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{{vm.product.SpProduct.Article}} Preaching for Discipleship
Preparing Homilies for Christian Initiation

Michael E. Connors, csc

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The homily is a primary way that pastors and deacons can communicate how the whole parish community forms the catechumens. Many parishioners are not aware of their role in the Christian initiation process. In Preaching for Discipleship: Preparing Homilies for Christian Initiation, Michael E. Connors, CSC, provides homilists and catechists with the tools to evangelize not only the catechumens present, but also to capture the imagination of the parish community so that they too realize their own role in the Christian initiation process.

This resource will help the homilist:

  • Build a homily
  • Foster a deeper appreciation of the call to discipleship on the part of the assembly
  • Instruct the assembly on their role in the Rite of Christian Initiation so that right from the outset the catechumens may feel that they belong to the people of God
  • Bring the baptized and catechumens into a deeper personal relationship with the Lord
  • Provide specific insights during the period of Mystagogy

"Peparing to preach takes time. Deciding on the theme is only the start. Constructing the homily requires as much imagination. So does its delivery. However, the hard work of preparation respects the lives of the faithful who are marking important moments of transition in their spiritual lives. These occasions deserve fresh preaching. The liturgical books do not give much direction on how to do it. But this book does. ...One of the professional drawbacks of priestly ministry is that we priests rarely get to hear one another preach. We're all preaching in different locations on the same day at the same time. Thankfully, this book contains a rich array of sample homilies. The author throws his own work out for your scrutiny, criticism and acceptance. It takes a confident and charitable preacher to do this. ...Preaching well at the liturgies of initiation will proclaim to all the community the mystery of faith, the call of God, the response of humanity, the growth of community, and the ever-pervading presence of the Body of Christ. It deserves attention. You will find it in this book."
—From the Foreword, Fr. Paul Turner, STD, Pastor, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri


"Fr. Connors explores an engaging range of texts, symbols and liturgical roles that make for effective preaching during the various rites of the Christian initiation process. His pastoral insight is keen; his scholarship thorough; his homilies inspiring. No parish library should be without Preaching for Discipleship."
—Guerric DeBona, OSB, Professor of Homiletics, St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology


"Drawing on his own experience as a parish priest, Michael Connors, CSC, shows us the important role preaching plays in the RCIA journey—both for the catechumens/candidates and the assembly alike. He walks preachers through the Rite, highlighting all of the places preaching is called for and giving concrete examples of what it might look like. His sample homilies model the harmonious integration of scripture, liturgy, and life in a simple and inviting way. As a preacher, they put my anxiousness about the many facets of the Rite at ease and I find myself saying, 'Yes, I can do this!'"
—Ann M. Garrido, Associate Professor of Homiletics, Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, Missouri


"Fr. Michael Connors, has provided here a wonderful guide to preaching the Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults, including sample, illustrative homilies for each of the periods and steps of those rites. More than that, he has given us an excellent commentary on the pastoral celebration and theology of those rites. This little gem should be required reading for pastors, homilists, catechists, deacons, RCIA teams, indeed, for all, and that means the entire Christian community, who are involved in helping catechumens and the elect prepare to share in this great Mystery of Initiation into Christ and the Church. Attention to this book will help make sacramental-liturgical preaching better and there is no one more worthy to learn this from than Fr. Michael, who is himself truly a master of the homiletic craft."
—Maxwell E. Johnson, PhD, Professor of Liturgical Studies, University of Notre Dame


"Many dioceses are buzzing with questions on how to respond to the current evangelical and pastoral needs of Americans. This book cuts through any "trendy" ideas to situate us deep within the fundamental beauty of the liturgy as THE place of encounter, accompaniment, and healing formation. What Americans need to facilitate their recovery from the false promises of popular culture is a developmental relationship with Christ through word and rite. This book is a gift, offering the homilists, preachers and catechists a way to deepen the relationship with Christ's way leading to becoming an evangelizing parish and engagement with the Word and sacrament that will endure."
—Deacon James Keating, PhD, Institute for Priestly Formation, Creighton University


"This is a remarkable resource for both parish ministry and seminary teaching! Fr. Mike uses his skill as a homiletician and his rich experience with the RCIA to explore the intersection of discipleship, community, evangelization, doctrine and ritual and the role preaching plays in shaping and illuminating the RCIA process. Excellent homilies and detailed commentaries enhance the text, providing helpful examples of his approach. This is the book you need if you work with RCIA."
—Dr. Susan McGurgan, Director, Lay Pastoral Ministry Program and Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology, The Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary's Seminary, President, Catholic Association of Teachers of Homiletics, RCIA Team Member, Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, Cincinnati


"A profound preacher himself, Michael Connors, CSC, regularly invites hearers of the Word to plunge more deeply into the paschal mystery. In this splendid volume, he offers not only wise homiletical advice for pastors and catechists, but also a welcome resource for parish communities called to embrace their identity as evangelizing and welcoming communities." —Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame, Author of Naming Grace: Preaching and the Sacramental Imagination


"Fr. Connors elaborates on the RCIA process with outstanding pastoral, theological and biblical insight. The sample homilies and commentaries provide a vital resource for developing the identity of the disciple in those seeking the faith, as well as in the entire parish community. Every parish minister will find this book a treasure."
—Rev. Edward Griswold, Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology, Henry J. and Marion I. Knott Professor of Homiletics, Vice Rector, St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore