The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Articles Under: Sacramental Preparation

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
Waiting on God We had just begun our new catechetical year at the parish. Following an opening session that was offered in large group, I made my way around to the various confirmation classes to sit in and see how things were going and how I might better support the catechists and candidates that year. In one of the classes there was a young man (it seems like there’s one every year!) who clearly had little desire to be there. Despite his distant demeanor he was generally respectful of the class in terms of behavior. He chose instead to be... 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
It is Confirmation time at St. Joseph’s parish, and the catechists have been working hard, with mixed results, to prepare the young adults for this important moment in their lives. Cecilia, for example, has become much more enthusiastic about her faith and is very excited about receiving the sacrament. Jacob has been respectfully attentive in the preparation classes but hasn’t yet become fully committed. Billy, on the other hand, is much less fervent than either Cecilia or Jacob. He is predominantly motivated by the desire to keep his parents happy and has no living faith. Then there is Sandra. She... Read more
The Minister of Baptism According to the Code of Canon Law, in order for the Sacrament of Baptism to be celebrated validly and lawfully, there must be a minister of baptism. There is no circumstance in which a person may baptise himself. There are three important canons in the code which are relevant to issues revolving around the minister of baptism: - Canon 861 defines the ordinary and extraordinary ministers of baptism, and the circumstances in which the latter may lawfully baptise. - Canon 862 defines the territorial restrictions on the exercise of baptism by ordinary ministers. - Canon 863... Read more
The Baptismal Font The baptismal font is an important feature and symbol of any parish church. It is necessary for catechists to have a clear understanding of the role of the baptismal font and the place of baptism for the life of the community. The canonical norms on the baptismal font and the place of baptism are clear: candidates must be baptised in the baptismal font in the proper parish church. The following norms will outline the baptismal font and also make clear where baptism is to be administered. The question of the baptismal font is rarely discussed in any... Read more
In this article Fr. Rosney offers the canonical teaching on the time of and place of baptism as set out in canons 856-857. The time and place of celebration are important in order to highlight the importance of the sacrament as the first step of membership into God’s family. WHEN should Baptism be celebrated? In the life of the Church, the question of what day the sacraments are administered in the Code of Canon Law is clearly stated. In regard to the sacrament of baptism Canon 856 treats the time of celebration: Although baptism can be celebrated on any day,... Read more