Liturgical Catechesis (RCIA) TRS 643MC

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  • Class: Liturgical Catechesis (RCIA) TRS 643MC
  • Professor: Margaret Schreiber, OP, D.Min, STD
  • Taken: Summer Semester 2015

Class materials on CUA Blackboard


THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES TRS 643 MC Liturgical Catechesis (RCIA) Summer 2015 3 Credit Hours MCat Online (Blended) course

Professor: Sr. Margaret Schreiber, OP, D.Min, STD Office: Caldwell 416 Phone: (202) 319-6503 Email:

COURSE DESCRIPTION This blended online course examines the RCIA to develop a meaning of liturgical catechesis as preparation for sacramental rites and Mystagogy as catechesis that draws the sacramental participant into a deeper understanding of the mystery celebrated.

INSTRUCTIONAL METHODS: The method of teaching in this class includes lectures, written assignments, participation through blogs or discussion board, submission of journal assignments, etc. There will be a one-week residence on campus.


• Journal articles/book chapters for class are posted in Blackboard. • CUA library database is a good source for downloading articles for research. If, after completing the Orientation assignment on using the library database, please contact the Theology librarian, Dustin Booher ( ) for help.

LIBRARIES The CUA Libraries' wide range of resources and services, including databases, online journals, and FAQs are on the main web site. For assistance on papers and assignments, consult the research guides or schedule an appointment with a librarian in the Theology Library (third floor McMullen).

COURSE GOALS: 1. To understand the meaning of liturgical and mystagogical catechesis 2. To develop or deepen pastoral skills in developing a liturgical catechesis in preparation for the Easter Vigil and mystagogical catechesis following it.

STUDENT LEARNING GOALS: 1. Students will develop a working definition of liturgical catechesis (Module One) 2. Students will have a general understanding of the Apostolic Tradition and its impact on the development of the RCIA (Module Two) 3. Students will learn from Augustine the Role of the Catechist and apply their learning to their own experience and understanding of themselves as catechists (Module Two) 4. Students will understanding the RCIA as the model of all catechesis: a process of various stages (Module Three) 5. Students will have clarity about the purpose of the precatechumenate and catechumenate (Module Three) 6. Students will understand the spiritual purpose and focus of the Period of Purification and Enlightenment as a time of retreat and final preparation for initiation (Module Four) 7. Students will learn the importance of Holy Week with the catechumens and the faithful (Module Five) 8. Students will recognize the importance of Holy Saturday morning and afternoon as a final spiritual preparation for Initiation (Module Five) 9. Students will deepen their understanding of Easter as both a time of initiation and a time for the faithful to renew their baptismal promises (Module Six) 10. Students will engage with the symbols of the Easter Vigil in preparation for Mystagogical catechesis (Module Six) 11. Students will discover the importance of Mystagogy (Module Seven) 12. Students will understanding that mystagogical catechesis is an ongoing process of unpacking the mystery celebrated in the liturgical rites (Module Seven) 13. Students will discover the need for ongoing catechesis (Module Eight) 14. Students will realize that the context of Christian life is mystagogy (Module Eight)


1. Participation in online discussions (20% of final grade), blogs (10% of final grade), journals (10% of final grade).

2. Weekly readings (for Major Paper and Weekly Modules) and written assignments (20%)

3. Major Paper (18-20 pages) on Easter Vigil Symbol (40% of final grade):

Students will complete a Major Paper on one of the Easter Vigil symbols (Light, Water, or Oil) and make connections with the ritual gestures, texts, and scripture and then develop a liturgical catechesis in preparation for the Easter Vigil and a mystagogical catechesis following the celebration of the Vigil. Students will submit sections of the paper throughout the course. The last week of the course students are expected to put together the sections developed during the course and write an introduction and conclusion and then edit the paper so that the various parts fit together into a Major Paper of liturgical and mystagogical catechesis. Due: End of course

EXPECTATIONS AND POLICIES Academic honesty: Academic honesty is expected of all CUA students. Faculty are required to initiate the imposition of sanctions when they find violations of academic honesty, such as plagiarism, improper use of a student’s own work, cheating, and fabrication. The following sanctions are presented in the University procedures related to Student Academic Dishonesty (from “The presumed sanction for undergraduate students for academic dishonesty will be failure for the course. There may be circumstances, however, where, perhaps because of an undergraduate student’s past record, a more serious sanction, such as suspension or expulsion, would be appropriate. In the context of graduate studies, the expectations for academic honesty are greater, and therefore the presumed sanction for dishonesty is likely to be more severe, e.g., expulsion. ...In the more unusual case, mitigating circumstances may exist that would warrant a lesser sanction than the presumed sanction.” Please review the complete texts of the University policy and procedures regarding Student Academic Dishonesty, including requirements for appeals, at and Accommodations for students with disabilities: Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss specific needs. Please contact Disability Support Services (at 202 319-5211, room 207 Pryzbyla Center) to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. To read about the services and policies, please visit the website:

GRADING SCALE Where applicable, a point system will be used to determine the grades. All grades are computed according to the following scale:

A 95-100 A- 92-94 B+ 89-91 B 84-88 B- 81-83 C+ 78-80 C 74-77 C- 71-73 D 65-70 F 64-0

The CUA grading system is available at: Reports of course grades are available at the end of each term on


Whenever there is conflicting information in the syllabus and in Blackboard Modules – FOLLOW BLACKBOARD!


There are two Orientation Modules in Blackboard. The General Orientation is in each course and gives important information about the university and School of Theology and Religious Studies. Returning students may not find this as helpful as new students but it is a great resource when questions about the library, financial aid, technology services, etc. arise! Take a look! The second is a Course Orientation and is specific to this course (TRS 643MC). It is required! Please complete it before the course begins on June 1, 2015.

ORIENTATIONS May 24 – June 1 This week, please complete the General and Course Orientations module in Blackboard!

WEEKS AND MODULES Each week you need to click into the Major Paper and Readings for the Major Paper links. In addition you must click into the Weekly Modules. The course is set up to accomplish two goals simultaneously: the course content and the development of the major paper. Each week you have assignments regarding the paper and assignments related to the course content identified as a Module. Headings with “Week” refer to your Major Paper; headings with “Module” refer to the course content for that particular section of the course. Please let me know if you have any questions about this process.

MODULE 1: June 1 – June 7

Liturgical Catechesis: Defining and Describing It

MODULE 2: June 8 – June 14

The Ancient Catechumenate (Apostolic Tradition) and St. Augustine

  • Readings for Module:
  • Required Posts:
  • Blog
  • Assignment – Role of Catechist
  • Plan ahead: Major Paper Assignment posted in Assignment link – due Tuesday, June 16 at 11:59 p.m.

MODULE 3: June 15 – June 21

RCIA: PreCatechumenate and Catechumenate

Readings for Module:

  • Tufano, Victoria, ed. Celebrating the Rites of Adult Initiation: Pastoral Reflections. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1992.
  • Please read the three chapters in Tufano's text posted in Course Documents:
    • Moudry, James. “Unfolding the Mystery of Christ: The Liturgy of the Word,” pp. 15-27.
    • Foley, Edward, “Minor Exorcisms,” pp. 29-39.
    • Main, Margaret, “Blessings of the Catechumens,” pp. 41-48.

Readings for Major Paper: Posted in Blackboard

  • If your symbol is Light, read the gesture article on "Lighting"
  • If your symbol is Water, read the gesture article on "Baptismal Bathing"
  • If your symbol is Oil, read the gesture article on "Anointing"

Required Posts:

  • Discussion Board
  • Assignment for Major Paper section on Symbol due: This Tuesday, June 16 at 11:59 p.m.

MODULE 4: June 22 – June 28

RCIA: Period of Purification and Enlightenment Readings for Module: Tufano, Victoria, ed. Celebrating the Rites of Adult Initiation: Pastoral Reflections. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1992. Posted in Course Documents: • Francis, Mark. “To Worship God in Spirit and in Truth: First Scrutiny,” 63-72. • Joncas, Michael. “I Once Was Blind and Now I See: Second Scrutiny,” 83-92. • Ferrone, Rita. “Lazarus, Come Out! Third Scrutiny,” 105-114. • Lacugna, Catherine. “Presentation of the Creed,” 73-82. • ----“Presentation of the Lord’s Prayer,” 93-104.

Readings for Major Paper: Ritual Text link is in Blackboard. • Read the Ritual texts for the Easter Vigil. Find the texts that directly relate to your symbol. What is the connection? Do the prayer texts and rubrics (directions in red), symbol, and gesture complement each other or are there some disconnects? What is the meaning of the symbol and gestures that comes from the texts. • Look up the scripture readings for the Vigil. Which scripture passages make a good connection to the symbol and gestures? How do the scripture readings complement the symbol and gesture?

Required Posts: • Blog • Assignment: Major Paper section on Gestures: due Friday June 26 at 11:59 p.m.

MODULE 5: June 29 – July 5

RESIDENCY (June 29- July 2)

RCIA: Holy Week and Triduum

Readings for Module: Posted in Course Documents • McGuire, Anne. “Holy Week and the Paschal Mystery.” Liturgical Ministry 13 (Summer 2004): 119-127. • Kelly, Donna. “Holy Thursday: Triduum Inaugural.” Liturgical Ministry 13 (Summer 2004): 134-141. Required Post: • Assignment: Major Paper on Ritual Texts. Due Sunday, July 5, 2015 at 11:59 p.m.

MODULE 6: July 6 – July 12

Christian Initiation: The Easter Vigil Readings: Posted in Course Documents • Donnelly, Doris. “Easter Vigil: Keep Watch.” Liturgical Ministry 13 (Summer 2004): 150-151. • Witczak, Michael. “Baptismal Imagery: The Meeting of Two Worlds.” Liturgy Ministry 8 (Winter 1999): 22-30. • Watch the Easter Vigil on YouTube. Pay particular attention to the beginning rites and then the blessing of water and baptismal rites and scripture readings. Feel free to skip the Exultet, General Intercessions, Preparation of the Gifts, Eucharistic Prayer, and closing rites. What critique can you make of the various parts of baptism: baptismal bathing, the use of chrism, presentation of the candle? Did the symbols, words and gestures flow with the words of the texts? What critique can you make regarding the participants/ godparents? How were the rites for the candidates for Confirmation (those not baptized) handled? What would you do differently and what would you incorporate / like to incorporate into your parish experience. Major Paper: - Plan a Liturgical Catechesis on the Easter Vigil Symbol in preparation for the Easter Vigil. For details see: Week Six and Seven under Major Paper Link. A plan for this liturgical catechesis is due Fri., July 17 at 1:59 p.m. Required Posts: • Blog

MODULE 7 July 13 – July 19

Mystagogy: A Seven-Week Welcome!

  • Readings: Posted in Course Documents:
    • Dooley, Catherine. “From the Visible to the Invisible: Mystagogy in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” The Living Light 31 (1995): 29-35.
    • ______________. “ Mystagogy: a Model for Sacramental Catechesis,” in Candles Are Burning: 59-69. Eds. Gray, Heaton, Sullivan. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1995.
    • Dooley, Catherine. “From the Visible to the Invisible: Mystagogy in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” The Living Light 31 (1995): 29-35.
  • Required Post:
    • Journal Entry:
    • Assignment: Major Paper section on liturgical catechesis due: Friday, July 17 at 11:59 p.m.
    • See Questions in Module 7 or in the Major Paper and Major Reading link for developing a plan for a liturgical Catechesis on the Easter Vigil Symbol

MODULE 8 July 20 – July 26

Liturgical Catechesis: A Journey that Never Ends Required Post:

  • Discussion Board
  • Assignment: Plan the mystagogical catechesis for the symbol. (See Blackboard for details)
  • Final version of the Major Paper due Sunday, June 26 at 11:59 p.m. Post in the Assignment Link.


Module 1

  • Sacrosantum Concilium (SC 10) states that "the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows". If the Church declares that the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed, then catechesis as an activity of the church must be directed toward the liturgy. At the same time, the liturgy is the font from which the power flows it is the liturgy that empowers us to catechize. Catechesis is liturgical because the liturgy is central to it. Catechesis moves us toward the liturgy and the liturgy empowers us to nourish us and to catechize us.
  • We Catechize broadly by how we live and formally by teaching them the faith, the truths and content of the faith.
  • CCC p 1073 quotes SC 10 states that the "liturgy is the privileged place for catechizing the People of God".
  • Both liturgy and catechesis intend to transform
  • Finally, they should see to it that this instruction is based on Sacred Scripture, tradition, the liturgy, magisterium, and life of the Church. CD (14)
  • forming one in the faith is as important as informing them

From Symbol to Sacrament

  • Augustine presented first definition of sacrament as a "visible form of invisible grace"
  • Referring to the moral character of the minister Augustine said "The minister only deals with the "visible" form of the sacrament: God alone is responsible for the "invisible grace."
  • Augustine's formula defines a symbol, not just the particular symbolic actions that we call by the name of sacraments.
  • Efficacious - which rituals carry with them the guarantee of God's grace?
  • The seven rituals which the schoolmen agreed on as "sacraments" were in fact the rituals that wer common to all of the churches and transcended local differences.
  • Seven is a number which symbolizes wholeness.
  • The New Testament should not be used to "proof text" the institution of the sacraments.
  • Sacramentals remain visible forms of invisible grace but can not be said to carry the guarantee of grace.
  • Certain rites of the church should be seen as privileged expressions of the covenant between the lord and his church.
  • The protestant reformers agreed that the term "sacrament" should be restricted to those rituals which Christ commanded to be observed, and to which he gave a promise of grace. All agreed that baptism and the eucharist fulfilled this criterion.
  • in 20th century, theologians the rituals and sacraments were understood, namely as expressions of the church and the life of Christ.

Module 2

  • From The Role of the Catechist: Turner - Augustine’s Catechizing Beginners On the Catechising of the Uninstructed
    • What did it take to be a good catechist in fifth-century Africa?
    • De Catechizandis Rudibus (Catechizing Beginners), one of the first treatises on Christian catechesis
    • Augustine's work fall under four categories: the catechist, the beginner, the catechesis, and the liturgy.
    • Augustine recognizes the challenges : Preparing lessons is tedious (no. 16). Repeating the same information to people who cannot quite get it requires patience (no. 17). Accepting the listless response of some students is humbling (no. 18). Inspiring languid students to pay attention means being creative (no. 19). The call of other responsibilities is distracting (no. 20). Suffering personal offense (no. 21) or grief (no. 22) inhibits one's ability to focus on the material at hand
    • He urges the catechist to learn as much about individuals as possible
    • Augustine urges the catechist to evaluate the materials that have led to the beginner's conversion of heart
    • Deogratias asks for help in two areas: doctrine and method (no. 1). A catechist needs to have the facts right, but a catechist also needs skill in communicating them.
    • The foundational content of Augustine's catechesis is the Scriptures
    • Augustine favored summaries, comprehensive statements. Through a summary, the beginner grasps the central points from the full story and distinguishes them more readily from less essential parts.
    • Augustine was not interested simply in communicating information. He wanted people to change their behaviors as well
    • Spiritual preparation in the weeks before Baptism included exorcisms and scrutinies. Those about to be baptized received a summary of their catechetical formation in the presentation of the Creed. He then gave them the words of the Lord's Prayer as their final preparation for the day of Baptism.

From Symbol to Sacrament

From Tad Guzie The book of Sacramental basics

  • Augustine (+430), does little more than state the connection between symbol and the reality signified. A sacrament, he says, is a “visible form of invisible grace.”
  • he seven rituals which the schoolmen agreed on as “sacraments” were in fact rituals that were common to all of the churches and transcended local differences.
  • In general, the Protestant reformers agreed that the term “sacrament” should be restricted to those rituals which Christ commanded to be observed, and to which he gave a promise of grace. All agreed that baptism and the eucharist fulfilled this criterion.
  • In the sixteenth century neither Catholics nor Protestants possessed the theology that is so familiar to us now, namely that the church itself is the core sacrament, as Christ is himself the sacrament of God.
  • Christ and his people are the first visible form of invisible grace.”
  • But the fact is that the sacraments me symbols: this is where the theology of the sacraments began, and it is where our own age has had to return.
  • Symbols do what abstract thought cannot do. Symbols bring us into touch with realities which are at once familiar and mysterious. We use symbols to bring into our heads and hearts realities which are intimate to us, but which always lie beyond the power of our heads to pigeon-hole and absorb into abstract ideas. Augustine spoke of visible forms of invisible grace. The same idea can be put in a more contemporary way: Symbols are tangible, and when we touch them we touch a mystery that is at once familiar and elusive.
  • The now familiar theology is that the church itself is the core sacrament, as Christ is himself the sacrament of God.
  • Today the idea of being church has become the starting point for all sound sacramental theology.
  • sacraments are symbols: this is where the theology of the sacraments began, and it is where our own age has had to return.
  • Symbols are tangible, and when we touch them we touch a mystery that is at once familiar and elusive.
  • For some couples wedding rings might be a reminder of an ideal love, a love that never came to be, or a romantic love that has faded. For a couple who possess their present love, the rings are a carrier of something real and present. Worn and felt and noticed at various moments of the day, the rings are symbols of the familiar mystery which the wife and husband are living. Don’t such things as rings touch into a familiar mystery?
  • We use symbols like stones and wedding rings, totems and flags and emblems, precisely because they work where logic or a sermon does not. Symbols, not discourses or discussions, do the most effective job of bringing into our awareness the realities
  • But when symbols are only reminders, they are no longer symbols. A real symbol always brings us into touch not just with a memory but with a living present, and indeed a present which contains a hope for the future and which helps to carry us into the future.
  • The profoundness of a symbol lies in its being just what it is. Giving or receiving a gift, sharing a meal, laying hands on a friend in love or blessing are profound things.
  • All true symbols shape our reality. When a symbol is brought forward or enacted, reality is altered for us. All true symbols are efficacious. In the very act of signifying a reality, they both make and change our reality. How then are the sacraments different from other symbols? Only in the reality which they signify, not in their being symbols.
  • Christians have priorities among the great and gratuitous mysteries of life. This means that some symbols will be more precious than others, more central to the venture of living as Christians. This is precisely why seven sacraments came to be distinguished from the other
  • appreciation for the riches of the sacraments seems to develop only as people, young and old, are brought back into touch with the other rich symbols that surround them and efficaciously touch their lives.

Module 3 Notes

  • From Unfolding the Mystery of Christ: The Liturgy of the Word
    • The lectionary may be brilliantly conceived, but of itself it cannot release the word of God into our midst. A liturgy of the word can do that.
    • Not all celebrations of the word are the liturgy of the word. The RCIA distinguishes between celebrations of the word that support the catechesis leading "to an appropriate acquaintance with dogmas and precepts" and "to a profound sense of the mystery of salvation and celebrations of the word that are a part of the liturgical rites belonging to the catechumenal journey (75.3).
    • It is participation at the table each Sunday that is the distinctive characteristic of membership in the Catholic Christian community
    • As the catechumens are dismissed, the presider urges them to live according to the word of God that have just heard (67). If the gathering of the assembly and the liturgy of the word are done in the-··way the reformed liturgy intends, they should awaken in the catechumens a hunger for the eucharist with all the consequences noted earlier
    • two fundamental principles of the liturgical reform: the presence of Christ in the word proclaimed and his presence in the assembly itself ( Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 7).
    • Pre vatican 2 - The scripture readings were a kind of prelude to "the Mass," a less important "Mass of the Catechumens."
    • Although the liturgy of the word is liturgy and not instruction, it does form the attitudes of the worshipers
    • Celebrating the liturgy of the word as th,e mystery of Christ's presence among us requires our awareness and conviction that Christ is present in the assembly itself
    • Because the liturgy is the act of Christ carried out in his body, the church, the assembly is both the hearer and the proclaimer of the word
    • To celebrate the liturgy of the word is to celebrate God's presence in the proclaiming of the word
    • The ritual ingredients of the liturgy of the word are ritual proclamation, musical acclamations, gesture and movement, silence, and ministers of proclamation and preaching who have an awareness of what ought to be happening
    • We not only dishonor the word of God when we proclaim it from throwaway leaflets, but we dishonor the hearers.
    • The reader holds the lectionary in his or her hands for the storytelling. This is holy storytelling, which needs to engage the hearers; it is not instruction from a book resting on a reading desk.
    • Active participation means more than simply responding; it means engaging fully in an action that is not done for the people but by them
    • Each Sunday the homily ought to have some mystagogy in it, that is, a connecting of the assembly's ritual activity with the proclaimed word of the day
    • When catechumens are dismissed following the liturgy of the word, they are enjoined to live according to the word of God that they have just heard and to remain together to share their joy and spiritual experiences (RCIA, 67).

Module 4 Notes

  • From Chapter 6 of Celebrating the Rites of Christian Initiation: Pastoral Reflections - To Worship God in Spirit and in Truth: First Scrutiny.
    • verb "to scrutinize" as investigating or looking closely to see something that is not readily apparent, or to ferret out something less than desirable.
    • these celebrations were solemn public intercessions made by the community of the faithful on behalf of those who already f were chosen to receive the Easter -sacraments in the form in prayer for their protection and deliverance was traditionally cast was that of an exorcism.
    • Old Gelasian Sacramentary, one of the earliest sacramentaries of the Roman Rite.
    • emphasis of this traditional scrutiny exorcism is on God's might and protection, and on the call of the elect to baptism, not on the power of the devil
    • the ancient church had a lively belief in the activity of evil spirits that influenced human life. Those who had not yet renounced. Satan and his demons at baptism still were considered vulnerable to diabolical influences and in need of the powerful intercessory prayer offered by the assembly of baptized Christians.
    • The early christians personified evil.
    • Catholics both plead for and celebrate liberation from these evils in the scrutlnes. Through these prayers, we acknowledge God's power to free us from that which makes us less than human, from that which separates us from God's love
    • we "confidently proclaim God's power to help us overcome these evils"
    • Only those can be liberated who know hey are enslaved."' As he introductory paragraphs of the RCIA point out, the scrutinies are celebrated precisely to promote an awareness of those sins from which the elect need to be freed.
    • the purpose of the scrutinies "to inspire in the elect a desire for purification and redemption by Christ" and "to instruct them gradually about the mystery of sin from which the whole world and every person longs to be delivered" (RCIA, 143).
    • In re-proposing the scrutinies, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults emphasizes the need for the self-knowledge that can come only after meditation on God's word. For this reason, the scrutinies take place after the proclamation of the word and the homily. The celebration begins with') petitions inspired by the gospel, focused primarily on the deliverance of the elect and voiced in the name of the entire community. It is these petitions that the rite considers the scrutiny proper, while the exorcism that follows serves to reinforce them.
    • scrutinies are called rites of "self-searching and repentance"
    • exorcism the earnest prayer of the church for the deliverance from evil and for strengthening those soon to be baptized.
    • Three natures of sin - personal, social and cosmic should not be overemphasized
    • Authentic worship is that in which the worshipers recognize the truth about themselves and about their relationship with God and one another because of Jesus Christ. The prayers for the first scrutiny use the image of an "authentic worshiper" to speak about the consequences of having faced evil and self-delusion with the help of God's grace:
  • From Chapter 7 Presentation of the Creed
    • Creed - a commonly held kerygma
  • From Chapter 8 - Second Scrutiny
  • From Chapter 10 Lazarus cone out! Third Scrutiny
    • A scrutiny is more than an exercise in self-awareness and is very different from submitting one's conduct to the judgement of the church. Better to say that Jesus is the one who scrutinizes the elect whom he loves and calls to himself.
    • Neither the elect nor the sponsors speak during the liturgy.
  • From Baptismal Bathing from Words and Gestures in the Liturgy
  • From Baptismal Imagery The Meeting of Two Worlds Michael G. Witczak
    • Two major strands of theological reflection on baptism. -
    • The baptism of Jesus is at the center of any reflection on the meaning of Christian baptism.
    • First, Jesus' baptism by John is beyond the experience of others receiving John's baptism. It is a theophany. Second, the Holy Spirit is clearly an actor in the event. Third Father speaks from the heavens, announcing that Jesus is his own Son
    • a baptism in water done in the power of the Holy Spirit, which establishes a public identity of the baptized one as God's child
    • A primary image for baptism is that of a bath.
      • Here Paul uses the image of water as a cleansing agent, washing away the filth of a life of sin
      • But there is also the bath of regeneration
    • Baptism is a sealing in the Holy Spirit... In baptism we have been sealed, marked, branded by the Holy Spirit, who now dwells within us, fundamentally altering who we are
    • Baptism is an enlightenment
    • Two fundamental images of baptism emerge in the writings of the New Testament: baptism as dying and rising with Christ, and baptism as being born again in water and the Spirit
    • Paul is describing a historical event, Christ's dying and rising, and calling Christians to see themselves as participants in the same reality
    • The blessing of water used at the Easter Vigil... emphasizes the role of baptism as an end of sin and a rising to new life in Christ.
    • Three moments from the Old Testament (creation, the flood, and the crossing of me Red Sea) and three from the New (Christ's baptism by John, the water and blood from his side on the cross, the missionary mandate) constitute the anamnesis or memorial of the prayer
    • There is a transition to the epiclesis, where the Holy Spirit is asked to make the water a place of grace to cleanse from sin and cause to rise to new life.
    • The flood is a sign of baptism that "makes an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness."
    • Red Sea is the event in which God "led Israel out of slavery to be an image of God's holy people, set free from sin by baptism."
    • Just as Christ rose from the tomb, so too we rise from the waters of baptism freed from sin and ready to live Christ's own life
    • Cyril - the water of salvation became both tomb and mother for you.
    • Baptism as Being Born Anew of Water and the Holy Spirit
    • no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit
    • The baptismal font is thus not just a tomb but also a womb from which the children of light are born
    • Pope St. Leo the Great- Church their virgin mother
    • These two themes, that of baptism as participation in the dying and rising of Christ, and of baptism as new birth, seldom appear completely isolated
    • The "initiation unity" school sees the three sacraments of Christian initiation as fundamentally oriented to one another.
    • The final school identified by Covino is the "corresponding practice" school. These authors recognize the two separate ways that people come to the Church, some as adults and some as infants. The Church responds to them in ways appropriate to their age and needs. Clearly, the two basic images are at play here, one being more attuned to the issues of adults (dying and rising with Christ) and the other more to children (being born again in water and the Spirit).
    • The theology of baptism has been enriched by moving beyond a negative focus on the forgiveness of original sin. The paschal dimension found so richly in the celebration of the Easter Vigil, participating in Christ's dying and rising, offers a positive theology of baptism
    • N. P. Williams, who identifies two approaches to redemption: those of the once born and of the twice born.
    • Adult baptism, the economy of the "twice born," tends to draw to itself the vocabulary of regeneration as opposed to generation; of brothers and sisters rather than sons and daughters; of voluntary decision rather than divine vocation; of change rather than faithfulness; of breaking with the past rather than growth towards the future; of death and resurrection rather than adoption and filiation. The language of infant initiation, on the other hand, is inclined to speak in terms of the womb rather than the tomb, of election rather than choice, of loyalty rather than commitment, of the preconscious operations of grace rather than of personal convictions, of nurturing the life of faith rather than of passing from unbelief to belief
    • A celebration of baptism must highlight the both/and character of the nonverbal symbols and the scriptural images

Module 6 Notes

  • from Easter Vigil: Keep Watch Doris Donnelly
    • in the eucharist that the breaking that Jesus does has nothing to do with destroying but a great deal to do with dividing so that all might have a share... being sure that all, not some, are included in the banquet of the Lamb.
    • not much else worth noting in the rest of the article.

Module 7 Notes

  • From Mystagogy: a Model for Sacramental Catechesis,” in Candles Are Burning:
    • The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults describes mystagogy or postbaptismal catechesis: a time for the community and the neophytes together to grow in deepening their grasp of the paschal mystery and in making it part of their lives through meditation on the Gospel, sharing in the eucharist and doing the works of charity. (RCIA 234)
    • the purpose of mystagogy is to identify and appropriate God's loving presence which already exists in the lives of the community and the neophytes.
    • The 'text' of the homily then is 'the experience of the liturgical actions that constitute sacramental celebrations
    • is, both the initiation rites and the reflection upon the rites in terms of one's life are the elements of mystagogy.
    • to bring the neophytes to a deeper participation and to prepare them to live a life of faithfulness to Christ.
    • The purpose was to lead not only to a deeper appreciation of the liturgical celebration by which the neophyte names, appropriates and celebrates the awesome mystery of God's love but to adopting a sacramental vision of life by which one is able to look at one's own life through the eyes of faith and discover an inner and deeper meaning in the ordinary.
    • Typology therefore is the search for correspondences and relationships within the framework of historical revelation
    • The contemporary rite of initiation claims this biblical/liturgical perspective of the early mystagogues as the foundational principles for a renewed sacramental catechesis or mystagogy:
    • The RCIA restores the original order and unity of the sacraments of initiation - baptism, confirmation and Eucharist
    • Symbols and symbolic actions are the ways in which the presence of Christ and his mystery is manifest to the worshipping community and the way in which the community's response to God's initiative is made evident
    • In view of the prevailing culture's emphasis on the rational, it is important to underline a more total approach to the human person 'by opening up and developing the non-rational elements of liturgical celebration: the concerns for feelings of conversion, support, joy, repentance, trust, love, memory, movement, gesture, wonder
    • The symbols communicate not by removing ambiguity but by flooding the senses with it. The non-verbal and the experiential nature of the rites has the power to form and to transform the human person.
    • Just as Christ is the visible manifestation and tangible presence of God so too the Church is the sacrament of Christ in history until he comes again.
    • proceeding from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the "sacraments" to the "mysteries" ' (no. 1075).
    • The rite is the starting point.
    • The purpose here is not to explain the rite but to explore the various images in their scriptural, historical and liturgical aspects as well as in the candidate's own experience in order to build up a whole vocabulary of associations that the candidate can bring to the celebration as a means of interpretation
    • But the paschal event, which occurred only once in history, is contemporary with each moment of our own lives, we do the remembering, but the reality remembered is no longer in the past but is here: the Church's memory becomes a presence
    • series of questions that are grouped around the personal experience in relationship to the rite
    • Mystagogy engages the imagination. It evokes rather than explains. It enlightens rather than defines. Mystagogy brings together personal story and the images of the Scripture with the actions and relationships of the liturgy. It fosters a sacramental vision that gives us a new way to name and to know God.
  • From Visible to the Invisible: Mystagogy in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” The Living Light 31
    • “The aim of liturgical catechesis is to “initiate people into the mystery of Christ (It is “mystagogy.”) by proceeding from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the ‘sacraments’ to the ‘mysteries'"
    • “the term mystagogy means initiation into sacred mysteries, and secondly is an explanation of the mystery hidden in the Scriptures and celebrated in the liturgy.1”
    • “The signs are rich in meaning and also ambiguous; therefore the task of the catechist is to help the neophytes as well as the believers to learn to read the signs and “to enter into the mystery of Christ’s dying and rising.”
    • “The catechism presents the “paschal catechesis” of the Lord (Luke 24, the disciples on the road to Emmaus) as an example of organic unity of liturgical catechesis.”
    • “their eyes were closed” and “their eyes were opened” are key to understanding the passage. Mys-tagogy fosters the awareness that the sacramental principle—“attending to the invisible as if it were visible”
    • “Sacramental celebrations rely upon a sacramental perspective, that is, seeing the invisible in the visible and believing that all created reality is capable of manifesting God. ”
    • “In general, these early bishops delayed catechesis on the sacraments until after the catechumens had experienced the rites of initiation.”
    • “The preaching of the mystagogues was in the context of the weekly observance of Sunday, the celebration of the Paschal Feast with its preparatory period of Lent and its following fifty days that marked the ascension and culminated in Pentecost.”
    • “It is out of this liturgical context that the Catechism of the Catholic Church identifies mystagogy as the celebration and interpretation of the mystery being celebrated.”
    • “Cyril of Jerusalem told his catechumens that seeing is far more persuasive than simply hearing; therefore he waited until they had experienced the sacraments to explore their significance.10 This pedagogical wisdom was one reason for delaying catechesis on the sacraments until the sacramental initiation had taken place. ”
    • “Mystagogy is a means of articulating the sacramental experience of seeing the invisible in the visible and is a way of providing for the continuing initiation of all Christians.”


  • Alexander, Neil. “Embracing the Elusive: Capturing Mystery and Liturgical History,” Liturgical Ministry 8 (Summer 1999): 113-122.
  • Brancatelli, Robert. “Religiosidad Popular as a Form of Liturgical Catechesis.” Worship 77 (2003): 210-224.
  • Chauvet, Louis-Marie. The Sacraments: The Word of God at the Mercy of the Body. Trans. Madeleine Beaumont. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2001.
  • Clarahan, Mary Ann. “Liturgical Catechesis for the Rite of Anointing”. Living Light 31(Summer 1995): 58-69.
    • “Mystagogy and Mystery.” Worship 83/6 (November 2009): 502-23.
  • Collins, Mary. “Festivals of Reconciliation.” In The Echo Within: Emerging Issues in Religious Education, eds. C. Dooley-M. Collins, 71-86. Allen, TX: Thomas More, 1997.
  • Dallen, James. The Dilemma of Priestless Sundays. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1994.
  • Dooley, Catherine. “Celebrating the Word of Forgiveness! Using the 4th Form of the Rite of Penance.” Liturgical Catechesis 6 n.2 (2003): 9-11.
    • “Baptismal Catechumenate: Model for All Catechesis.” Louvain Studies 23 (1998): 114-123.
    • “The General Directory for Catechesis and the Catechism: Focus on Evangelizing.” Origins 28 n.3 (4 June 1998): 34-39.
    • “Evangelization and Catechesis: Partners in a New Millennium.” In The Echo Within: 145-159. Eds. C. Dooley–M. Collins. Allan, TX: Thomas More, 1997.
    • “From the Visible to the Invisible: Mystagogy in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” The Living Light 31 (1995): 29-35.
    • “Lex orandi, lex credendi: Implications for Catechesis,” in Catechetical Scholars III: Perspectives on Evangelization and Catechesis, 79-85. Edited by Diana Dudoit Raiche. Washington D.C.: National Catholic Educational Association, 2005.
    • “ Mystagogy: a Model for Sacramental Catechesis,” in Candles Are Burning: 59-69. Eds. Gray, Heaton, Sullivan. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1995.
    • “Liturgical Catechesis: Mystagogy, Marriage or Misnomer”. Worship 66 (1992): 386-92.
    • “The Use and Misuse of Lectionary Catechesis for Children.” Living Light 27 (Spring 1991): 218-224.
    • “The Sign of the Cross.” In Liturgy (Central Symbols) 7 (1987): 61-65.
  • Driscoll, Michael. “Symbol, Mystery, and Catechesis: Toward a Mystagogical Approach.” Liturgical Ministry 7 (1998): 67-75.
  • Gallagher, Michael Paul. Clashing Symbols: An Introduction to Faith and Culture. Revised edition. London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 2003.
  • Hibbard, John. “Sunday Worship in the Absence of Eucharist,” in Traditions and Transitions, 92-109. Eds. Eleanor Bernstein and Martin Connell. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1998.
  • Jackson, Pamela. “Ambrose of Milan as Mystagogue.” Augustinian Studies 20 (1989): 93-107.
  • Jackson, Pamela. “Cyril of Jerusalem’s Use of Scripture in Catechesis.” Theological Studies 52 (1991): 431-450.
  • Mazza, Enrico. Mystagogy: A Theology of Liturgy in the Patristic Age. Trans. Matthew O’Connell. New York: Pueblo, 1989.
  • Mitchell, Nathan. Liturgy and the Social Sciences. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1999. (This is a good resource for a review of 20th century approaches to ritual studies).
  • Nocent, Adrien. “Liturgical Catechesis of the Christian Year.” Worship 51 (1977): 496-504.
  • O’Brien, Scott. “O Marvelous Exchange: A Consideration for Eucharistic Catechesis.” Liturgical Ministry 10 (2001): 23-30.
  • Ostdiek, Gilbert. “Catechesis, Liturgical.” in NDSW, 163-72.
    • “Liturgy as Catechesis for Life.” The Living Light 37 (Summer 2001): 45-54.
  • Power, David. “The Word in the Liturgy: Incarnating the Gospel in Cultures,” 47-61in Sacraments: Revelation of the Humanity of God. Eds. Philippe Bordeyne and Bruce Morrill. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2008.
    • Sacrament: The Language of God’s Giving, Crossroads, New York 1999.
  • Satterlee, Craig. Ambrose of Milan’s Method of Mystagogical Preaching. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2002.
  • Searle, Mark with intro. by Margaret Mary Kelleher. “Introduction to Images and Worship,” in Vision: the Scholarly Contributions of Mark Searle to Liturgical Renewal: 123-136. Koester, Anne and Barbara Searle, eds. Collegeville: the Liturgical Press, 2004.
  • Turner, Paul. “The Role of the Catechist: Augustine’s Catechizing Beginners,” Living Light 39 (Fall 2002) 17-23.
    • The National Directory for Catechesis. Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005
    • General Directory for Catechesis. Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1997.
    • Liturgy Documents: A Parish Resource. Fourth edition. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2004.

Catechism of the Catholic Church. Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1994.

    • Komonchak, Joseph, Mary Collins, and Dermot A. Lane, eds. The New Dictionary of Theology. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1987.
    • Fink, Peter, ed. The New Dictionary of Sacramental Worship. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1990
    • Dwyer, Judith, ed. The New Dictionary of Social Thought. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1994.
    • Downey, Michael, ed. The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1993.