Meet the Faculty: Anthony Ruff, OSB

Associate Professor of Theology

B.A., Saint John's University, 1986
M.Div., Saint John's University, 1993
S.T.M., Yale Divinity School, 1994
Th.D., University of Graz, Austria, 1998

Office: Luke Hall 223
Phone Number: 320-363-3233
Email: [email protected]

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Area of Focus
  • Liturgy, Liturgical Music, Gregorian Chant

Research /Teaching Interest/Biography 
  • Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB is a monk and priest of St. John’s Abbey. He teaches theology, liturgical music, and Gregorian chant. He has masters degrees from St. John’s and Yale University, and he earned his doctorate in liturgy from the University of Graz, Austria. He has studied organ with Kim Kasling, Thomas Murray, and Peter Planyavsky. He is the founding director of the National Catholic Youth Choir, a summer camp and touring experience at St. Johns for high-school singers. He served on the music subcommittee of the national Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy that drafted the 2007 document of the US bishops Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship. He was chair of the committee of three people that wrote the English chant melodies for the 2011 Roman Missal for all the English-speaking countries. He has served on the board of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians and the leadership team of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy, and he has served on the executive committee of the Hymn Society. Among his publications are Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform: Treasures and Transformations (2007), a 702-page study of the musical reforms of Second Vatican Council, Responsorial Psalms for Daily Mass: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter (2008), and Canticum novum: Gregorian Chant for Today’s Choirs (2012). He is a frequent presenter across the U.S. and internationally on topics of liturgy and music, he serves as English-German translator for the Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Hymnologie, and he frequently publishes in liturgical and musical journals. He plays organ and directs Gregorian chant at the abbey. He is moderator of the popular liturgy blog “Pray Tell.”



Sung Gospels
For Major Solemnities in Multiple Voices 
(Collegeville:Liturgical Press, 2013).

Chants of The Roman Missal: Study Edition (Collegeville:
Liturgical Press, 2012) 
Author of scholarly introduction.
Canticum novum: Gregorian Chant for Today's Choirs (GIA Publications, 2012).
Responsorial Psalms for Weekday Mass: Advent, Christmas, Lent, and
(Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2008).

Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform: Treasures and Transformations (Mundelein/Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2007).
2nd Place Award in “Liturgy,” Catholic Press Association, 2008.

Special Committees/Organizations
  • Translator, International Abbots’ Congress, Rome, 2008 and 2012.
  • Member of Board of Directors, National Association of Pastoral Musicians, 2012-2015
  • Editoral Board, The Hymn, journal of the Hymn Society of the United States and Canada, 2013 -2016 .
  • Panel Respondent to Faith Healer, a play by Brian Freel, "Reflections by Theologians and Physicians," Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, MN, November 17, 2009.
  • Catholic Academy of Liturgy, member of three-person leadership team, 2012-2015.
  • Member of Editorial Advisory Council, The Liturgical Press
  • Composer of Responsorial Psalm sung each day at Mass, Saint John’s Abbey
  • Translator, Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Hymnologie (International Fellowship for Research in Hymnology)

Recent Publications
  • The Amen Corner: "Could the Church's Understanding of the Primacy of Gregorian Chant Ever Change?" Worship 88.5 (September 2014), 460-466.
  • The Amen Corner: “Revisiting Joseph Ratzinger’s Theological Basis of Church Music,” Worship  91.3 (May 2017).
  • Two chapters on Gregorian chant and contemporary liturgical music in So You Want to Sing Sacred Music (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017)
  • "Greek, Latin, and Pre-Reformation Hymnody," in hymnal companion to Lutheran Service Book (book chapter, forthcoming).
  • The Amen Corner: "Could the Church's Understanding of the Primacy of Gregorian Chant Ever Change?" Worship 88.5 (September 2014), 460-466. 
  • "Tra le sollecitudini: On Sacred Music [1903]: Overview," The Liturgy Documents, vol. 3 (Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2013), 20-24.
  • "Musicam Sacram: On Music in the Liturgy [1967]: Overview," The Liturgy Documents, vol. 3  (Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2013), 342-346.
  • "After Vatican II: Are We All Protestants Now? Or Are We All Catholics Now?" The Hymn 64:1 (Winter 2013), 6-12.
  • "Bar Is Set Low in Acceptance of New Missal," National Catholic Reporter, December 1, 2012, 1-2, online missal
  • "What is the Future of the Liturgy?" U.S. Catholic 77.12 (December 2012), 25-26
  • "The Value of Unaccompanied Vernacular Chant in the Liturgy," Pastoral Liturgy, (March-April 2011), 9-11.
  • "Reading and Singing the Church's Chant: The Basics, Pastoral Music 35:2 (January 2011), 15-18.
  • "Liturgy under Benedict XVI," GIA Quarterly 22:1 (2010), 2-8.
  • "Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship," GIA Quarterly 20.3, Spring 2009, 12-13, 38.
  • "The Liturgical Changes We Face: A Parable," Pastoral Music 33:1, October 2008, 34-40.
  • "Beyond Medici: The Struggle for Progress in Chant," Sacred Music 135.2, Summer 2008 , 26-28.  Translation (from German), "One Hundred Years of the Graduale Romanum" by Johann Berchmans Göschl, Sacred Music 135.2, Summer 2008, 8-25.

Reference book entries:
  • "Union School of Sacred Music," Vaughan Williams, Ralph (1872 - 1958)
  • "Tauferneuerung/Taufgedächtnis" ("Renewal of Baptismal Promises"), "Cäcilianfest," "Halleluja," "Herwegen, Ildefons," "Kirchenmusik: IV.Westliche Kirchen, 1. Mittelalter," and "Kirchenmusik: VI. Rechtlich, 1. Katholische Kirche, " "Nunc dimittis," "Offertorium: I. Liturgisch, II. Musikalisch," "Sanktus: I. Liturgisch," "Stossgebet," "Boys' Choirs," in Religion in Geschichte und Gegewart, 4th ed.
  • "Vehe, Michael," "Witzel, Georg," in Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 2nd ed. 

Recent Presentations
  • “Protestants and Catholics Singing Together: Rich Traditions, Challenging Future,” “Veritas Series for Faith and Culture, King's University College, London Ontario, September 28, 2017
  • “What Does Church Music Have to do with My Life? Liturgy and the New Evangelization,” Notre Dame Center for Liturgy, Notre Dame University, June 22, 2016. 
  • "A Benedictine Spirituality of Music," Immaculate Conception Monastery, Ferdinand, Indiana, October 24, 2015
  • "Active Participation in the Liturgy - Still Possible?" Westminster Abbey Institute, London, January 31, 2014. 
  • "In a (Post-)Modern World, Can You Still Talk About Whether Sacred Music Compositions Are Any Good?" Huffington Institute, Loyala Marymount University, Los Angeles, February 21, 2014.
  • "David's Harp in Postmodern Times: Psalm Singing Today," IAH Conference, Amsterdam, August 16, 2013.
  • "Chants of the Missal," NPM national convention, Washington DC, August 1, 2013.
  • "Bringing Chant to Life in Latin and English," Hymn Society, Richmond VA, July 16 and 18, 2013.
  • "Antiphons, Hymns, Songs, and Their Use in the Liturgy," NPM Winter Colloquium, Washington DC, January 27-29, 2013: presenter of four sessions with following discussion.
  • "Issues in the Visual Presentation of Gregorian Chant," NAAL music seminar, Albequerque, January 4, 2013.
  • "How to Pray the Hours Today," Yale University Institute of Sacred Music, Summer Congregations Project, June 28, 2012
  • "Recent Trends in Hymnody," CCMLA conference, Collegeville, June 19, 2012.
  • "The New Roman Missal: What is the Problem, and What Can We Do About It?" Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, St. Leo University, Florida, June 12, 2012
  • Director of St. John's Gregorian Chant Schola, invited participant in International Gregorian Chant Congress, Watou, Belgium, May 20-24, 2009.