The Family as the Cultural Revolution

A week before his pastoral visit to Cuba and the United States, and his visit to the White House, Pope Francis spoke of a civilizational shift that is occurring in our times—a pivotal moment in which the mission of Christian families will play a crucial role in “emancipating humanity.” In God’s plan, marriage and family are civilization’s basic line of defence against “attacks… and…ideologies which greatly threaten the world,” he said in his September 16 catechesis. That’s why we’ve arrived at “this time of crisis in which the devil is seeking to destroy them.”1 In his gestures and actions, the Pope has shown, again and again, that for him, the real heroes of holiness are men, women, and children who will never make the nine o’clock news, or the celebrity A-lists, but who will carry forward the light of the Gospel through the witness of their lives, bringing Christ into the culture and the culture to Christ.

But reeling from the undertow of a secular tsunami, and weakened by decades of spiritual malnutrition, how can Catholic families rebuild the strength they need to live out their mission as cells of sanctity, agents of Gospel infiltration, in enemy-occupied territory? The training program that Pope Francis proposes draws from the ancient wellsprings of Christianity. Part one of this article will present a synopsis of the Pope’s vision of a “training in holiness” for families, through re-connection with the sources of faith; the second part will look at the ancient Church’s covenantal and mystagogical approach to formation; and part three will examine practical ways of building Catholic family identity by recovering the “deep memory” of our faith, leading to a profound engagement with the mission of evangelization.

A Three-Point Plan

Pope Francis’s family rehab program for the New Evangelization could be summarized in three interlinked steps: (1.) Pastoral Conversion for priests and people, involving a return to the roots of the faith; (2.) Mystagogical Renewal, or what is sometimes called “post-baptismal” catechumenate, fostering in families an “intimacy with the Word of God” that gradually forms us for our vocation in life; and, (3.) Evangelization, showing “with our flesh, with our life” that Jesus is alive and that we have met him – a mission shared by every single person who is joined to Christ by baptism.2

I once heard an experienced Catholic evangelist predict that in a time to come, in order to survive at all, marriages would have to be lived consciously “in the Lord.” Furthermore, the only vocations that would thrive would be ones that were actively sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit. Such predictions might seem over-the-top, but they’re based on a vision of faith normative for our forebears in apostolic times. If it all sounds rather strange to our ears, that might be an indication of our distance in mentality from the ancient foundations of the faith—the proverbial “canary in the (ecclesial) coalmine.”

It is this kind of back-to-basics perspective that underpins Pope Francis’s pastoral strategy for priests and people in the New Evangelization. The favorite twin concepts of this Jesuit pontiff are mission and mysticism, action and contemplation—a fact that still seems to generate surprise. His plan for re-evangelization in the face of a massive fall-off in practice among cradle Catholics is not programs of radical pastoral innovation, or changes in doctrine, or a razing of authority structures; instead, he proposes a wholehearted return to the well-springs of faith.

Pastoral Conversion

The first step of this rehabilitation program is crystallized in one essential ingredient: personal conversion to Jesus Christ. This is the core Gospel message—the kerygma—the secret weapon for the revival of faith in every age. It means falling in love with Christ, in whom we discover the face of the merciful Father. This is no soft-soap version of a more rigorous Catholicism, a kind of “comfort gospel.” It requires a radical and uncomfortable turning over of our whole life to the Savior, warts and all; a real and ongoing repentance, entrusting every aspect of our daily existence to him, and allowing his Spirit to change our hearts and minds. It means grasping that our lives belong completely to this Messiah who, the Pope insists, is inseparably united to his Body, the Church.3

The path Pope Francis offers out of current difficulties is this way of “pastoral conversion”—through a retrieval of the Church’s mystical roots. Two years ago, during his visit to the New World’s most populous Catholic nation, Brazil, he explained that:

…“pastoral care” is nothing other than the exercise of the Church’s motherhood. She gives birth, suckles, gives growth, corrects, nourishes, and leads by the hand … So we need a Church capable of rediscovering the maternal womb of mercy.4

However, according to Francis, this revitalizing of the Church’s mission of mercy—the theme of the Jubilee Year 2016—is achieved, not by abandoning her teaching role in the face of dissent and moral failure, but by a wholesale return to the roots. It means directing people back to the fundamentals of “scripture, catechesis, the sacraments, community, friendship with the Lord, Mary and the apostles.” The Pope’s challenge to the Brazilian bishops was this: “Are we still able to speak of these roots in a way that will revive a sense of wonder at their beauty?”

Pope Francis referred to the “enormous confusion and … emptiness which people are unable to explain, regarding the purpose of life, personal disintegration, and the loss of the experience of belonging to a ‘home’…” They desperately need the Church to give them something which they themselves cannot provide: “namely, God himself.” This is the reason why the Pope’s grand plan for the New Evangelization has the same basic profile as that of his predecessors, albeit with a different cultural wrapping: personalencounter with the living God. With shades of the Samaritan woman at the well, he affirmed that:

God lets himself be brought home. He awakens in us a desire to keep him and his life in our homes, in our hearts. He reawakens in us a desire to call our neighbors in order to make known his beauty. Mission is born precisely from this divine allure, by this amazement born of encounter.

Meeting Christ in His Paschal Mystery

In light of the Pope’s words, we can see how each family needs to experience its own individual encounter with Christ, in order to become messengers of his saving Gospel.5And it’s in the sacraments— above all in the liturgy—that we meet the Savior who “died and rose again so that we would have a new life … of intimate friendship with God”.6It’s here that our identity as disciples is reinforced, and we are “formed, informed, and transformed” for our mission as Christ’s Body in the world.7It’s in the Eucharist that we receive the strength for our journey, nourished by the Lord’s Word, and by receiving the infusion of his Life into our bodies. As individuals and families, we are then commissioned to go and live out this “sacrament of love” in our everyday interactions.8But with levels of sacramental participation plummeting in once thriving Catholic communities, and with dwindling vocations, how will those who remain receive the spiritual formation they need for their mission as “other Christs”? Once more, for Francis, the source of renewal is found in returning, again and again, to the divine source: the wellsprings of faith.

However, the words of St. Paul are relevant here: “… how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:13-14). It is primarily pastors who are tasked with breaking open the richness of Word and Sacrament for the people in the pews. And this, in turn, is dependent on what Jeremy Driscoll calls “the secret life of the preacher with Christ”.9

So, amid the smorgasbord of spiritual strategies and renewal courses on offer in the average diocese, what paths might be most fruitful in order for priests and people to implement the Pope’s plan for “pastoral conversion”? In the next section, we will take a more in-depth look at the contours of Pope Francis’s return to the roots, and its link to a revival of the ancient Church’s “sacramental mysticism.”

Part 2: Missionary Mysticism—The Key to Renewing the Domestic Church?

The key to renewal of the domestic church lies in the recovery of the ancient Church’s vision of the family “made alive in Christ” through baptism, and taking part, here and now, in the mysteries of salvation—both the object of evangelization and the agent of mission. This section will take a more in-depth look at a mystical and mystagogical approach to family formation. After an introduction to mystagogy, we will examine the origins of a covenantal or “salvation history” approach to catechesis, and look at some samples of preaching and teaching from its golden age.

Part of Pope Francis’s plan for “pastoral conversion” in the pews and the pulpits is a little-noticed theme he sounded in his second encyclical, Joy of the Gospel (par. 166). Here he highlights one of the forgotten well-springs of faith that is in need of revival. His appeal for a “mystagogical renewal” arises from the ancient Church’s practice of deep and ongoing initiation into the mysteries of the faith for those who had been baptized—a kind of post-baptismal catechesis.

In turn, this practice was deeply rooted in the insights of Old Testament faith. One of the most important aspects of Israel’s belief was the understanding that every generation of God’s people—particularly through the family—had a real sharing in the events of salvation history as the “carriers of the Covenant.”10 This occurred through participation in the liturgical life of the community: the annual cycle of the great feasts, the daily praying of the Shema, the weekly celebration of the Sabbath, and the ritual immersions (mikveh). The same motif of salvation, in and through the family, stands out in early Christianity. From the household baptisms of Acts, to the later insights of Augustine and John Chrysostom, regarding the domestic church, the family is consistently seen as the “little sanctuary,” a living tabernacle which acts as the carrier of the faith through the generations.

The Continuing Adventure of Christian Initiation

In urging a return to the sources, Pope Francis is building on this foundation. Both he and his predecessor, Benedict XVI, have urged a more widespread use of the mystagogical approach beyond the usual context of the RCIA, developing what the Catechism has called a “post-baptismal catechumenate” for those who were baptized as infants (CCC §1231). Author Stratford Caldecott (beatae memoriae) calls this the “continuing adventure” of Christian Initiation, a new life of intimacy with God that must grow, or it will simply wither and die.11

Thus, mysticism, or consciously living in the divine presence, isn’t an optional extra for Christian families. This bread-and-butter mysticism applies to every single baptized person, not just a few exceptional individuals (CCC §2014). It is called “mystical” because it “participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments—‘the holy mysteries’—and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity” (ibid). Christ himself told us that such union with God is for all who welcome him: “Anyone who loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make a home in him” (Jn 14:23).

A mystical and mystagogical approach to faith fulfills the urgent need for what the U.S. bishops have called a “lifelong formation … for all disciples in the Church”12—families, perhaps, most of all. In Sacrament of Charity, Pope Benedict describes mystagogy as “an education in Eucharistic faith capable of enabling the faithful to live … what they celebrate”—to be “personally conformed to the mystery”.13 The aim of such education or “training in worship” is truly holistic: to draw out the significance of the sacramental mysteries for “the Christian life in all its dimensions—work and responsibility, thoughts and emotions, activity and repose”.14 Where should this ongoing formation apply more than in the family, as the essential cell of society and of the Church?

In the face of the dramatic disconnect between faith and life today, there’s no separation envisaged here between creed and praxis. Pope Benedict highlights the link between mystagogy and mission:

Part of the mystagogical process is to demonstrate how the mysteries celebrated in the rite are linked to the missionary responsibility of the faithful. The mature fruit of mystagogy is an awareness that one’s life is being progressively transformedby the holy mysteries being celebrated (SC §64).

His use of words like “demonstrate” and “train” underlines the indispensable role of pastors, parents, and catechists in fostering the process of “transformation.” In Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis uses a similar tone in urging the important role of mystagogy in the revitalization of baptismal identity. He describes the process as a “progressive experience of formation,” that integrates “every dimension of the person, within a communal journey…” He is emphatic that many “manuals and programs have not yet taken sufficiently into account the need for a mystagogical renewal” (EG §166). That’s a real cue for action for the Synod, if one was needed!

Rediscovering Our Family Roots in Salvation History

The foundation underpinning the mystagogical formation process is the mystery of divine filiation or adoptive sonship—our new Family identity in Christ. Because memory is the key to identity, all our catechetical efforts are part of a deeper enterprise—one that re-establishes the domestic church once again among its familial roots in the “divine drama of salvation history.”15This is the unfolding story of the Covenant or “divine economy,” in which all the members of the Family of God are actors, especially through their participation in the liturgy and the sacramental life.16

This covenantal or salvation history approach to catechesis has its wellspring in the intense biblical catechesis employed by the Church’s early evangelizers, which led into the golden age of mystagogy in the fourth to seventh centuries. Building on insights from St. Paul, the driving force for the preaching and teaching of bishops—like Cyril of Jerusalem, Ambrose of Milan, and John Chrysostom—was a spiritual or typological interpretation of the events of salvation history, viewed in the light of their fulfilment in the New Covenant, and their actualization for believers “here and now” in the sacramental life—all different phases of one divine plan. As a result of this unified vision, the mysteries or truths of the faith, handed down from the apostles, were not just abstract theories for these pastors, but real points of entry into the sacred, a meeting of heaven and earth, like the Eucharist itself.

Divine Adoption as a Living Reality

More than anything else, these shepherds sought to lead the faithful to experience for themselves the reality of their divine adoption. Re-reading their homilies today, we can sense some of the excitement of the speakers, as they share with the newly baptized the revelation of the divine mysteries into which believers have been swept up through saving Word and Sacrament. These shepherds were personally transformed by the mystery they celebrated, the mystery of divine sonship, so they were preaching what they had experienced themselves. They eagerly proclaimed the “wonderful mysteries … taking place in the celebration of the liturgy,” so that others might experience the same transformation.17

In this regard, the early evangelizers may have something to teach their priestly, catechetical, and episcopal counterparts today: become what you are, and so lead by example.18 This is what it means in practice to be “conformed to Christ” – what Cardinal Wuerl recently described as the heart of Christian witness: the “identity of message and messenger.”19

A Wonder and a Paradox

A sample of such life-giving teaching from the Church Fathers is found in the Catecheses of Bishop Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386). Here we catch a glimpse of what a revived mystagogical instruction might aspire to being.20 Bishop Cyril addresses himself to those who have been “found worthy of divine and life-giving Baptism,” and explains the “wonder and paradox” of our new identity in Christ.

…Christ actually died. His soul was really separated from his body. But for us, on the one hand, there is the imitation of his death and his sufferings, and on the other, not imitation, but the reality of salvation. […] What a wonder and a paradox! … Christ was really crucified, really placed in the tomb; he really rose again. And all these things were done through love for us, so that, sharing by imitation in his sufferings, we might truly obtain salvation. (Lecture XX, On the Mysteries II. Of Baptism.)

This is an example of the Patristic doctrine of “participation,” rooted in the teaching of St. Paul (Romans 6:1f.). Though it might seem abstract at first glance, it is based on the flesh-and-blood principle of God’s total identification with us in Jesus Christ. Through sacramental “imitation” of his mysteries, we become children of God (Jn. 1:12), co-heirs with the Only Son, incorporated into “the Body into which the miracle of the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit breaks through.”21 From now on, we share in the Son’s relationship with the Father through the power of the “Spirit of adoption” (Rom 8:15), who is “the guarantee of our (heavenly) inheritance until we acquire possession of it” (Eph 1:13-14). This inheritance is the “gift of friendship (with God) irrevocably bestowed,” the fulfillment of the great covenant promises of salvation history.22 The challenge, though, is to make this extraordinary gift a reality in ordinary life. This is where Pope Francis’s plan for “pastoral conversion” and “mystagogical formation” has a role to play.

Recovering the Deep Memory of Our Faith

At the present time, something as seemingly routine as the presence of families at Sunday Mass should be the way into a deeper experience of the mysteries of faith, and a revitalizing of baptismal identity. Properly grasped, this is the Church’s greatest tool of formation, the key to our new filial identity in Christ. The Eucharist, after all, is the highpoint of Christian mysticism, the “wellspring of all blessing.” But what exactly should we understand by family “participation” in the liturgy today? Can any light be shed on it in the context of mystagogical formation?

Once again, the Church Fathers give us a clue. As we have already seen, true participation is fostered in the context of a gradual catechesis—biblical, sacramental, and liturgical—that transforms us from within, reinforcing our identity, and building the store of understanding of our whole “family history.”23It stands in contrast to the massive religious amnesia of our time: an ignorance of our Judaeo-Christian roots that has become endemic. Church historian, Christopher Blum makes the point that “…without a real connection—alive in our memories—to God’s saving work in the past, we can hardly be Christians.”24

We’re lacking what Pope Francis calls the “deep memory” of our faith.25And recovery of this deep memory is an essential part of mystagogical renewal. Already, writing in the 1950s, theologian and catechist Johannes Hofinger, S.J., had urged the importance of ongoing formation in Scripture and Sacrament, Bible and liturgy, to foster an authentically Catholic identity.26Hofinger’s theme of ‘ “training in worship” is taken up in the Catechism, which explains how mystagogy gradually builds identity by “initiating people into the mystery of Christ—proceeding from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the sacraments to the mysteries” (CCC §1075). This sacramental mysticism is the key to Catholicism, both ancient and new.

Mystagogy in preaching and in practice

So what does the rediscovery of mystagogy and sacramental mysticism amount to in practice? There are certainly aspects of such formation in the programs and spiritual initiatives of many of the Church’s traditional apostolates and movements. Included in this are contemplative prayer practices that foster what Pope Francis calls “an intimacy with the Word of God,”27—such as lectio divina, Ignatian meditation, and the contemplative Rosary28—all of which manifest that “friendship with the Lord, Mary and the brethren” that’s at the foundation of the faith and of family spirituality. However, the Eucharist itself is the apex of Christian mystical life.29 A specifically Eucharistic mystagogy, by complementing existing initiatives, could help to reverse the effects on families of the crisis of faith. In particular, it could act as a springboard for the renewal of baptismal identity in the family.

Though it’s still relatively rare, there is some evidence of Eucharistic mystagogy percolating down into parish life. Dom Jeremy Driscoll, for instance, gives concrete advice to preachers about the content of mystagogical instruction in the liturgy:

Elucidating the difference between invisible and visible, explaining the consecration, commenting on various parts of the Eucharistic prayer, urging and teaching concrete ways of receiving the Eucharist with reverence and awe—surely Catholics would grow to understand the Eucharist correctly in our generation if these were more often the subject of preaching.30

Driscoll also gives a powerful explanation of the reality of liturgical “remembering”:

Whenever it is proclaimed, the Word of God becomes a new communication of salvation for those who hear it. … But that is not all… The scriptural words proclaimed in the liturgy become sacrament … the bread and cup put the celebrating community into participatory relation with the event of salvation history, an hour which does not pass away. Preaching during the Eucharist must speak of these things.31

Another liturgist, Fr. Edward McNamara, explains how the faithful can indeed re-live the intimacy of the Emmaus experience at each Holy Mass. This is because:

… {in} every Eucharistic celebration the entire mystery of Christ, from the incarnation to the ascension, is truly made present anew, albeit under the veil of sign and symbol. … In every Mass we are like the disciples going to Emmaus, except we already know that Christ is present among us.32

The most powerful example of Eucharistic mystagogy I have personally experienced was an address by Dom Mark Kirby at the Irish Evangelium Conference in 2014. He framed his impassioned meditation on “Why we cannot live without the Mass” around a reflection on human history as a “history of altars.” He drew on insights from East and West to illumine the meaning of “liturgical participation,” rooted in the nature of the human person. More than just homo sapiens, or homo faber (“‘man the producer”), the human being is homo liturgicus, or homo eucharisticus,—made for worship, for thanksgiving, for Eucharist. I couldn’t help but wonder, what would be the result of such a profound exploration of the sacred mysteries for people in the pews at Mass each weekend?

In his very last encyclical letter, On the Eucharist in its relationship to the Church (2003), Pope John Paul II offered a meditation on the meaning of participation in the liturgy, which is mystagogical, through and through. The Eucharist, he said, is nothing less than “the sacrifice of the Cross perpetuated down the ages,” in order that each of us can personally participate in it, “as if we had been present there” (art. 11). Participation in this deeper sense, points us to an intense interior engagement, and personal appropriation, of the sacred mysteries, whose meaning has been unveiled through the beauty and dignity of the rite, and the preaching of the homilist. In this way we experience for ourselves the astonishing realism of the New Covenant—our family relationship with God in Christ, brought alive, here and now, in the liturgy, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the true goal of worship is revealed: to “draw believers, as active participants, into the divine drama of salvation history”33—communion (koinonia) in the divine life through liturgical remembering (anamnesis),under the guidance of the Spirit who gives life to the mysteries of Christ(epiclesis).

Mystics and Missionaries

We now return to our original theme, which is the role of mystagogy as a “training in holiness,” forming families for their mission of evangelization. Pope Francis touched on this when he referred to the “indissoluble bond between the mystical and the missionary dimension of the Christian vocation, both rooted in Baptism.”34 He proclaimed that “all of us who are baptized … are called to live and transmit communion with the Trinity, for (this is) evangelization…”

Once again, here we come face to face with the inseparable connection between mysticism, mystagogy and evangelization. The meeting point of these three is the Eucharist. With the final blessing of the Mass, “Ite, missa est,” we are, in fact, being commissioned to go forth in the name of the Trinity, following our mystical transformation into the One we have received. As Caldecott writes, “We are sent out into the world to complete the action of the Mass in our own lives: at home, at work, at school…”35

The New Evangelization, Pope Francis said, calls us to “a new kind of personal involvement” as disciples and missionaries, “each in the place the Lord has assigned to him or her.” This applies to families in a particular way. Christian mystagogy, entered on the Paschal Mystery of Christ made present in the Eucharist, is exactly the kind of progressive and experiential formation in the faith that would foster the deeper engagement in the Church’s life and mission referred to by the Pope. If the Synod on the Family is to map out a new strategy of “pastoral conversion” for priests and people, surely mystagogical renewal should form a part of it? Thus, guided back to the wellsprings, those who are “called to holiness through family life in the sacrament of marriage” will be in a position to respond to Pope Francis’s challenge to be the true “revolutionaries” in today’s society, who will transform the culture from within.36

  1. Address to the 37th National Assembly of Renewal in the Holy Spirit, Rome, June 1, 2014.
  2. See Pope Francis, Meeting with Consecrated Youth, September 17, 2015.
  3. Pope Francis, Homily, Jan. 30, 2014.
  4. Pope Francis, Meeting with the Bishops of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, July 27, 2013.
  5. John Paul II, Familiaris consortio, art. 49, 52.
  6. F. Martin, TheLife-Changer. How You Can Experience Freedom, Power and Refreshment in the Holy Spirit, 44.
  7. Sean Innerst, ‘The Family that learns together, yearns together. The Liturgy as Family Pedagogy,’ in Catholic for a Reason. Scripture and the Mystery of the Family of God (Emmaus Road Publishing, 1998).
  8. Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, Jan. 11, 2012.
  9. Jeremy Driscoll, Theology at the Eucharistic Table (Gracewing, UK: 2005), 232.
  10. For an in-depth treatment of this topic see Joseph Atkinson, Biblical and Theological Foundations of the Family, the Domestic Church (CUA Press: Washington, 2014).
  11. Stratford Caldecott, The Seven Sacraments. Entering the Mysteries of God (Crossroad: NY, 2006), 125.
  12. See Journey to the Fullness of Life, USCCB Report on the Implementation of the RCIA (2000). Here the US bishops echo a theme raised by Pope John Paul II, when he appealed for a “permanent education in faith” for the “domestic Church”, so that it can fulfil its evangelizing mission in the world (Familiaris Consortio, par. 51). See also Pastores dabo vobis (1992), regarding continuing formation for priests.
  13. Sacrament of Charity, art. §64.
  14. Ibid.
  15. S. Hahn, Letter and Spirit: From Written Text to Living Word in the Liturgy (Doubleday: New York, 2005), 12.
  16. For Jean Corbon, the divine economy is “the dispensation, or wise arrangement by stages, whereby the mystery that is Christ is brought to fulfillment”. See The Wellspring of Worship, (New York: Paulist Press, 1988) 6.
  17. Driscoll op cit., 219.
  18. Because of mystagogy’s pastoral nature, the role of the bishop was traditionally of paramount importance. This is entirely in keeping with the focus of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Episcopate, where bishops are described as the “principal dispensers of the mysteries of God…those who lead others to holiness” (Christus Dominus, art. 15, (emphasis added). Notably, in his meeting with the US bishops in Philadelphia, Pope Francis underscored the key tasks of their ministry as prayer, preaching and ‘pastoral conversion’ (September 27, 2015).
  19. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Being Catholic Today: Catholic Identity in an Age of Challenge, May 24, 2015. Wuerl was citing John Paul II’s encyclical letter, Mission of the Redeemer, par. 13.
  20. Pope Benedict XVI described these vivid homilies as “an integral catechesis… involving body, soul and spirit”, oriented to “the sacramental celebration in which the salvation of the whole human person takes place” (General Audience, 27 June 2007).
  21. Oscar Cullmann, ‘Baptism in the New Testament, Studies in Biblical Theology, no. 1 (London: SCM Press, 1950) 39-40.
  22. J. Ratzinger, Many Religions, One Covenant. Israel, the Church and the world (Ignatius Press: 1999), 67.
  23. Sean Innerst, op.cit., 162.
  24. See “Catholic history: the ‘high drama’ of the Faith,” Catholic World Report, April 21, 2015. This theme was also sounded by Pope Francis in one of his daily homilies, when he asked the faithful to pray for the “grace of memory…” (April 24, 2015).
  25. Lumen Fidei, (The Light of Faith), encyclical letter of Pope Francis, art. 25. He writes of a “massive amnesia” in our contemporary world, a loss of “deep memory”.
  26. J. Hofinger, S.J. The Art of Teaching Christian Doctrine (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1957).
  27. See Pope Francis, General Catechesis, August 26, 2015.
  28. Stratford Caldecott offers a profound reflection on the Rosary as a form of mystagogical catechesis, in All Things Made New: The Mysteries of the World in Christ (Angelico Press: 2011).
  29. It is also interesting to note here the Scriptural roots of the practice of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. This “contemplating of the face of Christ” is prefigured in the Old Testament veneration of the ‘Bread of the Presence’ or ‘Bread of the Face’, retained in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle. See Brant Pitre, “The Biblical roots of Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” in Lay Witness Magazine, Mar/Apr 2005.
  30. Ch. 10, ‘Preaching in the Context of the Eucharist. A Patristic Perspective’, in Theology at the Eucharistic Table, 230.
  31. Driscoll, ibid., 219-221.
  32. Zenit news agency, November 11, 2008.
  33. S. Hahn, Letter and Spirit, 12.
  34. Catechesis, Jan. 15, 2014.
  35. Caldecott, The Seven Sacraments, 30.
  36. Pope Francis, Address to World Youth Day volunteers, Rio de Janeiro, July 28, 2013.
Maria O'Shea About Maria O'Shea

Maria O'Shea is a married mother of two who lives in Ireland. She holds an MA in Marriage and Family Studies from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute, and is a tutor on the Marriage and Family pathway of the MA in Catholic Applied Theology at the Maryvale Institute, Birmingham, U.K.