Diana Macalintal and I will be copresenting a workshop in Orlando this weekend at the Fashion Me a People conference. Our topic is the Liturgy of the Word as a source of catechesis. Our goal is to help participants learn techniques for drawing out and extending the catechetical content of the Liturgy of the Word. We also hope they will learn how to grow more aware of the mystery of revelation that infuses the living Word of God.
We’re going to base the workshop on the opening liturgy of the conference. Now here’s the tricky part. We don’t know what the liturgy will entail. We don’t know the music, the readings, the structure of the rite, or the prayers that will be prayed. So how can we possibly create a “catechesis” based on the prayer?
There are two ways to understand the process of catechesis. The most common is to equate catechesis with education. Resources abound for those who want to catechize from a classroom model. The models can be set up in a scope and sequence format, and teachers can very efficiently plan out the content of their classes for the upcoming semester.
However, a more traditional understanding of catechesis is to see it as a process of entering into the mystery of Christ. The liturgy is the primary way in which we enter into the paschal mystery. And catechesis is a deep, systematic reflection on that paschal encounter with Christ.
So, from that perspective, we cannot determine ahead of time what the content of our catechesis will be this weekend. We cannot do so because we have not yet had this weekend’s encounter with the mystery of Christ along with all our brothers and sisters who will be gathered in Orlando.
If Christ is really present in his word and really present in the gathered assembly of believers, we should learn a powerful lesson from our encounter with that Presence this weekend. I’m looking forward to finding out what it is.