The Real + True Podcast

S2 E11 Liturgy and the Sacraments as Moments of Evangelization with Dr. Timothy O’Malley

September 04, 2023 OSV Podcasts
The Real + True Podcast
S2 E11 Liturgy and the Sacraments as Moments of Evangelization with Dr. Timothy O’Malley
Show Notes

Summary: In this podcast, we’re joined by Dr. Timothy O’Malley, Notre Dame Professor of Theology and Director of Education at the McGrath Institute. This episode tackles the relationship between catechesis and evangelization and what parish leaders can practically do in light of this relationship. The need to evangelize plays out on the ground in parishes. And many parish leaders don’t know where to start when it comes to practically making a difference in the “age of disaffiliation,” as Dr. Tim describes it. Dr. Tim also unpacks the need for developing a Eucharistic culture in order to more effectively evangelize in a world where most people are greatly influenced by a culture at odds with the Gospel. 

Dr. O’Malley researches and teaches at Notre Dame in the areas of liturgical-sacramental theology, marriage and family, Catholic higher education, catechesis, preaching, and spirituality. He is also the author of nine books on topics related to the liturgy, OCIA, the Eucharist, sacramental theology, marriage and family, and liturgical formation.

Show Notes: 

(00:00) Edmund introduces us to this podcast’s guest, Dr. Timothy O’Malley who is a Notre Dame Professor of Theology and Director of Education at the McGrath Institute. Dr. Tim shares his background and how he became interested in theology and academia. Dr. Tim describes his perspective on the modern phenomenon of people leaving the church in large numbers. He describes this as an age of disaffiliation. 

(07:42) Dr. Tim explains why culture is such an important factor when we are discussing evangelization. Even among people who attend Mass weekly, they will at most only experience a Christ-centered culture for a very small percentage of their week. He offers some suggestions on how parish leaders can help people cultivate a Christ-centered culture in their lives and how parishes can build a more robust culture to invite people into this meaningful and Eucharistic life. Dr. Tim also explains a common mistake in sacramental preparation - that the sacraments are just about presence.

(16:59) The conversation turns to the reality that the Mass is often the first and only place people experience the Church in their lives. Should the Mass be a place for evangelization? How can and should parish leaders practically balance the opportunity for evangelization with the reality of the Mass? Dr. Tim explains how the Mass is the ordinary space of evangelization for Catholics. He also addresses preaching, liturgy, and reverence.

(23:56) How should parish leaders understand parish membership? Dr. Tim speaks about the idea of belonging to a parish and the need to accompany people with real authentic relationships and empathy. The conversation also turns to the importance of being flexible to the specific needs of individuals, instead of rigidly applying processes to large groups of people without understanding the unique needs of families. He suggests fostering a eucharistic culture in parishes and responding to requests for sacraments with an improv attitude of "yes, and" rather than a mere institutional style of "yes, but."

(29:24) Dr. Tim shares about the McGrath Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame. He also explains the relationship between the McGrath Institute and Notre Dame as a two-way bridge that brings the best of academic life to the Church and the best of Church life to the academy in order to foster a fruitful conversation. The institute is dedicated to cultivating a vibrant Catholic culture in the United States and around the world by forming leaders who are equipped to renew the Church and serve the common good. Through its various programs, the institute seeks to promote the renewal of the Catholic imagination and the revitalization of Catholic intellectual and cultural life

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