We are finishing up day 3 here in Alexandria and I just wanted to share a few brief comments.
1. On Tuesday, I joined the group at the North American Forum on the Catechumenate’s dialogue. Our conversation focused on the method of liturgical catechesis. We had a rich conversation about the need for catechists and liturgists to be familiar with the National Directory for Catechesis so that everyone (parish and diocesan staff) have a common vision for liturgical formation. In the end, we all felt that dioceses and parishes will need to be prepared to do mystagogical catechesis after the implementation of the Roman Missal. My guess is that publishers have already started to think about this. The wisdom of the RCIA certainly points us in this direction. This may be an opportunity for us to rediscover and practice mystagogy for the entire parish. Once we’ve implemented the text and we have used them for a bit, it will be very beneficial to break them open further and go deeper into the mysteries we celebrate. I think this is a wonderful gift we can share with our parish families.
2. On Wednesday, we had a lot of rich reflection on many things, but a few things stuck with me.
- There was discussion about what type of materials are being prepared for children/teens and we got to see a sample of the Leeds group material. This is a great question, but at my table we began to talk about lex orandi lex credendi a bit more and the “praying parish” How are we celebrating? Is how we celebrate really forming us and shaping us to be a people of Christ, a people of mission?
- The other idea that stuck with me was from Msgr. Irwin’s presentation. He talked about rediscovering hodie. Do we really have a sense of time and what it means to celebrate the paschal mystery? For example, many in the US “vigil” well on parking lots the night before the sales begin on black Friday, but we can’t get people to come to the Easter Vigil or celebrate Christmas well. I hope I am not taking him out of context. Obviously, there’s a lot more to the discussion then this brief outline.
- Finally, our evening concluded with an evening with the BCDW. This is actually my favorite part of the meeting because we get some insight to the process. I am not sure what I can divulge so I better not say too much here. I will say they work very hard and have done great things. Oh and thanks to Msgr. Sherman for his great work and we all look forward to our continued work with Fr. Rick.
3. And today, Fr. Paul Turner started our day of study by moving us towards an ars celebrandi. He played the piano for us (I already forgot the song, sorry!) and moved us into reflection on what it means to be a people of prayer in how we use our bodies, art, music, etc. What struck me about this presentation was his use of the preface for the Chrism Mass for reflection. I don’t have the new text so I won’t post it, but take a look at it. Even if you’re not ordained, these are some powerful words that challenge us to truly be the sacrament of Christ in the world. Again, this is just a taste of a much richer reflection.
As the FDLC prepares for its future ministry, I am hopeful and excited about all the possibilities to walk with people as they deepen their relationship with Christ through the greatest celebration of all: Eucharist, the “future made present” as Msgr. Irwin stated. What a great gift we’ve been given.
These few words are just a small portion of the great things we’ve studied together. I am sure others who were here can comment further and shed some deeper insights and reflections on our time together.