Liturgy Can Help Suffering People

21 March 2015

Liturgy Can Help Suffering People


Leuven, March 25 2015 – On Friday March 27 Léon van Ommen, assistant in Practical Theology at the Evangelical Theological Faculty (ETF) in Leuven, will defend his doctoral thesis about the relationship between suffering and liturgy. The central question of his research is how suffering people find themselves acknowledged in liturgy. At the heart of his narrative research are interviews with people who have experienced major negative life events. In this way he connects a pastoral approach with liturgical theology.

The doctoral candidate states that worship services should give space to suffering people by renewed attention for lament in liturgy. Apart from that God’s suffering with people should be emphasized as much as God’s suffering on behalf of people.

On the basis of the interviews Van Ommen argues that suffering and liturgy connect primarily through the Eucharist, prayers of intercession, songs, and Scripture readings. He reflects on these liturgical elements using the concept of remembrance, a key concept in theology and liturgy, and particularly in the Eucharist.

Moreover, the context in which the worship service takes place is crucial for the liturgical experience, Van Ommen says. He advocates warm liturgical communities in which suffering people feel acknowledged.

Léon van Ommen is practical theologian, specializing in liturgy, ritual, and narrative research. In addition to his role as assistant in practical theology, he coordinates the ETF Open University program. He is member of an international Anglican church near Brussels.

The defense will take place on Friday March 27 at 2pm in the chapel of the ETF Leuven.

L. van Ommen, “Human Tears, Divine Tears: A Narrative Analysis of Anglican Liturgy in Relation to Stories of Suffering People” (PhD diss., Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, 2015)

Promotor: Dr. René Erwich
Co-promotor: Prof. Dr. Canon Paul. F. Bradshaw (University of Notre Dame)

About ETF
in Leuven are teaching, researching, and public service. At this moment 51 students from 15 countries are enrolled in the doctoral program.

Open Days

Open Days

An open day is the moment to taste the atmosphere at the ETF and to get to know more about our educational programs. You are provided with information about...

Read more