The Gregorian Institute Shield, composed of the crossed gold and silver keys of the Papal Insignia, an open book with the words 'Via Veritas Vita' ('The Way, the Truth, and the Life') written on its pages, three golden six-sided stars on a red banner, and a Germanic cross.

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McNamara on Bishops’ Page: ‘Mass Isn’t Just Mass’

Mass is far more than an obligatory worship service. It’s an opportunity to be drawn up into an astounding new life in the Blessed Trinity.

That is the message of Denis McNamara that the U.S. bishops are highlighting this week.

Catechetical Sunday’s theme for 2020 is “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you” and Bishop Robert Barron, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, turned to the Liturgy Guys podcast as a resource to teach Catholics nationwide about the meaning of the Liturgy.

The podcast features McNamara, the director of the Center for Beauty and Culture at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

Said Bishop Barron: “We have produced a variety of articles, videos, and podcasts exploring our baptismal call to be active participants in the evangelizing mission of the Church.”

The Liturgy Guys, a production of the Liturgical Institute at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Ill., also features the seminary’s Christopher Carstens with weekly host Jesse Weiler.

The three recorded a special series of three podcasts for Catechetical Sunday 2020 on Sept. 20, called “That which is handed on is the person of Jesus Christ.”

“The content of the faith is not simply an idea, a concept, an abstraction, but it’s an actual person that gets handed on,” Carstens says in the podcast.

“I love talking about the word tradition,” says McNamara. “The origin of it is trans and dare, and it means ‘to give over.’ It’s the same origin as treason, only when we ‘give over’ in tradition, we don’t give over to the enemy, we hand it down.”

What we hand down, he said, is the revelation of God the Father to his Son.

This is why the ritual of the Mass is so important. Not only does it give us a sensory way to encounter Jesus Christ in his mystical body, but as the body of Christ “we’re not just the carpenter walking around Palestine, we are the eschatological Christ, who is outside of space and time involving all of creation — the stars, the angels and saints, in the new heaven and new earth.”

What results is “transformation, transfiguration — divinization,” he said.

“God doesn’t want us to be fallen mere little creatures for all eternity,” McNamara said. “We will always remain creatures, but he wants to share his own life with us, called divinization, being made like God.”

He concluded: “The liturgy is an opportunity to be transformed by God into a life like his … then you can pour yourself out in love as Christ and the Holy Spirit do, as the extension of the Trinity in the world.”

Listen to the podcasts above, or find them with the other resources offered at the U.S. bishops’ resource page here.


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Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.