The Catholic University of America

Oral Presentation of D.Min. Treatise

Jessica DePrizio Cole

for the degree of

Doctor of Ministry

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

10:00a.m., Caldwell Hall, Happel Room

 

 

 

abstract

mYSTAGOGICAL REFLECTION: ONGOING FORMATION FOR eXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF COMMUNION

Director: Sister Margaret Schreiber, O.P., Ph.D.

 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Norms for Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America specifically addresses the need for preparation for extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (EMCs): “Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should receive sufficient spiritual, theological, and practical preparations to fulfill their role with knowledge and reverence” (Norms, no. 1). The Church is clear that lay ministers of the liturgy should be properly formed.

The targeted audience for this project is young adults, the majority of whom are freshmen and sophomores in college. The work of Sharon Daloz Parks, who studies faith development in young adults, is considered. Parks recognizes that young adults need a period of questioning and “probing commitment” before a maturity and depth of faith is realized. In order to provide a fruitful space for this “probing commitment” to occur, the primary principle of design for this project is andragogy, an adult learning model that is life-centered and experience based. Mystagogical reflection, a form of ongoing post-baptismal catechesis and a methodology that gives particular credence to one’s experience of the sacraments, provides a fruitful means of ongoing spiritual formation for the EMC via the adult learning model. Reflection upon one’s experience of the Eucharist and one’s experience of the ministry offers an untapped resource for reflection and growth for the young adult EMC.

This program was designed for young adult EMCs at The Catholic University of America. Four ongoing formation sessions were held throughout the academic year to which new EMCs were expected to attend. Feedback and evaluation materials at the completion of the four sessions demonstrate that the program of mystagogical reflection had positive results. Participants reported gaining a deeper understanding of the Eucharist as well as of their ministry. Additionally, the program was effective in assisting the participants in moving toward a more mature faith. Results indicate that mystagogical reflection is a dynamic resource for the maturing faith of young adults.