The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Articles Under: Pedagogy & Methodology

As children, many of us learned the “Alphabet Song.” It is a universally known jingle that helps small children learn the ABCs of the English language. Other cultures use a different tune but the purpose is the same. At the start, a child merely repeats the sounds sung to him. In due time, he gradually learns that the sounds have corresponding symbols. (During this developmental stage, children in a Montessori environment trace sandpaper letters, providing a heightened sensorial experience that strengthens the sound-symbol relationship in the child’s mind.) Once the child understands the sound-symbol relationship, he is capable of arranging... 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
At a time when we know all too well the sins of our leaders, the “mark” of holiness raises questions. But insights from Saint Augustine can give perspective and hope—because even while the Church is “always in need of purification” (CCC 827), she is united with Christ and she is “sanctified by him; [and] through him and with him she becomes sanctifying” ( CCC 824). [i] Augustine Gives Perspective When Christians were being persecuted in the third and fourth centuries, many clergy denied Christ in order to save their lives, which caused great scandal among the faithful. So, when peace... Read more
“T here seemed to be a fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones . The effort to restrain it wearied me, I could not bear it .” Jeremiah 20:9 An Unexpected Call In September, 2018, I received a bemusing phone call from Anthony Gordon, the director of Catholic schools in a rural Australian Diocese. He asked me whether I would consider applying for the position of Diocesan Director of Religious Education and Mission. At the time, I was working in my “dream job” as a professor of religious education at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney, Australia... Read more
In 2020, the Shepherds of the Church gave us a treasure in the new Directory for Catechesis . Dr. Farey was a member of the working party for the bishops on the new Directory and continues additional reflections on its practical implications from the last issue and will finish in the next issue. It is an unswerving Catholic conviction that “The Christian community is the origin , locus and goal of catechesis” (DC 133, my emphasis). This phrasing is taken directly from the catechetical directory of 1997 (GDC 254). Other Christians would not claim this so explicitly. They are more... Read more
Una proclamación de la salvación Introducción Durante las últimas décadas, los teólogos que enfocan la evangelización en general, y en particular, al momento de la catequesis – que es una parte de la evangelización- han puesto esfuerzos considerables de pensamiento y atención al tema del kerigma, y con justa razón. El kerigma puede entenderse aptamente como el resumen del Evangelio; y, como tal, siempre merece estudio de mayor cercanía, particularmente en una época cuando el catolicismo está menguando en muchos lugares. En esta serie de tres partes, explico lo que es el kerigma y porqué es importante. En esta primera... Read more
A Proclamation of Salvation Introduction Over the last several decades, theologians who focus on evangelization in general, and the moment of catechesis within it in particular, have given considerable thought and attention to the topic of the kerygma, and rightly so. The kerygma can be aptly understood to be the summary of the Gospel; and, as such, it is always deserving of closer study, especially so in an age when Catholicism is waning in many places. In this three-part series, I’ll explain what the kerygma is and why it’s important. In this first installment, I’ll provide a basic overview of... Read more
Recientemente, en una conferencia para dirigentes católicos, me preguntó un joven sacerdote a qué me dedicaba. Le dije que ayudo a las parroquias a inventar estrategias para crear una cultura de discipulado en su parroquia. Me preguntó cómo hago eso. Le contesté que nos gusta enfocar principios, no balas de plata, y capacitar a un grupo de dirigentes en la parroquia para producir un cambio cultural al proyectar una visión, edificando un camino claro hacia el discipulado, movilizando a los líderes, y alineando ministerios claves con una visión orientada hacia el discipulado. Decayó su semblante. ¡Me preguntaba qué había hecho... Read more
Recently, at a conference for Catholic leaders, I was asked by a young priest what I do. I told him that I help parishes strategize around how to create a culture of discipleship in their parish. He asked me how I do that. I told him that we like to focus on principles, not silver bullets, and train a group of leaders in the parish to create culture change by casting vision, building a clear path to discipleship, mobilizing leaders, and aligning key ministries with a discipleship-oriented vision. His face fell. I wondered what I had said to offend him!... Read more
Evangelization is a primary function of Catholic schools. Although they provide quality education in a variety of subject areas, as agents of the Church, they share the larger mission of the Church: forming disciples of Jesus Christ. Catholic schools should and must be more than public schools that also happen to have religion classes. Speaking about the role of the Catholic school, the Vatican II Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissimum Educationis states, “But its proper function is to create for the school community a special atmosphere animated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity, to help youth grow according... Read more