The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Articles Under: Liturgical Catechesis

In his important apostolic letter Dies Domini (“Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy”), St. John Paul II argues that to rest is to re-member (put together again) the sacred work of creation on the day set aside for worship, thus orienting times of rest toward a deeper contemplation of God’s vision of humanity. “Rest therefore acquires a sacred value: the faithful are called to rest not only as God rested, but to rest in the Lord, bringing the entire creation to him, in praise and thanksgiving, intimate as a child and friendly as a spouse.” [i] The human need for rest... Read more
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that receiving the Eucharist “commits us to the poor” (1397). Why is this so? Receiving the Eucharist means that we enter into union with the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. And being in Holy Communion with Jesus himself means something profound. Let’s consider one facet of this great mystery. The Eucharist is Jesus himself. He is the Eternal Word, living in Trinitarian communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. But out of love for us, in order to save us from sin and death, the beloved Son of the Father... Read more
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In a 1978 Lenten catechesis given in Munich, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spoke of the eucharistic mystery as an incomparable encapsulation of Christ’s transformative self-gift, whose meaning is best expressed in the act of washing his disciples’ feet: “He, who is Lord, comes down to us; he lays aside the garments of glory and becomes a slave . . . he bends down to our dirty feet, to the dirt of humanity, [and by] his greater love he washes us clean.” [1] Christ’s freely chosen self-abasement is the work of love that restores us and prepares us to sit down together... Read more
In 1947, Pope Pius XII launched (what we would call today) a “new evangelization” of the Catholic Church in his great encyclical letter Mediator Dei . [i] Seen as the Magna Carta of the modern liturgical movement, the Pope sought to use that movement as the principal means for the adaptation of the Church to a radically and rapidly changing world. After two catastrophic world wars, 1914–1918 and 1939–1945, the Church could not simply ignore the fact that the world had dramatically changed and that the Church needed to adjust accordingly. Renewing the Liturgy It was, therefore, necessary for the... Read more
As another Holy Day of obligation rolls by, the question arises once again about the wisdom and sustainability of current Mass provision in our Catholic schools in Scotland. In our Cathedral parish here in Motherwell, we have three Sunday Masses, but between us as clergy we normally celebrate eight Masses on Holy Days, mainly in school settings, with varying degrees of enthusiasm and participation on the part of pupils. What is the point? Are we (as is often argued) sacramentalizing pupils who have never been evangelized, never mind catechized? In addition, as Catholic schools worldwide also become increasingly multi-faith—with, for... Read more
What do the films A Wrinkle in Time , Back to the Future , The Terminator , Interstellar , and Avengers: End Game have in common? They all tap into our innate fascination with time travel. If you could travel through time, where in history would you go? Who would you visit? What would you alter for the sake of the future? These are strategic questions I use to open the lesson on the sanctification of time. With this exercise, students are first invited into the time machine of their own memory and imagination. After this discussion, I pre-teach some... Read more
Among the five essential tasks of catechesis, the 2020 Directory for Catechesis mentions “initiating into the celebrating of the mystery.” [1] This task includes teaching learners “to understand the liturgical year.” [2] In the simplest of terms, the liturgical year is the way in which the Church tells time. It unites the Western Catholic Church and provides a framework for us to connect with salvation history as we contemplate our own walk with God. The themes we find as we experience and contemplate the liturgical year are familiar to us in many aspects of our lives. In Advent, we experience... Read more
Foundational Doctrines Are the Key to Eucharistic Revival Several years ago, a Protestant couple came to my parish RCIA to support friends who were becoming Catholic. They came every week for the entire process. After one of the sessions, they asked, very sincerely, “We believe the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist. You say those who do not profess the same belief in the Eucharist cannot receive to protect them from receiving unworthily. Since we believe, why can’t we receive?” I gently explained that to truly profess belief in the Eucharist is to believe all that is connected to the Eucharist... Read more