The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Articles Under: Liturgical Catechesis

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
Editor’s Note: The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced a three-year Eucharistic revival, to reawaken Catholics to the goodness, the beauty, and the truth of Jesus in the Eucharist. Each issue of the Catechetical Review , during the revival, will feature an article on the Eucharist, to empower our readers to make increasingly more meaningful contributions to the Eucharistic faith of those we teach. We hope you enjoy this article. The great mystery of Christ’s sacrifice for us is at the heart of the Christian faith: “For Christ, our Paschal Lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7). As the... Read more
For Christians, the celebration of the mystery of Christ is, on the one hand, formative and, on the other, an opportunity to offer praise and thanksgiving. This is especially true for Catholics because the events of our salvation in Christ are recalled daily, weekly, seasonally, and annually. The awareness of the liturgical cycle may not be immediately evident to the average churchgoer. Even the topic of the “liturgical year” may well evoke a range of responses. Some will shrug shoulders in indifference; others will give a blank stare of confusion; still others may light up with enthusiasm. For catechists and... Read more
Most Catholic parents are so far removed from a rich Catholic culture that living a liturgical season—let alone the liturgical year—can seem impossible. Dr. Tracey Rowland, professor at the University of Notre Dame Australia, describes the scene by saying that young Catholics “find themselves in a situation where they have rarely experienced a fully functional Catholic culture.” She continues, “To find out about Christianity, especially the Catholic version of it, they watch documentaries and movies, they interrogate older Catholics, they google information about the saints, liturgies, and cultural practices. The cultural capital that should follow as a natural endowment upon... Read more
“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off” (Mt 13:24–25). Our Lord’s imagery helps us make sense of difficult and painful situations existing within the Church. He is describing, afterall, the “kingdom of God.” If I’m honest with myself, I’m aware that there are weeds also growing in my heart. St. Paul understands the dramatic situation within the Christian, lamenting that “I do not do the good I want” (Rm 7:19). This is... Read more
We never know which Holy Communion might be our last. We make a big deal of our First Communion, and rightly so. But why don’t we have a strong catechesis and spirituality of Viaticum, that final time we receive the Body of Christ before our soul leaves our own body to meet him? As a Church, perhaps we are missing a robust eucharistic spirituality in general. Maybe we lack a proper sober focus on our preparation for death. We could likely all benefit from considering the Last Rites in a more personal and specific way, so that they may be... Read more