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Gerard Baumbach

By Anne Comeaux & Neil A. Parent


Gerard Baumbach (b. 1946), has been in parish ministry, the editorial arena and has been an academic at a prestigious Catholic university.  Although he is sought-after as a contributor to journals and periodicals and is a frequent presenter at conferences, his heart and work are rooted in the catechetical ministry and specifically the genesis and history of the ministry.  His commitment to the catechumenal model for all conversion is reflected in much of his work.  For those who know him personally or through his writings and speaking, Jerry is a true reflection of the Master Teacher.



Early Life

Gerard F. (Jerry) Baumbach was born March 29, 1946 to Frank and Loretta Baumbach, in New York City, N.Y.  The family, (which now included Jerry, his brothers Dick and Ron)  moved in 1952 to the village of Williston Park on Long Island (where sister, Debra was born.)  Jerry attended St. Aidan's Catholic elementary school there and later matriculated at St. Mary's High School in Manhasset, New York, from which he graduated in 1963.  During those formative school years, he served as an altar server in the local parish.  This experience, along with the influence of a devout family life and his involvement in local civic and religious organizations, became foundational elements in his future service to the church.                                  

University, Military and the Beginnings of a Catechetical Vocation

After high school graduation, Jerry enrolled at the State University of New York Maritime College where he was active in Catholic religious activities and worship. After one year, he transferred to St. Michael's College in Vermont.  During his years at St. Michael's, he served as president of the Catholic Men's Club, which offered volunteer services to the children of the local community, and taught religion at local parishes. In an article that appeared in the campus newspaper, Jerry was asked what part religion played in the Men’s Club activism. He responded, “I feel that the teachings of Christ can best be implemented in this way, that is, by good example and instruction. ‘Whatever you do for these, the least of my brethren, you do for me' is ...perhaps the central theme around which the entire program has been constructed.”

Other activities that were part of Jerry's college years included being a representative to the Student Forum and serving in the Air Force R.O.T.C.  The latter recognized him as a Distinguished Military Cadet and presented him with the Reserve Officers Association Award.  These activities and recognitions foreshadowed his exemplary competence as a catechetical leader.  Jerry graduated cum laude from St. Michael's College in May, 1968, with a B.A. Degree in Political Science.

Upon graduation, Jerry was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.  His first assignment was at Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado where he immediately became involved with the chapel’s activities. Base Chaplain, Captain Robert Pryor, wrote a letter of commendation on behalf of Jerry to the Commanding Officer of the base, recognizing him for his commitment as a teacher in the grade school of religion and for his exemplary “leadership by way of participation in Sunday Mass.” Pryor went on to say that, “By [Jerry’s] genuine interest in chapel activities, I believe he has contributed in a special way to life here at Lowry.”  Letters of commendation and appreciation were also sent to commanding officers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan.  In Okinawa, Jerry served as a teacher in the religion school and also a counselor in the off base Christ the King elementary school.  He completed his active duty in the Air Force with the rank of Captain in May, 1972.

The Start of a Catechetical Profession

Having been highly involved in catechetical ministry in both college and the Air Force, Jerry began his “civilian” career as Director of Religious Education (DRE) at St. Clare parish in the Diocese of Albany.  For Jerry, now a husband and father, this took a leap of faith since he knew that his income would be smaller than other professions he might choose.  Even so, his passion for religious education prevented him from choosing otherwise. 

At the time, St. Clare was a parish of almost 2,000 families, with over 1,200 children from eight public schools in its catechetical program.  In addition to his overseeing the children's program, Jerry started an adult resource library, designed and facilitated an adult lecture series, provided a community wide Parent Effectiveness Training program, and was a part of a team that developed a diocesan-wide Parish Visitation Program.

In 1976 Jerry developed “Journey to Jesus,” a summer Bible program that was highlighted in the Albany diocese newspaper, The Evangelist.  In an accompanying interview, he noted that the program was a response to a pressing question he had asked of himself, namely, “What can we do to help children deepen their experience of God?”  To answer it, he and his wife, Elaine, wrote scripts that emphasized dramatizations of stories from the Old Testament and New Testament.

While at St. Clare, Jerry served as a speaker in surrounding parishes and at diocesan-sponsored events for youth, catechists and other leaders.  He was also a member of several diocesan committees charged with implementing catechetical documents and addressing other ministry-related issues.  Meanwhile, he worked on a Master's degree in counseling through the University of Maryland, graduating in 1975.  His Master's Project was entitled, The nature and Analysis of Human Values.  Additionally, from 1977 to 1979, he pursued postgraduate theology coursework at St. Anthony-on-Hudson School of Theology and at the Institute of Pastoral Ministry in Huntington, New York.

Entering the World of Publishing

In 1976 Jerry met William (Bill) Sadlier Dinger, who was then working as the Regional Manager for the William H. Sadlier Publishing Company in the Northeast. The meeting was to have a profound impact on Jerry’s future career. Of that occasion, Dinger says, “I was always on the lookout for knowledgeable DREs who were articulate and who found Sadlier's catechetical programs to fit the needs of families and children.  Of course, Jerry was one of these DREs!”  Bill invited Jerry to offer in-service workshops for Sadlier in surrounding dioceses, thus beginning a long-term relationship with the publishing company. 

It is not surprising that Bill saw something in Jerry that would make him a valuable asset to the Sadlier family of people who do workshops on the company’s behalf.  From the beginning of Jerry’s long career, catechetical leaders from across the country recognized that he possessed special gifts of knowledge and character that made him stand out as a religious educator.  One of those leaders, Lee Nagel, who heads up the National Conference of Catechetical Leaders, described Jerry’s specialness this way: “As Christian educator, Jerry is concerned about the whole person and while he has never backed away from content, he understands the importance of starting with the learner’s experience. He believes there is a holy longing in each person that if you can tap into that hunger, that the rest is easy….. He is thorough in his teaching; wanting to be sure you understand what the church teaches, why it teaches that and how the position has evolved. He also has a great sense of liturgy and incorporates that in his teaching. His work in sacramental preparation has always stressed the value of the family and the community.”

After serving two years as an in-service presenter for Sadlier, the company invited Jerry to join its Religion Editorial Department as an editor.  Speaking of his expectations at the time of Jerry’s potential value to the company, Dinger said that “it was clear that with Jerry's gifts, catechesis would be well served!”

For the next 12 years, Jerry Baumbach's name was integral to the William H. Sadlier publishing company.  From 1978 to 1981 Jerry's title was Editor. Over the next four years, he advanced to Assistant Editor of Catechetics and then to Associate Director of Catechetics.  Finally in 1985, Jerry achieved the position of Director of Catechetics, which was, according to him, “The only job I ever aspired to.”  Jerry’s next position was Executive Director of Catechetics, from which his seminal work as a publisher come to fruition.

Throughout his stay at Sadlier, Jerry was a much sought-after speaker, workshop leader and consultant. Sr. Edith Prendergast, who leads the Religious Education Department of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, one of the nation’s largest programs, spoke of Jerry’s contributions to her office: “Jerry is a man of passion for sharing the richness of our Catholic Faith: our beliefs, our rituals and our great spiritual traditions. During his time with Sadlier, the staff of the Archdiocesan Religious Education office and indeed the parish catechetical programs of the Archdiocese were supported and enriched by the great resources and consultations that he generously provided. “

Sr. Edith also spoke of Jerry’s contribution to the Archdiocese’s Religious Education Congress, an annual event that draws well over 20,000 attendees.  Because of his commanding grasp of catechetical theory and practice, Jerry was frequently invited to be a speaker at the Congress.  “Jerry’s faithful dedication to the Annual Religious Education Congress,” said Sr. Edith, “was always gift and blessing. His gracious presence spoke of enthusiasm and delight for his involvement in sharing the Good News. He presented a variety of workshop experiences and was always applauded for the wisdom offered together with the many practical applications for parish programs and processes.” 

Bill Ippolito, who reported to Jerry at Sadlier, personally experienced why it was that Jerry was such a sought-after speaker in many dioceses,  universities and other religious organizations:  “I remember many times Jerry commenting to me that he was up until 1:00 or so in the morning working on a talk he was scheduled to give.  This is just indicative of Jerry’s commitment to do his best for any group he addressed.  Plus, he worked to ensure that the handouts for his presentation were creative and helped to clearly illustrate what he had to say.” 

In addition to his being a highly desired speaker, Jerry was also seen as someone who could help make a substantial contribution on the levels of policy and consultation. For example, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) appointed Jerry to serve on its Task Force on Catholic Social teaching and Catholic Education and to chair its subgroup on Religious Education, Youth Ministry and Adult Education.  In 2001, he was appointed to the Task Group on Children and the Liturgy, an initiative of the USCCB’s Committee on the Liturgy.

In the '90s, with the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) and the General Directory for Catechesis (GDC), Sadlier saw the need to develop a new approach to the religious education of young people.  Under Jerry's leadership, the project drew insights from nationally recognized experts in the areas of catechesis, curriculum, theology, and child development.  Using the principles from the GDC and direction of the CCC, Jerry developed a program that was Christocentric, Trinitarian and Ecclesiological.  What resulted was the We Believe series, in which doctrinal concepts built upon one another as children progressed in age and experience. 

The series also was imbued with the overarching spirit of the catechumenal model of catechesis, which offered the concepts of gathering, believing, and responding to faith.  This catechumenal emphasis was a natural consequence of Jerry's doctoral work at New York University, School of Education Program in Religious Education.  His dissertation project was entitled, A Handbook for New Adult Members of the Roman Catholic Church to Aid in Learning During the Final Period of the Process of Christian Initiation.  The thesis was pastoral as well as catechetical in its insightful unpacking of the tenets, traditions and practices of the Catholic Church for those being initiated as adults.

As noted earlier regarding Jerry’s intense preparation for speaking engagements, that same discipline and dedication applied as well to his work habits. His close colleague, Bill Ippolito, summed up Jerry’s dedication to producing high-quality resources this way: “During his time at Sadlier, Jerry was closely involved in the development and writing of catechetical and sacramental preparation programs from initiation to completion.  When he wasn’t writing a manuscript himself, he reviewed and critiqued the work of the editors and outside authors who did, helping to provide well-defined direction.  Nothing was published unless Jerry was satisfied that it clearly and accurately presented the Magisterium in an age-appropriate manner.  Sadlier’s We Believe clearly reflects Jerry’s guiding hand.” 

Bill Dinger, who was Jerry's supervisor while the work was being done on the We Believe series, offered, “Through his work, Jerry sought to challenge children to become disciples and evangelizers, calling them to live the gift of their Baptism as they grow in faith and life.”  Jerry was named Vice President of Sadlier in 1989, Publisher in 1991 and finally Executive Vice President in 1995.  He remained in that position until 2003 when he left to join the faculty at Notre Dame University. Bill Dinger summed up his own thoughts of Jerry Baumbach when he wrote, “His own life as a strong and vibrant Catholic, his love for catechesis, and his insights into families and children have steadied him in his work as a fine Christian educator….I am proud to be a part of his life and of his work.”

An Inspiring Author

While working at Sadlier, Jerry earned a doctorate in education (1989) and produced a number of significant publications of his own.  In 1996 Paulist Press published, Experiencing Mystagogy: The Sacred Pause of Easter, which engaged the newly baptized adults in the ongoing journey of faith following the celebration of the sacraments of initiation.  Sr. Catherine Dooley, O.P., in her preface for the work wrote, “In the fourth and fifth centuries of the Church’s tradition, the term mystagogy designated the post-baptismal catechesis that inspired the newly baptized to think back on the readings and the rites experienced on ‘that most holy night.’…Gerard Baumbach in Experiencing Mystagogy: The Sacred Pause of Easter has made a significant contribution to a contemporary mystagogy, in being one of the first authors to put theory into practice.”  In a brief review of the work, Rev. Charles W. Gusmer, S.T.D. wrote, “A holistic journal designed to be put in the hands of the neophytes.  This book can help the catechumenate become the ‘paschal transfusion’ needed to revitalize the parish’s mission.”  Experiencing Mystagogy became one of the most widely read and referenced works on the renewal of the Baptismal Catechumenate in the United States.

Another best-seller that Jerry wrote for Paulist Press, Spirituality for Lent and Easter, was published in 1998. It is a guide for the fully initiated and presents the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday) as a bridge between Lent and Easter.  The book is intended to be an inspiration for individuals, members of prayer groups and study groups as well as clergy. In his review, Steven Lanza, a North American Forum on the Catechumenate team member, concludes, “This book takes its cue from initiation ministry. Catechumens, elect, and newly initiated serve as living reminders that the Easter Triduum and the great Ninety Days are truly a school of faith formation and intend spiritual development given as a gift to us within the larger Church year.  We need more such offerings that assist the fully initiated in the life-long project of conversion.”

Another work of Jerry’s published by Paulist Press in 2000 presented a different side of him.  Letters from a Wounded Heart is a collection of letters to God about the woundedness everyone experiences in daily living.  In compelling prose, the letters describe how the healing of the human heart can only be found in a deeper relationship with God and with others.  It is a consoling book for the poet and seeker in us all. Maria Maggi of Spiritual Book News wrote, “This is truly an engaging book, and one which will be a welcomed gift for anyone whose heart is aching.” 

Living the Message

No catechetical leader, teacher of religion or spiritual guide is truly authentic and effective unless they also personify their message. Of the many accolades received about Jerry’s life and work, none stood out more than those about his being an authentic witness of the faith.  One national leader spoke of him as a mentor, friend and trusted confident.  Another emphasized his witness to strong Christian values in all of his deliberations and initiatives.  Others praised his being an exemplary Catholic layman and consummate professional.  But Bill Ippolito, who perhaps knows Jerry best because of their long years of working together at Sadlier, summed it up this way: “Jerry is a deeply faith-filled, gentle, and kind person who is extremely sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.  He is even-tempered and equitable in working with everyone.  If someone asked me to name a model Christian, it would be Jerry Baumbach.”

A Move to Academia

In 2003 Jerry was invited to go to Notre Dame University to develop and direct the Echo program in the Institute for Church Life. Echo is a dynamic, post-graduate, two-year service/learning program that prepares tomorrow's leaders in faith formation.  It comprises a three-way partnership between the University, (arch)dioceses across the country, and parishes in the partner dioceses.  Those who complete the program attain a free Master’s degree in theology in the process.

The invitation to come to Notre Dame was recommended by Dr. John Cavadini, Director of the Institute for Church Life and, at that time, head of the Theology Department at Notre Dame.  In addition to serving as Echo’s director, Jerry also served as concurrent professor of theology. When invited to comment on Jerry's contribution to the Echo program, Cavadini said, “He helped create a brand new model for training catechetical leaders, and he used the respect he had deservedly accrued with bishops, senior catechists and other senior lay leaders, publishers and educators, to build connections that enabled the Echo program to succeed.” Cavadini added that Jerry “…does not play the various periods and styles of catechesis off and against each other.  He is aware of the deficiencies of the period following the Council [Vatican II], and he is also aware of the real strengths. He is able to hear the idealism in some of the more radical younger people who DO play these off against each other...and since he can hear the idealism there, he can educate THAT and...take it up into a more balanced view that displays the charity that catechesis is supposed to be all about.”

For many in the field of religious education/catechesis, Jerry’s leadership of the Echo program, especially in terms of enormous challenge he faced in getting it off the ground, guiding its development and successfully bringing it to maturity, was, in the words of several national leaders, “a fruitful culmination” of his career and “his most lasting impact.”

Currently the Echo program is in its ninth cohort of students who are in dioceses throughout the country.  One of the apprentices from Echo 1 (2004-2006) was Luke Slonkosky who served in the Diocese of Fort Worth, TX and now is an Assistant Director of the Echo program at Notre Dame.  When asked to comment on Jerry Baumbach as a leader of Christian Education he offered, “Jerry loves to build Church. He cares about his craft with the dedication and commitment of a master.  His attention to detail and care for fellow catechists was learned somewhere...and Jerry would probably say, ‘in a parish.'”  In summation, Luke said, “Jerry is a master catechist and while he has been called Doctor, Captain, Dad, Professor or Vice-President, he lives as a Catechist---he exudes...a love of Christ, love of the Church and love of Church teaching.” 

Looking to the Future

One of Jerry’s abiding concerns about the future of catechesis is that its history, documents, practices and values may not be adequately grasped and appreciated by coming generations of leaders.  Still, his deep love of and enthusiasm for catechetical ministry, along with his prodigious knowledge of even its finer points, is bound to have made a significant impact on the countless young people he has taught and led over the past 40 years.  Indeed, on this point Cavadini, says that Jerry has a virtual treasure trove of history in his head.  “He knows all the personalities and the movements from direct experience of the last forty years of catechesis, a time of ferment, change, creativity, enthusiasm and different waves of renewal, progress and critique.” 

Jerry stepped aside as Director of the Echo program in 2011 but remains on the faculty at Notre Dame as a Professional Specialist for catechesis in the Institute for Church Life.  He frequently speaks to groups on the national, regional, diocesan and parish levels on issues involving catechesis, spirituality, the catechumenal process and ministry, adult faith formation, Church history and Church leadership.  In 2008 he was a delegate from the United States to the 10th International Consultation on Adult Religious Education in Santiago, Chile, and one of his most recent writings was a two-part series in Catechetical Leadership, entitled, “Catechesis Since the Second Vatican Council: An Incomplete Reflection.” 

From catechist to parish catechetical leader to publisher to academia, Gerard Baumbach has been an outstanding leader in the catechetical field.  This ministry has been and continues to be one of the great passions of his life.

Jerry and his wife Elaine reside in Granger, IN and take delight in spending time with their three sons and their wives and, most especially, their four grandchildren.  



Baumbach, Gerard F. (1989). A Handbook for New Adult Members of the Roman Catholic Church to Aid in Learning During the Final Period of the Process of Christian Initiation (Doctoral dissertation, New York University, 1989).

Baumbach, Gerard F. & DeBoy, James J., Jr. (1995). The Priest as Empowerer of Catechetical Ministry. New York: Sadlier.

Baumbach, Gerard F. (1996). Experiencing Mystagogy: The Sacred Pause of Easter. New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

Baumbach, Gerard F. (1998). Spirituality for Lent and Easter: A Guide for Bridging the Mysteries. New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

Baumbach, Gerard F. (2000). Letters from a Wounded Heart: Reflections to Strengthen and Comfort your Soul. New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.  Spanish edition: (2002). Cartas de un Corazon Herido:  Reflexiones para fortalecer y consolar tu alma.  Mexico City: Panorama Editorial.

Catechetical Textbooks

Baumbach, Gerard F. & Barry, John (1982).  Parish Director's Guide: Eucharist. New York:Sadlier

Baumbach, Gerard F. & Barry, John (1982). Parish Director's Guide: Reconciliation. New York: Sadlier

Baumbach, Gerard F., Chief Contributor:  (2004) We Believe, Student and Teacher texts, K-6. New York: Sadlier.


Baumbach, Gerard F. & Kerley, Joan, FMSJ (1978, May/June). Five Special Celebrations. Religion Teacher's Journal. 36-37.

Baumbach, Gerard F. & Kerley, Joan, FMSJ (1979, May/June). Journey to Jesus Summer Bible Program.  Religion Teacher's Journal. 44-45.      

Baumbach, Gerard F. (1980, May).  What If Your Child Is Becoming “Thing-Oriented”? Parentcator.  9,13.

Baumbach, Gerard F. (1980, September). Catechetical Roles of Parish Priest, DRE, and Catechist. Catechist, 14 (1).  54-56.

Baumbach, Gerard F. (1992, September).  Religious Education Scholarships. Momentum, 23(3). 15.

Baumbach, Gerard F. & DeBoy, James J, Jr. (1993, May).  Symposium Examines Priests' Empowering Role in Catechesis.  Catechetical Bulletin for Bishops, 1 (3).  1-2, 

Baumbach, Gerard F. (1994, February/March).  Symposium Examines Catechetical Empowerment by Parish Priests. Momentum, 25 (1).  64-65,

Baumbach, Gerard F. & DeBoy, James J., Jr. (1994, Spring).  Symposium Examines Priests'  Empowering Role in Catechesis.  Caravan, 8(30). 4-5.

Baumbach, Gerard F. (1997, December).  A Never-Ending Relationship: Catechesis and Catholic Social Teaching. Catechetical Leadership, 9 (5).  6-7.

Baumbach, Gerard F. (2000). Jubilee: Turning Time for Conversion and Reconciliation. NCCL Catechetical Update. 8-11.

Baumbach, Gerard F. (2000) Catechumenal Model: Inspiration for Initial and Ongoing Catechesis. NCCL General Directory for Catechesis Study Project. 1-4.

Baumbach, Gerard F. (2002, September). September 11 in Manhattan:  Finding My Son Alive.  St. Anthony Messenger.  28-32,

Baumbach, Gerard F. (2003). The Baptismal Catechumenate:  Inspiration for Catechesis. Antiphon, 7 (3). 21-28.

Baumbach, Gerard F. (2004, June). Cultivating Rich Soil:  Forming a New Generation of Catechetical Leaders. Catechetical Leader, 15 (2).  6-7, 20,

Baumbach, Gerard F. (2005, March).  Developing Catechetical Leaders:  The Aspect of Risk. FaithWorks. 1-2.

Baumbach, Gerard F. (2005, September/October).  What Will Tomorrow Bring for Catechesis and Catechetical Leadership?  Five Gifts or Challenges for the Road Ahead.  Momentum, 36 (3). 32-35.

Baumbach, Gerard F. (2006, Autumn).  The Center for Catechetical Initiatives at Notre Dame's Institute for Church Life.  Notre Dame Center for Liturgy Bulletin. 3-5.

Baumbach, Gerard F. (2007).  A Colloquium on Catechesis and Young Adults: A Reflection. Written for the ACTA Foundation, Chicago, IL.  Not published.

Baumbach, Gerard F. (2008, January/February) The Field That is the World:  Catechesis in a Pluralistic Society. Catechetical Leader, 19 (1).  U5-U8

Baumbach, Gerard F. (2012, September & November). Catechesis since the Second Vatican Council: An Incomplete Reflection (parts 1 &2).  Catechetical Leader 23 (5 & 6).  15-22,


Baumbach, Gerard F. (2006-2007). 

Responding to God's Love in Prayer (2007, September).  1-2,4.

Love and Respect in Family  (2007, July).  1-2, 4.

Christ's Love and God's Law  (2007, May).  1-2, 4.

Initiation into the Body of Christ  (2007, March).  1-2, 4.

The Church:  People, Body, Temple  (2007, January).  1-2, 4.

Faith in a Self-revealing God.  (2006, November).  1-2, 4.

Articles written for Catechism for US series, St. Anthony Messenger Press.


Baumbach, Gerard F. (2003, October).  Spirituality and the Catechist.  <a href=".

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Baumbach, Gerard F. (2011).  Sadlier's We Believe with Project Disciple Program: A Spiral Curriculum.  New York: William H. Sadlier, Inc., faith/article.cfm?sp=teacher&typeid=29&id=453. 

Baumbach, Gerard F. (2011).  Eucharistic Mystagogy.  Catechetical Sunday article by invitation of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. (Washington: USCCB).;    

Book Reviews

Letters from a Wounded Heart:  “This is truly an engaging book, and one which will be a welcomed gift for anyone whose heart is aching.”   Spiritual Book News, Fall, 2000

“Inspiration and practical strategies for survival, growth, hope and joy for those who feel trapped in a meaningless life.”   St. Anthony Messenger, September, 2000.

Spirituality for Lent and Easter    “This book's major appeal is the linking of the wider parish to the initiation project.  Since responsibility for initiation rests with the entire people of God,...can only serve also to enhance that experience...”   Forum Newsletter, Spring, 2000

 “...this book could easily be used by any trained leader to facilitate a group wishing to deepen their understanding of the Sunday readings of this special time of the Church's year.”   Heartbeat, USCCB, /Winter, 1999.   

Excerpts from Publications

(2012, p. 17)  “Catechesis Since the Second Vatican Council:  An Incomplete Reflection (Part I),

Catechectical Leader, volume 23, no. 5.

“One could say that the Council itself was an extended catechetical movement...The movement of the Spirit swept across the universal church to and from the halls of the Vatican to and from the farthest corners of the globe in a breath-taking and breath-giving sweep.  Vatican II had as much to do with long-term formation of attitudes and dispositions of faith as it did with bolstering the church's own identity as a vibrant community of faith.”

(1998, p. 87)  Spirituality for Lent and Easter, Paulist Press. 

“On the night of the Easter vigil, your parish invited those who had just been baptized and received into the church to the table of the eucharist for the first time.  It is likely, however, that all present hungered for eucharist...We come to the altar from which we draw nourishment for life, ready to share in the one loaf.

“We really never stop preparing for eucharist.  Our preparation is part of our conversion to Christ and ongoing growth in the Christian life.”

(2011, p.5)  “Eucharistic Mystagogy,”  United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“This language of the worshiping assembly is spoken through gesture, sign, symbol, movement, word, ritual action, silence, song and more.  The participation of the believing community, gathered together from a diversity of cultural and experiential milieu, is key in this regard.  As Pope Benedict XVI asserts, 'More than simply conveying information, a mystagogical catechesis should be capable of making the faithful more sensitive to the language of signs and gestures which, together with the word, make up the rite.'”

(1998)  Experiencing Mystagogy: The Sacred Pause of Easter.  New York: Paulist Press

(2005)  “What Will tomorrow Bring for Catechesis and Catechetical Leadership?  Five Gifts or Challenges for the Road Ahead.”  Momentum, 36 (3), pp 32-35.

(2011)  “Eucharistic Mystagogy,  Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Author Information

Anne Comeaux


Anne A. Comeaux, MA Religious Education/Theology from Duquesne University, now retired, has served in the Director of Religious Education offices in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, and in Wheeling-Charleston.  She has served as adjunct faculty at the University of St. Thomas, Houston and Wheeling Jesuit University, and the Catholic University of Puerto Rico.

Neil A. Parent


Neil A. Parent, MA in Adult Education from George Washington University, and MA in Theology from St. Paul’s College, Paulist Seminary, in Washington, D.C., is Director of the Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership Project for the National Association for Lay Ministry.  He is past Executive Director of the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership, and Representative for Adult Education for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.