Thursday, April 16, 2015

Notes from the Liturgical Catechesis and the New Evangelization Conference - Part 1- James Pauley Keynote

I have had requests to share my notes from the conference here at University of St. Mary of the Lake, Here are the cleaned-up  notes from tonight's presentation by Dr. James Pauley of University of St. Francis, Steubenville.

"Today's Declining Sacramental Practice: A Catechetical Vision for Revitalization"

We need to mentor those we teach to help them encounter Christ in the liturgy where he is present. The challenge is decreasing sacramental practice. The cure is liturgical catechesis.

Quotes Forming Intentional Disciples. Only 48% believe personal relationship with God is possible. he also quotes p. 39 as Sherry Weddell's "Thesis" - "We can no longer depend on rites of passage or cultural, peer or familial pressure to bring the majority back... cultural Catholicism is dead as a retention strategy...."

What are we to do? How can liturgical catechesis evolve? Need to place primary emphasis on fact
that sacraments are encounters with God.

If kids today are bored they reject the experience. Greatest crisis in church today is liturgical boredom

Pope John Paul II On Catechesis in our Time (23) . "it is in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, that Christ Jesus works in fullness for our transformation... It is the duty of pastors to ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite and enriched by it...." otherwise we have hollow ritualism.

"The more we are convicted that the sacraments are encounters with God with supernatural effects, the more interesting they become to the contemporary person."  It is essential to have good liturgy.

We have tended in catechesis (1960's -80's) to focus on what we do instead of what God does. We need to make evident the supernatural nature of liturgy.

Three points:

1. Through liturgical catechesis we can prepare people more intentionally for full conscious and active participation.
Active participation is "uniting ourselves with God" Pamela Jackson - An Abundance of Graces

How ? It starts at home with the parents. Stories of successful moments with children should be shared and support is needed. We need to focus on family formation.

2. Mentor them in the ability to see and hear in a sacramental way.

See Mystical Body, Mystical Voice, Martis et al. p. 67.

CCC 1075 Liturgical catechesis proceeds from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the sacrament to the mystery.
 Is that too theological? No. Sophia Cavaletti (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd) said children understand mystery.

The catechist is more important than the textbook. (He recommends to his students that it should be 80% catechist, 20% book)

3. Uncover for them how liturgy makes accessible Christ's gift of himself in the paschal mystery.

How do we respond? We give ourselves back. Worship is self-donation. Timothy O'Malley (Notre Dame) - "Our entire selves are joined to Christ's sacrifice to the Father as we give ourselves away in prayer in response to the God who first loved us. "

Pope Francis: the more we unite ourselves to Christ the more we come out of ourselves.


  1. "Liturgical catechesis proceeds from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the sacrament to the mystery." Is that too theological?
    It sure is not, I teach this stuff to 6th graders; although I never use that learned vocabulary. Even when teaching sacraments to adults I didn't talk like that.

  2. Curious if you learned a single new thing from this prez; and if so what it was.

    1. Not really - this was an overview... for a lot of people there, though, it may have been news. (You have to remember I live and breathe liturgical catechesis) I did like his remark that the greatest crisis is liturgical boredom, though. It's the reason young people (and indeed others) leave and don't come back. There is nothing that catches them...

      More notes probably tomorrow... I'm tired tonight. Very long day.