Monday, October 15, 2007

". . . straining forward to what lies ahead" (Phil. 3,13)

Among less pleasant things this morning, I find myself just marvelling at the beauty of the Fall weather here along the Wasatch Front, especially after Saturday's lovely cold wetness. Fall is the most reflective time of year for me. It is this year especially because I am finishing up my coursework, which consists exclusively of writing papers, to bring the current year of graduate school to a close.

Even on that score it is funny how things work out. I found myself not worrying too much about my theology paper, which was supposed to be something of a personal Credo. I had planned all along to systematize a baptismal preparation class for parents, a class I have been teaching for ten years. When it came to writing it, however, I found the going tough. I did post one section of the paper here on the blog in a post entitled Original Sin: The Need for Justification. The paper was mostly about the role of the sacraments in sanctification.

The paper I was really worried about, my pastoral integration paper for Liturgy, on the other hand, went smoothly. For anybody interested you can read a section of this paper over on our parish blog. Of course, it helped that I had outlined the paper while reading Msgr. Kevin Irwin's excellent book Models of the Eucharist on the plane home from Minnesota. This was one of the texts for the course, the first model of which, Cosmic Mass, was the basis for my pre-residency paper. Nonetheless, I found it interesting to think about what I would say to believing Catholics between the ages of twenty and thirty-nine, only 31% of whom attend Mass at least weekly, in addressing the question, Why go to Mass?
The martyrdom of St. Stephen, deacon

I hope to finish one last assignment this week and then get really serious about my research and compiling my annotated bibliography for thesis research. I only write about this to give fair warning that there will probably be a lot on the history and development of ministry in the Church in the coming weeks and months, especially as it pertains to the diaconate. I am just finishing Schillebeeckx's The Church with a Human Face: A New Expanded Theology of Ministry, then I plan to read Paul Bernier's Ministry in the Church, then on to Thomas O'Meara's newly updated Theology of Ministry. Of course, a review of the norms for diaconal formation, both from the Holy See and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons, along with many articles.

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