The Notre Dame Center for Liturgy in the McGrath Institute for Church Life has long been a place where the Church’s leaders come together to plumb the depths of the liturgy and contemplate its role in the daily life and education of the Catholic Christian. For nearly fifty years, the Center for Liturgy has hosted an annual summer conference where scholars, clergy and religious, and pastoral ministers have considered together topics like liturgy and life, liturgical catechesis, liturgical music, and liturgy and the domestic church. The Liturgical Orientation of Catholic Education had been chosen for 2020’s conference theme; unfortunately, that event (like so many others) had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the Center for Liturgy’s Academic Director Tim O’Malley offered a compelling vision of Catholic education rooted in the liturgy through a multi-part blog series published over the last year, discussing everything from Catholic school liturgies to curriculum design. Each installment of the series can be accessed through the links below, and provides a great deal of food for thought for Catholic educators and school administrators alike.
A Catholic school becomes liturgical insofar as it understands learning as necessitating both wonder and desire. The school must be a contemplative space rather than imitating the frenetic quality of modern life.
In the first part of this series, I argued that schools are not the exclusive space where Catholics receive an education. Education is the cultivation of one’s humanity. For this reason, the parish is also an institution dedicated to education. Liturgical formation in the parish should invite all parishioners to an authentic Christian humanism.
Over the last three years, I have been working with the Archdiocese of San Francisco, addressing the quality of Eucharistic celebration in their schools. Almost universally, school leaders, especially at secondary institutions, recognize that all-school Masses are rarely occasions of prayer for faculty or students. Here are three questions for schools in this situation to consider.
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