The Latin Expression and Theological Meaning
of Selected Collects

of the Lent and Easter seasons
from the Missale Romanum 2008

Pontifical Liturgy Institute

optional course offered in English: 94170 (3 ECTS):

Taught byDaniel McCarthy

Brief description

This course comprises a detailed study of selected collects of the Lent and Easter seasons from the Missale Romanum using the methodology of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute. The Latin expression, structure and dynamic of the collects will be made clear and four pairs of interpretative keys will be used to appreciate the meaning of the collects in their liturgical-ritual context. Students will grow in their ability and confidence to understand the Latin texts of these prayers and render them into standard English, and to discuss their theological meaning.


By the end of the course the student will be able

  1. to follow a method presented in understanding and interpreting a different collect during each session,
  2. to apply the given method to one named Latin collect, accounting for its Latin expression, and rendering it into standard English,
  3. to explain the principles behind the four pairs of interpretative keys:

    anamnesis (narration – ritual programme);
    epiclesis (presentation – invocation);
    eschatology – (fulfillment – moral life and personal maturation).
    theosis (a personal way of living in freedom and love).

  4. to interpret the named Latin collect in its liturgical-ritual context according to these four pairs of interpretative keys

Structure of the course

During each session we shall follow a determined method in examining together a collect. New elements of this method will be presented each session according to two major areas:

First, the Latin expression of the collect will be considered to understand the function of each word in the sentence and the literary structure of the collect, its timeline of events, the interpretative categories of its clauses and its presentation of the divine human exchange.

Second, the interpretation of the collect begins with an understanding of its liturgical-ritual context and continues with an application of the four pairs of interpretative keys to distern their expression in the collect

Learning activities

  1. The instructor will present the elements of the method gradually each session, beginning first with an analysis of the Latin text and literary structure of the prayer, and then continuing with the interpretation of the prayer’s liturgical-ritual context and the four pairs of interpretative keys.
  2. A student will be asked to assist in the presentation of each collect guided by the instructor, and all students will participate in applying gradually more elements of this method to a different collect each session.
  3. At the beginning of the course each student will select an agreed upon collect from the Missale Romanum. As each element of the method is presented, the student will apply it to the named collect during private study


The course is scheduled for Tuesday afternoons of the Spring semester 2017, which begins on Monday XX February and continues through Friday XX May, followed by the exam period. Sessions begin at 15:30 on each of the following days:

XX February, 2018
XX March
(Easter break)
XX April
XX May


Hours: 15:30-17:05

First session 15:30-16:15

Break: 16:15-16:20

Second session 16:20-17:05

Office Hours

Please do not phone the instructor. Rather email him at danielmccarthyosb AT mac DOT com.

He is available outside of class time by appointment.



♦ Latin-English dictionary such as D.P. SIMPSON, Cassell’s English Dictionary, New York-Oxford 1968; or C.T. LEWIS – C. SHORT, A Latin Dictionary, Oxford UP, Oxford – New York 1879 (or later reprint).

♦ Appreciating the CollectAn Irenic Methodology, ed. J.G. Leachman – D.P. McCarthy (Documenta rerum ecclesiasticarum instaurata, Liturgiam aestimare: Appreciating the Liturgy 1), St. Michael’s Abbey Press, Farnborough 2008.

♦ MCCARTHY, D.P. – J.G. LEACHMAN, Listen to the WordCommentaries on Selected Opening Prayers of Sundays and Feasts, The Tablet, London 2009.

♦ FOSTER, R. – D.P. MCCARTHY, Ossa Latinitatis Sola ad mentem Reginaldi rationemqueThe mere bones of Latin according to the thought and system of Reginald (Latinitatis Corpus 1), Catholic University of America Press, Washington DC

also recommended:

♦ Transition in the Easter VigilBecoming Christians. Paschali in vigilia Christiani nominis fieri, ed. D.P. McCarthy – J.G. Leachman (Documenta rerum ecclesiasticarum instaurata, Liturgiam aestimare: Appreciating the Liturgy 2), St. Michael’s Abbey Press, Farnborough 2011.

♦ MCCARTHY, D., “Seeing a Reflection, Considering Appearances: The History, Theology and Literary Composition of the Missale Romanum at a Time of Vernacular Reflection”, Questions Liturgiques / Studies in Liturgy 94 (2013) 109-143.

♦ RUSSELL, N., The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition (Oxford Early Christian Studies), Oxford UP, Oxford 2006.

♦ REGAN, P., “The Collect in Context”, in Appreciating the Collect, ed. Leachman, St. Michael’s Abbey Press, Farnborough 2008.

Enter an inflected form of your word in the field under the heading “Dictionary Entry Lookup”, located in the column on the right.
Parsing tool with Lewis and Short Dictionary♦ LEWIS and SHORT dictionary available here: Enter the dictionary entry for your word in the field under the heading “Dictionary Entry Lookup”, located in the column on the right.


Preparation: At the beginning of the course the student select one of the prayers that we shall consider during this course. As we progress through each step of analysis and interpretation, the student applies each to the chosen prayer. For the exam the student is to have a thorough knowledge of the Latin expression of the prayer and be able to explain the function of each word in the prayer if needed. Such knowledge, however, is foundational to the discussion during the oral exam. The student is to prepare an interpretation of the chosen prayer according to all four interpretative keys.

Explanation: During the oral exam the instructor chooses one of the four interpretative keys. The student both demonstrates an understanding of the theory involved in the chosen interpretative key and then applies the interpretative key to the selected collect in its liturgical-ritual context. Only if there is doubt, will the instructor ask the student about the function of any Latin word of the collect and its literary composition.

Criteria for evaluation: Both the regular participation of the student in class discussions and a final oral exam are assessed based on the following criteria:

  1. a clear understanding of the function of each word and the literary structure of the Latin collect,
  2. a clearly developed presentation of the selected interpretative key,
  3. a well considered application of the selected interpretative key to the text of the collect in its liturgical-ritual context.

This is an open book exam, so students may bring their notes and printed resources. The exam is timed, so the student is advised to prepare the material well and then to focus on the essential elements for presentation. The instructor may ask questions to help the student provide a fuller response.



Academic program

The program of studies, course descriptions and calendar for the academic year 2015-2016 is available for download here.


This course is offered in English at the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy housed at:

Piazza Cavalieri di Malta, 5
00153 Roma, Italia

See map below.

Collect Prayers of Sundays in Lent and of Easter

We shall consider thirteen of the following possible collect prayers for Sundays in Lent and of Easter


Concéde nobis, omnípotens Deus,

ut, per ánnua quadragesimális exercítia sacraménti,

et ad intellegéndum Christi proficiámus arcánum,

et efféctus eius digna conversatióne sectémur.

Per Dóminum.


Deus, qui nobis diléctum Fílium tuum audíre praecepísti,

verbo tuo intérius nos páscere dignéris,

ut, spiritáli purificáto intúitu,

glóriae tuae laetémur aspéctu.

Per Dóminum.


Deus, ómnium misericordiárum et totíus bonitátis auctor,

qui peccatórum remédia in ieiúniis,

oratiónibus et eleemósynis demonstrásti,

hanc humilitátis nostrae confessiónem propítius intuére,

ut, qui inclinámur consciéntia nostra,

tua semper misericórdia sublevémur.

Per Dóminum.


Deus, qui per Verbum tuum

humáni géneris reconciliatiónem mirabíliter operáris,

praesta, quaésumus, ut pópulus christiánus

prompta devotióne et álacri fide

ad ventúra sollémnia váleat festináre.

Per Dóminum.


Quaésumus, Dómine Deus noster, ut in illa caritáte,

qua Fílius tuus díligens mundum morti se trádidit,

inveniámur ipsi, te opitulánte, alácriter ambulántes.

Per Dóminum.


Omnípotens sempitérne Deus,

qui humáno géneri, ad imitándum humilitátis exémplum,

Salvatórem nostrum carnem súmere,

et crucem subíre fecísti,

concéde propítius,

ut et patiéntiae ipsíus habére documénta

et resurrectiónis consórtia mereámur.

Qui tecum.

Ad Missam in die

Deus, qui hodiérna die, per Unigénitum tuum,

aeternitátis nobis áditum, devícta morte, reserásti,

da nobis, quaésumus,

ut, qui resurrectiónis domínicae sollémnia cólimus,

per innovatiónem tui Spíritus

in lúmine vitae resurgámus.

Per Dóminum.


Deus misericórdiae sempitérnae,

qui in ipso paschális festi recúrsu

fidem sacrátae tibi plebis accéndis,

auge grátiam quam dedísti,

ut digna omnes intellegéntia comprehéndant,

quo lavácro ablúti, quo spíritu regeneráti,

quo sánguine sunt redémpti.

Per Dóminum.


Semper exsúltet pópulus tuus, Deus,

renováta ánimae iuventúte,

ut, qui nunc laetátur in adoptiónis se glóriam restitútum,

resurrectiónis diem spe certae gratulatiónis exspéctet.

Per Dóminum.


Omnípotens sempitérne Deus,

deduc nos ad societátem caeléstium gaudiórum,

ut eo pervéniat humílitas gregis,

quo procéssit fortitúdo pastóris.

Per Dóminum.


Omnípotens sempitérne Deus,

semper in nobis paschále pérfice sacraméntum,

ut, quos sacro baptísmate dignátus es renováre,

sub tuae protectiónis auxílio multos fructus áfferant,

et ad aetérnae vitae gáudia perveníre concédas.

Per Dóminum.


Fac nos, omnípotens Deus, hos laetítiae dies,

quos in honórem Dómini resurgéntis exséquimur,

afféctu sédulo celebráre,

ut quod recordatióne percúrrimus

semper in ópere teneámus.

Per Dóminum.

Ad Missam in Vigilia

Deus, cuius Fílius hódie in caelos,

Apóstolis astántibus, ascéndit,

concéde nobis, quaésumus,

ut secúndum eius promíssionem

et ille nobíscum semper in terris

et nos cum eo in caelo vívere mereámur.

Qui tecum.

Ad Missam in die

Fac nos, omnípotens Deus, sanctis exsultáre gáudiis,

et pia gratiárum actióne laetári,

quia Christi Fílii tui ascénsio est nostra provéctio,

et quo procéssit glória cápitis, eo spes vocátur et córporis.

Per Dóminum.


Concéde, quaésumus, omnípotens Deus,

ut, qui hodiérna die

Unigénitum tuum Redemptórem nostrum

ad caelos ascendísse crédimus,

ipsi quoque mente in caeléstibus habitémus.

Qui tecum.


Supplicatiónibus nostris, Dómine, adésto propítius,

ut, sicut humáni géneris Salvatórem

tecum in tua crédimus maiestáte,

ita eum usque ad consummatiónem saéculi

manére nobíscum,

sicut ipse promísit, sentiámus.

Qui tecum.

Ad Missam in Vigilia

Omnípotens sempitérne Deus,

qui paschále sacraméntum

quinquagínta diérum voluísti mystério continéri,

praesta, ut, géntium facta dispersióne,

divisiónes linguárum ad unam confessiónem tui nóminis

caelésti múnere congregéntur.

Per Dominum.


Praesta, quaésumus, omnípotens Deus,

ut claritátis tuae super nos splendor effúlgeat,

et lux tuae lucis corda eórum,

qui per tuam grátiam sunt renáti,

Sancti Spíritus illustratióne confírmet.

Per Dominum.

Ad Missam in die

Deus, qui sacraménto festivitátis hodiérnae

univérsam Ecclésiam tuam

in omni gente et natióne sanctíficas,

in totam mundi latitúdinem Spíritus Sancti dona defúnde,

et, quod inter ipsa evangélicae praedicatiónis exórdia

operáta est divína dignátio,

nunc quoque per credéntium corda perfúnde.

Per Dóminum.

Schedule in detail

Here is the subject matter for each class session

Session 1: 16 February 2016
We shall examine the collect for the Third Sunday in Lent

We shall meet one another.
The instructor will introduce the course, and explain the method of exam.
We shall also begin our method of understanding a collect using the following steps:

  1. write the prayer out
  2. read the prayer outloud
  3. underline the action words
  4. the ( relative pronoun opens a clause:
    1. where is its verb
    2. where does the clause end )
    3. how does the relative function in its own clause
    4. identify its gender, number and antecedent
  5. the [ ut opens a clause:
    1. where is its verb
    2. where does the clause end ]
  6. do the same with other clauses
  7. put parentheses around ( participial clauses )
  8. identify the prepositions and their objects
  9. indicate verbs of M&M
    1. giving rise to an object form functioning as a subject
    2. of an infinitive verb
  10. draw a tree showing how the dependencies of clauses
  11. draw a timeline of the actions and goals
  12. establish the times of verbs and their English equivalents
  13. give a draft rendering of the prayer in clear English
  14. discern the interpretative categories of the prayer
    1. Latin text,
    2. function in the Latin sentence,
    3. interpretative category (see De Zan)
      1. address
      2. amplification
        1. relative clause
        2. in apposition
      3. petition
        1. imperative
        2. independent subjunctive
      4. motor driving the prayer to its conclusion
        1. participial phrase, active or passive
        2. relative clause
        3. ablative absolute
      5. purpose expressed in 14 ways
      6. goal (ad + object)

Session 2: 23 February
We shall examine the collect for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

We shall examine the four participles:

  1. contemporaneous active
  2. antecedent passive (antecedent active – deponent)
  3. futurity
  4. passive necessity

We shall begin to apply a basic semiotic analysis to the prayers asking the following two questions, being mindful of both active and passive events:

  1. Who does it
  2. Who does what to whom

From this analysis, we shall develop an interpretation of the divine-human exchange in the prayer.

Session 3: 1 March
We shall examine the collect for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

We shall examine the 14 ways to express purpose (Cf.: Appreciating the Collect). Of these, we shall give specific attention to the construction of ut followed by the subjunctive. We shall examine the full time frame of verbs in the first and second subjunctive.

We shall consider the construction of goals, especially the preposition ad followed by an object.

Session 4: 8 March
We shall consider the collect for the Fifth Sunday in Lent

We shall examine the construction of the Ablative Absolute and its role in the sentence, and how to render it into clear English.

We shall also consider the performative steps of a collect type prayer:

1. invitation to pray
2. silence for personal prayer
3. prayer offered by the minister
4. ratificaiton of the prayer by the assembly: “Amen”.

Session 5: 15 March
We shall consider the collect for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

We shall consider the mode of speaking in indirect discourse, and the function of object sentences.

We shall also consider the ritual programme of the collect as the conclusion of the entrance rites and preparation to listen to the Word and to continue the procession toward shared communion. For this, you may wish to consult the chapter: REGAN, P., “The Collect in Context”, in Appreciating the Collect, ed. Leachman, St. Michael’s Abbey Press, Farnborough 2008.

Session 6: 5 April
We shall consider the collect for the Sixth Sunday in Lent

We shall conclude our presentation of the Latin expression of the collects by considering the function of the gerund in the prayer.

We shall next begin the second half of the course which will focus on the four interpretative keys for understanding a ritual action, or in this case a collect offered in its ritual context. We present each of these four interpretative keys as a pair:

anamnesis is understood according to the presentation of Prof. De Zan in terms of the narrative of the saving works of God and celebrating the ritual programme

Epiclesis is understood in terms of the presentation of one’s self to God in prayer at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and the invocation of God. As we process to meet Christ the one coming, this double procession leads to an encounter in which the human person is changed in the following two ways

Eschatology is the graced process of transcending one’s former self in order to become one’s self anew in a greater communion. By such stages of human maturation a person cooperates in one’s own graced transformation into the body of Christ. This is lived in daily life, according to the Gospel of Matthew chapter 25, by our moral behaviour in the world

Theosis is the graced experience of coming to full human personhood, that is to share on a human level in the personal way of being proper to the Divine Trinity. This is experienced in the personal exercise of freedom in a bond of love.

For the discussion of Theosis, see the comments of Norman Russell on the contribution of John Zizioulas in N. Russell, The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition (Oxford Early Christian Studies), Oxford UP, Oxford 2006, 318.

In this session we shall begin to consider the interpretative key of anamnesis.

Session 7: 12 April
We shall consider the collect for the Second Sunday of Easter

We shall continue our considration of anamnesis in this encounter.

Session 8: 19 April
We shall examine the collect for the Eighth Sunday of Easter

We shall turn our consideration to the interpretative key of epiclesis.

Session 9: 26 April
We shall examine the collect for the First Sunday in Lent

This collect will guide our consideration of the interpretative key of eschatology. We shall also consider how the collect presents steps of human maturation.

Session 10: 3 May
We shall consider the collect for the Third Sunday of Easter

This collect will guide our consideration of theosis

Session 11: 10 May
We shall consider the collect for Easter Sunday, Mas during the day

During the final three sessions of our course, we shall review all that we have learned by examining a different collect during each session.

Session 12: 17 May
We shall examine the collect for the Ascension

The collect of the Ascension will guide our review of all the material presented in this course.

Session 13: 24 May
We shall consider the collect for the Seventh Sunday of Easter

We shall review all we have studied by examining the collect of the Seventh Sunday of Easter.

If one of the previous classes is for any reason cancelled, that session and all the subsequent ones will be considered in turn, and the loss of a session will be made up by omitting this last review session.

Collects for Sundays in Lent and of Easter which are not slated for consideration are the following. If time were to permit, they may so be considered, and so are included in your packet of material:

  1. Collect for the Second Sunday in Lent
  2. Ascension vigil collect
  3. Ascension alternative collect
  4. Pentecost vigil collect
  5. Pentecost vigil collective alternative
  6. Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Materials continued

You may purchase our books from Sr. Bernadette or the English desk at:

Pauline multimedia
via del Mascherino, 94
00193 Roma
Tel. 06.6872354
Fax: 06.68308093
Sr. Bernadette:
General enquiries:


Latin resources

I have begun to develop a page of resources for the Latin language including: dictionaries, grammars, resources, texts, links.

Online free, more:

Classical Works Knowledge Base:

Another I have found is Neumen: The Latin Lexicon: