FDLC Reflections

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.



  1. I think you have captured the essence of the presentations this week. As we move closer to the implementation of the missal, I continue to be drawn into the rich spirituality contained in many of the texts. I was particularly struck with Paul Turner’s presentation on the preface to the chrism Mass. As we “break open the words” of the new missal in the coming months and years, I hope and pray that we can help people go beyond hearing and speaking these words, to actually living them. We certainly have a great challenge ahead of us but I do leave this conference much more confident.

  2. The song Paul played was “Stardust” (Hoagy Carmichael). He then returned to the text of the lyrics at the end of his presentation. I think the point he was making was that we need to leave old lovers in the past and move on from our memories to something new:

    Sometimes I wonder why I spend
    the lonely nights dreaming of a song.
    The melody haunts my reverie
    and I am once again with you.

    When our love was new
    and each kiss an inspiration,
    ah, but that was long ago…
    Now my consolation is in the stardust of a song.

    Beside the garden wall when stars are bright,
    you are in my arms.
    The nightingale tells his fairy tale
    of paradise where roses grew.

    Though I dream in vain,
    in my heart it will remain:
    my stardust melody,
    the memory of love’s refrain.

  3. I’m all for taking this window of opportunity to break open the proper texts; but in some places I’ve heard this opportunity discussed as if the current Sacramentary doesn’t have Collects or Prefaces we can do this with! For this Sunday:

    “…make your love the foundation of our lives.
    May our love for you express itself
    in our eagerness to do good for others.”

    And the first OT preface contains the Petrine baptismal call for us to be “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people set apart.”

    Lots to “break open” there, I’d say!

    Hopefully, this opporunity will help us move away from a “sola lectio” approach to our liturgical preparation, and enrich the preaching as well!

    But we’re going to have to develop this as an ongoing HABIT; it’s one we certainly don’t have right now.

  4. I agree with Alan here. It could be a positive effect of this translation business if it causes us to do what we should have been doing all along. Mystagogy is a lot more than just a name for post-Easter catechesis, and we don’t do it.

    Mystagogy isn’t a hypothetical exercise, though, and if we actually look at the preaching of the great mystagogues, I’d point out that only rarely do they focus on the texts of the liturgy. It’s far more common for them to “break open” the meaning of actions.

    A possible negative effect of all of this translation business is that it might make us even more obsessed with the verbal than we already are!

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