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{{vm.product.SpProduct.Article}} Preaching as Spiritual Leadership
Guiding the Faithful as Mystic and Mystagogue

Edited by Michael E. Connors, csc

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In this unique resource, Fr. Michael E. Connors gathers and expertly guides the collective wisdom of experienced preachers and homilists to provide a unique resource that examines the preacher’s unique role as shepherd and a spiritual leader. The chapters will investigate these dual roles according to the roots of the Catholic spiritual tradition and provide practical advice for priests, deacons, seminarians in homiletics classes or preaching classes, retreat leaders, RCIA catechists—all who preach. Preaching as Spiritual Leadership provides solutions to the following questions:

  • How is preaching embedded in the Church’s pastoral mission?
  • What does it mean to be a shepherd and spiritual leader for others?
  • How can a preacher flourish in the role of spiritual leader?
  • How can we lead others into committed discipleship through preaching?

To be a shepherd and spiritual leader, the preacher must be in some sense a mystic, who is filled with the Lord’s gracious presence, a presence to be shared with others. Homilists are a sacramental people, they must also be a mystagogues: ministers who can both lead the community’s ritual celebrations, and help the People of God to plunge into the liturgy with lively faith, to touch the holy realities behind them.

As editor, Fr. Connors gathered contributions from the following preaching and homiletics experts for each chapter of this resource.

  • Kerry Alys Robinson
  • James Keating
  • Megan McKenna
  • Brian E. Daley, sj
  • Craig Alan Satterlee
  • Kimberly F. Baker
  • J. Sergius Halvorsen
  • Karla J. Bellinger
  • Susan McGurgan
  • Paul A. Janowiak, sj
  • Kimberly Hope Belcher
  • Michael E. Connors, csc
  • Michael A. Woroniewicz
  • Catherine Vincie, rshm
  • Thomas J. Scirghi, sj
  • Paul Turner
  • Arthur R. Baranowski
  • J. Ronald Knott
  • Joe Paprocki
  • Ron Raab, csc
  • Ana Maria Pinedas, rsm, std
  • Deborah Organ, msw, licsw, dmin
  • Edward Foley, capuchin
  • David J. Shea

“My roots in Black Catholic preaching inform me that one cannot give what one does not have; that good preaching bears witness to a Gospel we have experienced, not a Gospel we have merely read about. I’m excited that Preaching as Spiritual Leadership exhorts preachers to experience the risen Christ as mystics; that, imbued with his graced presence, we may authentically bear witness as mystagogues and lead others to encounter the living God.”

-- Deacon Melvin R. Tardy, Jr., President, The National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus

“A ‘treasure’ is the most apt way to describe Fr. Connors’ latest publication. This collection of essays is a treasure for all who wish to make their preaching ministry ever more effective. Connors asks, ‘Why do we preach?’ These essays summon preachers and teachers of preaching to greater depths of Christian mysticism in responding to that question. What is needed is a mysticism of divine encounter for which so many are hungering. Novice or seasoned preachers and teachers will find this collection a real treasure.”

-- Rev. Edward Griswold, Henry J. & Marion I. Knott Professor of Homiletics, St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, MD

"The biennial Marten preaching conferences at the University of Notre Dame have become a non-negotiable in my summer schedule. Featuring top-notch speakers, stimulating conversation and wonderful professional development. I’m so grateful to have the fruits of the 2019 conference now available in book form. Mystagogy is about looking back on shared experiences to savor God’s presence therein. I know that reading and re-reading each of these essays will be an exercise in mystagogy for me—keeping the theme of the conference alive in my own spiritual journey as a preacher."

-- Ann Garrido, DMIN, Associate Professor of Homiletics, Aquinas Institute of Theology

“This volume reminds all baptized Christians that the word proclaimed is an invitation to ‘taste and see.’ As companions on the journey of faith, preachers are called to draw the community into deeper encounter with the mystery of God-with-us. The authors in this welcome collection propose rich possibilities for how preachers can become mystagogues who summon the community to recognize, celebrate, and share the joy of the Gospel.”

-- Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP, University of Notre Dame Author of Naming Grace: Preaching and the Sacramental Imagination

Preaching as Spiritual Leadership: Guiding the Faithful as Mystic and Mystagogue is a challenging compilation of perspectives from noteworthy authors who point out, each in his or her own way, the fundamental task of the Catholic preacher: to connect the ordinary human experiences of our time with the transcendent mysteries of eternity. I was drawn most to the startling insights of those ‘from the pew,’ who hunger deeply to be led by vivid and hope-filled illustrations of the mystery of Christ crucified and risen.”

-- Most Reverend W. Shawn McKnight, STD, Bishop of Jefferson City, Missouri

“This volume at last addresses the vastly unexplored terrain of the preacher’s role as spiritual guide. With a homiletic lens that is both practical and theoretical and covering a range from mystagogy to eschatology, I can think of no better collection of essays that encompass the diversity, imagination—indeed, the potential—of such a vital area of Christian proclamation. Bravo to Fr. Mike Connors and his talented team of experts!”

-- Guerric DeBona, OSB, Professor of Homiletics, Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology

“If we were to include one of these essays in our preaching preparation each week for half a year, we would have reflected on our preaching vocation through such lenses as history, liturgy, spirituality, pastoral practice, homiletic theory, and action for justice. Cumulatively, these essays on preaching as spiritual leadership invite us to testify more wholeheartedly and mindfully to what we hear, see, and touch concerning Christ (1 Jn: 1).”

-- Gregory Heille, OP, Professor of Preaching and Evangelization, Aquinas Institute of Theology