Carolyn Pirtle

Carolyn Pirtle
As Program Director of the Center for Liturgy, Carolyn oversees the planning and facilitation of the Center’s signature events, particularly the annual symposium, Liturgy Week, as well as the McGrath Institute’s annual International Crèche Exhibit and Pilgrimage, and the Marian Procession and May Crowning. Additionally, Carolyn assists with liturgical planning for the entire McGrath Institute, collaborates in the liturgical and musical formation of MICL program participants, and is a contributing member of the editorial board for Church Life Journal, where she writes on liturgical music, aesthetics, devotional practice, and popular culture.

Recent Posts

Spotify Playlist: Sing We Now of Christmas

Posted by Carolyn Pirtle on Dec 24, 2019 7:15:00 AM

Editorial Note: As our gift to you this Christmas, we've curated a Spotify playlist as a way of entering more deeply through music into the mystery of the Incarnation. You can learn more about this music in this Church Life Journal article

All around the world this Christmas season, Christians will be raising their voices in joyous praise, singing carols both old and new. Christmas music is unique in the liturgical music canon, because it becomes imprinted with the joys and sorrows of each holiday season; every year, there are carols that will never fail to bring a smile, but there are also carols that can pierce the heart by conjuring up memories of Christmases past or of loved ones long deceased. The beautiful thing is, the mystery of Christmas itself is capacious enough to hold all of it—the unbridled joy, the weariness, the uncertainty, even the sorrow, for all of these are found in the Gospel narratives of Christ’s birth. 

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Topics: Incarnation, liturgical music, music, Christmas, Christmas carols

Pray the O Antiphons

Posted by Carolyn Pirtle on Dec 16, 2019 7:08:00 PM

Tomorrow, the Church will begin praying what are known as the “O Antiphons” each evening during Vespers, or Evening Prayer. Outside of Vespers, the O Antiphons are more familiar in their adapted form as the verses for the quintessential Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” 

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Topics: Liturgy of the Hours, Vespers, downloadable resources, Advent, O Antiphons

Celebrate Our Lady of Loreto

Posted by Carolyn Pirtle on Dec 10, 2019 10:28:44 AM

For the first time, the universal Catholic Church will have the option to celebrate the memorial of the Blessed Virgin of Loreto on December 10. This past October 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Cardinal Robert Sarah announced that Pope Francis had decreed that the celebration should be inscribed on the Roman Calendar as an optional memorial. 

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Topics: Mary, feast days, liturgical year

Music of Darkness and Light

Posted by Carolyn Pirtle on Dec 9, 2019 7:03:00 AM

With the release of Vespers for the Immaculate Conception, Grammy-winning composer and Notre Dame Folk Choir director J.J. Wright follows up on the musical fusion of 2016’s Billboard Classical chart-topping album O Emmanuel.

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Topics: devotional music, Mary, music, Immaculate Conception

Songs for the Advent Season

Posted by Carolyn Pirtle on Dec 6, 2019 6:58:00 AM

On the feast of St. Nicholas, it’s customary among Christians to give gifts to loved ones, in anticipation of the greater gift-giving to come at Christmas, and to honor the Myran bishop and his unfailing generosity to those in need.

As our gift this year, I’d like to share a playlist I curated several Advents ago, featuring music to mark this beautiful season. 

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Topics: devotional music, liturgical music, music, Advent

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The McGrath Institute Blog helps Catholics live and hand on their faith in Jesus Christ, especially in the family, home and parish, and cultivates and inspires everyday leaders to live out the fullness and richness of their faith in the simple, little ways that make up Church life.

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