The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Articles Under: Evangelization

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Back in 1989, when I first began working as a parish catechetical leader, I remember becoming alert to a pattern that unfolded regularly in our church parking lot. Two nights a week, our empty parking lot would become quite busy for two short periods of time. A line of cars would begin to form at 6:45 p.m. that would slowly inch along as parents dropped their children and teens off for parish catechesis. Then the lot emptied except for the dozen or so cars of the catechists. And then, an hour and a half later, the methodical line would predictably... Read more
Many moons ago, when I was a young social work student in North Dakota, I was required to take a course called “Indian Studies.” One of the books for the course was titled Black Elk Speaks . It was the moving account of the experience of the life of indigenous peoples prior to the arrival of the white European settlers, as seen through the eyes of a Lakota elder named Nicholas Black Elk. John Neihardt, the man who penned the book in the early 1930s, had a sense of the urgent need to preserve a record of what native life... Read more
In the Latin language there is a saying that could also be applied to our work as catechists: nomen est omen . This means that the name also reflects the inner essence of a person or a thing. In other words, the name speaks for itself. The name of St. John Bosco has become synonymous with good and holy catechesis. In this sense, all reflection on his inspiring life and work can show us what transmitting the faith should look like. Bosco lived in Italy in the 19th century. He was born and grew up in poor circumstances, and from... Read more
When my sixteen-year-old son was young I asked him, as people do with young children, what he wanted to do when he grew up. His response was that he wanted to build bridges in the sky. I was not exactly sure what he meant by that, but I certainly look forward to how it turns out. Building bridges is a meaningful and significant undertaking. Bridges occupy the space between us and help bring people together. Clearly, I am not speaking solely of physical bridges. I am not so sure my son was, either. The word “collaborate” means “to work jointly... Read more
How much worse off we would all be without physical pain! As counterintuitive as it sounds, pain is your friend. Pain is a mechanism to warn you that something is wrong. Imagine a scenario where there was no physical pain. When you get sick with a virus, you don’t feel bad, so you don’t take care of yourself. The virus spreads rapidly because there is no way to know that you have it until it is too late. Death or relentless monitoring become the only two ways to know that something is physically awry. Who would want to live like... Read more
In many depictions of the annunciation, Mary is pictured as having been interrupted by the angel Gabriel in the midst of study. Whether she has a book open in her lap or tossed aside, a scroll in her hand or on a nearby stand, it is clear that, before this event, she was reading. Art historians have proposed interesting cultural interpretations of this motif, and these interpretations have their place. However, it seems that this motif, and the idea of Mary as an intellectual in general, has the potential to serve a pastoral purpose when investigated scripturally and spiritually. When... Read more
Many were the attempts made in Europe during the nineteenth century to redefine and refashion human existence. Significantly, over the same period there were three major apparitions in which Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, was present: Rue du Bac in Paris, France (1830); Lourdes, France (1858); and Knock, Ireland (1879). Taken together, these offer the answer to humanity’s searching. Let us look particularly at Mary’s eighteen apparitions to Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes. In February 1934, one year after Bernadette’s canonization, Msgr. Ronald Knox preached a sermon in which he compares the young girl’s experience with that of Moses, even suggesting... Read more
In Evangelii Nuntiandi (EN), Pope Paul VI, of sainted memory, said something that has become almost a banner that we fly above our apostolic work today, both in our evangelization and our catechesis. “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” [1] This is often taken to mean that teaching, both the act and its content, are somehow to be considered a second-rate concern for our mission today. The almost ubiquitous line is, “Well, doctrine is important, but . . ..” In statements of this... Read more
What happened to Mary? This is a question that could easily occur to anyone reading through 20th-century theology. Marian theology up to the 1960s was vibrant and flourishing. Fr. Edward O’Connor’s 1958 magisterial volume The Immaculate Conception (recently re-released by University of Notre Dame Press) seems to sum up an era. The lively essays harvest the best of traditional theology and seem poised to surge ahead, bursting as they are with both creativity and fidelity. And yet, ten years after its publication, Marian study was nearly dead. This book remains unsurpassed in its field. What happened to Mary? This same... Read more