Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Essence of a Catholic Education is a Formation in the Liturgy

How do you teach Catholic engineering? How do you train a plumber to be a Catholic plumber? Is there such a thing? The answer it seems is very simple, but very powerful: it lies in a formation in the liturgy and making the connection between the liturgy and the culture (of which these occupations are part). The word used to describe this is mystagogy.

This struck me recently when I was attending the conference Sacra Liturgia 2013 in Rome and wrote about this at length here in an article for Catholic Education Daily called A School of Love - the Sacred Liturgy and Education. As I was listening to each speaker talk about the liturgy and all the fruits of an active participation in it, it struck me that these were precisely what every Catholic educational institution would love to be able to claim to offer all of their students. Furthermore, we were told how to form people and I have written about this in the article.

After writing the piece I read the following quote from Pope Benedict on mystagogy which seems to support this. Mystogogy means literally in Greek, 'learning about the mysteries' Mystagogy is, to quote Stratford Caldecott ‘the stage of exploratory catechesis that comes after apologetics, after evangelization, and after the sacraments of initiation (baptism, Eucharist, and confirmation) have been received’ and is sometimes referred to a formal stage of education of the newly baptised Christian in living out the faith.

Section 64 of Sacramentum Caritatis is entitled 'Mystagogical Catechesis'. In this he says: 'The Church's great liturgical tradition teaches us that fruitful participation in the liturgy requires that one be personally conformed to the mystery being celebrated, offering one's life to God in unity with the sacrifice of Christ for the salvation of the whole world...The mature fruit of mystagogy is an awareness that one's life is being progressively transformed by the holy mysteries being celebrated. The aim of all Christian education, moreover, is to train the believer in an adult faith that can make him a "new creation", capable of bearing witness in his surroundings to the Christian hope that inspires him.'

Once again, the full article is here.

I was asked to attend by the Cardinal Newman Society, which promotes faithful Catholic education in our colleges and universities and to write for their website Catholic Education Daily.

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