The Catholic University of America

Peter J. Murphy Project Evaluation

Final Examination of Peter J. Murphy
For the degree of Doctor of Ministry
Monday, December 5, 2011, 2:00p.m., Caldwell Room 125

Director:

Lucinda Nolan, Ph.D. 

Abstract:

"From Rite to Mystagogy: An Online Blog on the Sacrament of Marriage"

Married couples face a variety of obstacles in living out the sacrament of marriage. Busy families may not have the time or opportunity to attend a parish marriage enrichment program. The Church has sought to find new ways of supporting couples and to help them to fruitfully live out their sacramental vows.  Post-sacrament catechesis and mystagogical reflection help couples to understand and integrate the liturgical rites, symbols and images of the marriage sacrament into their married lives.

The project designed, piloted and evaluated an online interactive blog community that offered married couples an opportunity for enrichment and support through mystagogical reflection on the sacrament of marriage. In the project, couples used theological reflection on their sacramental vows to understand that the path to holiness is intimately related to their sacramental vows and is now expressed in their daily interactions together. The couples who participated in the project shared their reflections verbally with their spouse and in writing with other couples in the online community. 

Theological reflection provides a methodology for couples to engage in a mystagogy on the sacrament of marriage. The project integrates catechesis, mystagogy and blogging while using a process of theological reflection.

The mystagogical reflection process allows spouses to reflect on their marriage, their covenant bond, the meaning and implications of their professed vows and the vow’s impact on their daily lived experience. The project also includes an overview of the history of the ritual and theology of marriage leading up to the significant revisions that contributed to the 1969 Rite of Marriage.

The couples’ blog responses and evaluations reported that they discussed the reflections with their spouse, engaged in the theological reflection process, and pondered how their marriage vows are lived out in daily life. Couples reported experiencing a deeper understanding of the Church’s teachings on marriage and how those teachings apply to their daily life.

The online resource is readily reproducible allowing for future use of online resources that will continue to enhance the Church’s ministry and outreach to married couples.