Articles Under: Liturgical Catechesis

Nearly every teacher of the Faith has access to a church building; and a richly designed church offers more than an art history lesson or the record of a particular parish. In its deep theology, every church building is meant to be an architectural image of the Mystical Body of Christ brought to its heavenly glory, that is, Christ and his members joined with all of creation in the perfect worship of the Father. While it first may seem odd to compare a building to the union of God with his people, Scripture proves full of architectural analogies. In the... Read more
One of the words particularly beloved of Pope Francis, is the Greek parrh ēsia. [i] It is also a significant word for all who hand on the faith of the Church: parents, priests and religious, catechists in parishes, and teachers in schools. We could go so far as to say that it sums up for us how we should learn to catechize for the new evangelization. Every page of the Catechism’s text is characterized by this quality of parrh ēsia . The Catechism explains that the word means “straightforward simplicity, filial trust, joyous assurance, humble boldness, the certainty of being... Read more
In an essay on literature, C.S. Lewis praised the genre of fantasy or myth, which he, J.R.R. Tolkien, and others had embraced. Lewis writes: The value of the myth is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by ‘the veil of familiarity.’ The child enjoys his cold meat, otherwise dull to him, by pretending it is buffalo, just killed with his own bow and arrow. And the child is wise. The real meat comes back to him more savory for having been dipped in a story….by putting bread,... Read more
Hablando por mí, debo admitir que mi mente a menudo divaga durante la Misa, especialmente durante la Misa diaria. Generalmente me dejo caer en un banco de la iglesia unos treinta segundos antes o después de que el sacerdote haya entrado. Mi mente anda dando vueltas y estoy distraído por miles de pequeñas preocupaciones. Para cuando haya terminado el Evangelio, a menudo me doy cuenta que apenas he escuchado una palabra. Mi respuesta, "Gloria a Ti, Señor Jesús" a veces me provoca una risita silenciosa ya que viene pegada al final de un chorro de pensamientos que nada tenían que... Read more
Before I became Catholic, if there was one word that summed up my evangelical Pentecostal Protestant experience, it was “spontaneous.” If there was one word that summed up my perception of the Catholic experience, it was “rubric.” My perception was that Protestants were spontaneous and therefore “authentic,” while Catholics had rubrics and were therefore “lifeless.” After I became Catholic, I began to work with RCIA and discovered that apparently I’m not alone. While concluding an RCIA inquiry meeting one year, I closed in an extemporaneous prayer and, when finished, one of the inquirers said out loud, “Wow! I had no... Read more
The central theme of Pope Saint John’s Paul II’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Ecclesia in America , is the encounter with the living Jesus Christ. As he points out, the Second Vatican Council identified a “manifold presence of Christ in the [sacred] liturgy,” and he insists that this presence should be a theme of constant preaching on the part of the Church. [1] Liturgies are guaranteed encounters with the Living Christ because they spring from the will and power of God and not from our efforts. This manifold encounter with Jesus in the liturgy is central to the teaching, to the... Read more
In this article we will examine the guidance provided by the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the pedagogy needed for liturgical catechesis. Pedagogy The Catechism ’s main concern is the presentation of the content of the Deposit of Faith; [i] however, the Catechism also offers us the “pedagogy of the faith.” [ii] The Instrumentum Laboris for the 2012 Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization noted that the Church published the Catechism for a dual purpose: to provide a definitive account of the Church’s faith and morals and also to articulate this account according to the unchanging pedagogy of... Read more
Personally, I must admit that my mind often wanders during Mass, especially at daily Mass. Usually, I plop down in a pew thirty seconds before or after the priest has entered. My mind is racing and I’m distracted by a thousand little preoccupations. By the time the Gospel is finished being read, all too often l realize that I hardly heard a word. My response “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ,” sometimes elicits a silent chuckle as it comes at the end of a stream of thoughts that had nothing at all to do with Jesus. Then despite my sincere... Read more
There is a compelling challenge that every catechist must face: having fallen in love with Christ ourselves, how do we pass this love on to others? The answer is far from simple. Human beings are multi-dimensional, so we have to work on many levels simultaneously. In considering how to approach this work, we are indebted to the great Roman catechist, Sofia Cavalletti. It was she who drew attention to the typical order in which catechesis—indeed all human learning—unfolds, especially for children: first the body, then the heart, then the mind. If we are to catechize well, we need to follow... Read more
When my son was a newborn, we brought him to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame for a Sunday Lenten Eucharist. Unable to comprehend the theologically rich prayer texts, he nonetheless was fascinated by the drama of light and darkness playing out in the stained glass windows, together with the choir’s sublime interpretation of a Palestrina motet. Such beauty was formative of his identity, teaching him something essential about the splendor of the triune God even before he could begin to understand the meaning of such words. Nonetheless, for many Catholics worshipping on a... Read more