From Rite to Mystagogy: An Online Blog on the Sacrament of Marriage
From Rite to Mystagogy: An Online Blog on the Sacrament of MarriagePeter J. Murphy, D.Min.Director: Dr. Lucinda Nolan, Ph.D.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 in order to help them fruitfully live out their sacramental vows. Post-sacramental catechesis and mystagogical reflection can 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 better understand that the path to holiness is intimately related to their sacramental vows and is now expressed in their daily interactions together. 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. This form of mystagogy allows spouses to reflect on their marriage, their covenant bond, the meaning and implications of their professed vows and their impact on daily experiences in married life. 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 participants' blog responses and evaluations reported that they shared their reflections verbally with their spouse and in writing with other couples in the online community, 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 for possible future use in parishes which will allow the blog to continue to enhance the Church's ministry and outreach to married couples.
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