bishops, and I chair its Liturgical Formation Subcommittee. I also serve as Roman Catholic observer on the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England and am a Committee Member of the Society of Liturgical Study,
Research Interests: My primary research interest is the Roman Catholic Church - and especially its liturgy. One of my key concerns is to look beyond formal liturgical texts and to ask what sense participants make of the celebrations in which they participate. I explored this area in detail in my ground-breaking study of the celebration of first Holy Communion in Liverpool (First Communion: Ritual, Church and Popular Religious Identity. Ashgate, 2007). Ultimately, I am interested in developing ways to understand and articulate the gap that so often emerges between formal liturgy and life, but also creatively to explore ways of bridging that gap. My approach, therefore, is strongly pastoral in nature, as is reflected in my work as a member of the liturgical committees of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.
Academic Qualifications :2003 PhD (University of Birmingham); 1987 Licentiate in Sacred Liturgy (Pontifical Liturgical Institute of San Anslemo, Rome); 1980 BA (Hons) in Music (Liverpool University)
Professional Associations: North American Academy of Liturgy (Christian Initiation Seminar); Society for Liturgical Study - Committee member without portfolio since 2010; British Sociological Association, Sociology of Religion Study Group; Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain.