Articles Under: Sacramental Preparation

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What is the Neophyte Year? Many of us may be aware of the RCIA process that is undertaken in many parishes, but have we stopped to ask ourselves the question, “What happens to the new Catholics after the Easter Vigil?” The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults offers a period of Mystagogy for the seven weeks leading up to Pentecost, but then what? The new Catholic, for the period up to the anniversary of their reception into the Catholic Church, is known as a “neophyte,” that is, “one who is initiated at the Easter Vigil. The term comes from the... Read more
The sea change in the approach that American teens and young adults take in regard to Christian faith just in the last decade has been rapid, palpable, and sometimes stunning. We live in a time in which “nearly half of cradle Catholics who become ‘unaffiliated’ are gone by age eighteen. Nearly 80 percent are gone and 71 percent have already taken on an ‘unaffiliated’ identity by their early twenties.” [i] According to Jean Twenge, a professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, the experience of faith has been complicated even further by the staggering increase in social media usage... Read more
After a few minutes’ conversation on my doorstep, a Mormon missionary asked if I was, by chance, a “born-again Christian?” “Well,” I replied, “I’m a born-again Catholic. ” This idea of being “born again” made me reflect on the challenge of awakening cultural Catholics to the radical implications of the Sacrament of Baptism. Living in County Kerry—the tourist magnet of Ireland—I’ve seen the trouble American visitors take to research their family tree and locate their Irish roots. They trawl through parish registers to find out about the births, marriages, and deaths of their ancestors. (“Who are your people?” is a... Read more
Although the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life,” [i] many Catholics are unfamiliar with its rich Old Testament and Jewish background. In this article, we will look at four aspects of this background: the king-priest Melchizedek, the Passover, the manna, and the bread of the Presence. Melchizedek: Priest of God Most High The first prefiguration of the Eucharist goes back to the mysterious figure of Melchizedek in the book of Genesis. This Melchizedek, called “king of Salem” and “priest of God Most High,” brought out bread and wine to Abraham and blessed him (Gen 14:18-20). His... Read more
Al Sacramento de la Confirmación se refiere a menudo como "un sacramento en busca de una teología", o "un sacramento en busca de sentido" entre los ministros del sacramento. Aunque los documentos catequéticos presenten una consistente teología de la Confirmación, la diversidad en la práctica pastoral de diócesis a diócesis, e incluso de parroquia a parroquia dentro de la misma diócesis, sugiere que el Sacramento de la Confirmación tuviera diferentes sentidos y hasta diferentes teologías. En lugar de esto, propongo que la diversidad en la práctica no es el resultado de una teología variable, sino que se debe a diferentes... Read more
The Sacrament of Confirmation is often referred to as “a sacrament in search of a theology” or “a sacrament in search of meaning” among pastoral ministers. Even though the catechetical documents present a consistent theology of confirmation, the diversity in pastoral practice from diocese to diocese, and even from parish to parish within the same diocese, would suggest that the Sacrament of Confirmation has different meanings and even different theologies. Instead, I propose that the diversity in praxis is not the result of a variant theology, but rather of different pastoral approaches. In his book, Confirmation: The Baby in Solomon's... Read more
It was a warm, sunny day at the end of spring. Instead of spending the beautiful Saturday according to their own wishes, our students were reluctantly settling into their seats in a classroom. I saw looks of boredom on the faces of the youth and noted the variety of ages among those present. I glanced over at the two other members of our team: a young, enthusiastic priest and a very energetic woman who taught children much younger than those gathered before us. We had been recruited to deliver a day-long Confirmation retreat for a Native American community. On our... Read more
The Book of Wisdom (18:6, 9) speaks to us about “the night of the Passover,” saying that the Israelites in Egypt were “putting into effect with one accord the divine institution.” Something divine was being instituted—established—when the Jews performed that first Passover meal according to the instructions they had received from God through Moses. Something “divine” because something of God. However, the Passover meal of the New Covenant is divine in a far more profound way because in it there is not merely something of God, but God himself . The Body and Blood, the Soul and Divinity of Jesus... Read more
One evening when I came home from the office, my 12-year-old daughter was busily attending to her homework. Working on a lesson in suffixes, she asked me about the word “revitalize.” I don’t claim to know much about grammar, but I do remember an insight on the suffix “-ize” from Dr. David Fagerberg, then a professor of liturgical theology at Mundelein’s Liturgical Institute. His lesson was short and to the point: “Whenever you see ‘ize’ at the end of a word,” he suggested, “it means ‘to make.’” For example, “trivialize” means “to make trivial.” “Familiarize” means “to make familiar.” “Minimize”... Read more