Echoing the Mystery
Friday Book Pick: Echoing the Mystery: Unlocking the Deposit of Faith in Catechesis
With September comes the beginning of the school year, religious education, youth ministry and RCIA, and even though I am in the middle of a series on C.S. Lewis, I thought I had better not wait one more week to review and recommend this amazing catechetical resource: Echoing the Mystery: Unlocking the Deposit of Faith in Catechesis. This book is in a class of its own in terms of comprehensive, inspiring, Catholic catechetical resources. I cannot imagine any teacher, youth minister, RCIA director, priest or parent not taking advantage of this amazing work.
The inspiration and concepts behind the book originate from a dynamic catechist named Barbara Morgan who spent her life passing on the ability to pass on the Faith to the next generation of catechists. I know from first hand experience that Barbara was a dynamic teacher and true disciple of Jesus Christ, and she was passionate about passing on the Faith—thoroughly, dynamically, and with integrity, and this is what she taught her students to do.
Barbara Morgan came to Franciscan University of Steubenville in the ‘90’s when I was an undergraduate student there. I signed up for one of her classes and was completely spellbound. (I went on to take every class she offered and was in the first graduating class—of only six students—to receive a catechetical concentration along with our theology degrees under her tutelage in 1996.) Barbara was hired to set up a catechetical program for the university because, as dynamic and orthodox as Franciscan is, theology graduates were getting into the parish setting and suddenly realizing that there is massive chasm between knowing and believing all the dogmas, doctrines, and disciplines of our beautiful Catholic Faith, and the ability to pass it on. Not every theology/philosophy major can pull off an effective first holy communion class or junior high youth group or the RCIA process—in fact, I would venture to say that most cannot do it well without receiving specific formation on the art of teaching the Faith. Franciscan University wisely hired Barbara to set up its catechetical curriculum, and it has benefited from it ever since.
This book is the composite result of Barbara Morgan’s much pondered and meticulously developed pedagogical method on every tenant of our faith. She used to tell us (her students) repeatedly, “Teach the keys.” She wanted us to be able to examine each dogma of our Faith and unlock the mystery for our students, and to do that we had to learn to “teach the keys.” In this book Barbara Morgan and Sr. Athanasius Munroe, OP lay out “the keys” so that as catechists prepare their lesson plans, they have the key concepts, fundamental scriptures, liturgical references, the common errors, and examples of art, music and poetry laid out for them to help them to unlock the mystery for others.
The book is practical, it is beautiful, and I would add essential for anyone called by God to pass on the Faith, and who of us isn’t?