Catholic Educators

Picture of Daniel Mulhall

DANIEL S. MULHALL (1953- ) is a Roman Catholic catechist, writer, catechetical consultant, noted national speaker, former Assistant Secretary for Catechesis and Inculturation for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (1998-2007) and executive Editor for Benziger, a publisher of catechetical materials.  He currently serves as Director of Professional Development and Hispanic Catechesis for RCLBenziger.  Mr. Mulhall graduated from Bellarmine College (now a university) with a BA in political sciences.  Since then he has earned a Master of Arts in Theology from Catholic University and a Master of Arts in Adult Christian Community Development from Regis University.  In 2008, the National Association of Parish Catechetical Leaders recognized Mr. Mulhall’s contributions in catechesis with the Emmaus Award.  In 2012 his book Let the Lord Build the House: 8 Steps to Successful Pastoral Planning was published by Twenty Third Publications.  He is married to Kathleen.  They have three children and two grandchild.  Mr. Mulhall loves to sing and is known to begin his presentations with song.

Biography

Daniel S. Mulhall was born on Saint Patrick’s Day in 1953 to Delbert and Louise Mulhall in Louisville, Kentucky.  Married on New Year’s Eve 1949, Delbert and Louise had ten children by 1965.  Daniel is the third child with two older brothers, and five younger brothers and two younger sisters.   In 1954 the family moved from downtown Louisville to Pleasure Ridge Park, Kentucky, a suburb southwest of Louisville.  Daniel remembers a loving home, with parents who worked hard to make sure that their children always had food to eat and clothes to wear, and plenty of interaction between the siblings.

There was a large garden and each year the family worked to grow and then can.

One of my most vivid memories is making green tomato relish.  We would grind the green tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic through a hand grinder until they would all blend together.  Then we would place the mixture in a pillow case and hang it from the clothes line for hours so that all the water would drain out. Then we would bring the mixture into the house to cook.  I think frequently of those pillow cases filled with relish…It was a lot of work but we always had fun doing it. (personal communication)

Delbert supported his large family as a machinist for the American Tobacco Company.  When the company moved to Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, Delbert worked as a carpenter for the Baptist Hospital in Louisville.  After a few years there he started his own remodeling and repair business.  Louise worked as a secretary for the business as well as running the household and taking care of the younger children.  The company still exists today and is run by two of Daniel’s brothers.

Hunting was a big part of the family’s life.  Delbert taught his sons to hunt for squirrels and rabbits.  Squirrel hunting involved early morning trips in the forest.  Delbert would shoot the squirrels from the trees and the boys would collect the squirrels as they fell. Hound dogs were used in rabbit hunting.  The dogs would chase the rabbits in front of the hunters, who would shoot them.  The children would scoop up the game before the dogs could catch the rabbits and eat them.  When the children got older, Delbert taught them how to hunt.

Daniel was baptized at old Saint Peter’s Catholic Church in downtown Louisville.  After moving to Pleasure Ridge, the family were founding members of Saint Clement Catholic Church in Valley Stations, Kentucky.  (In 2012 St. Clement was merged with four other parishes to form the new St. Peter the Apostle parish.) The Mulhall family was very active in their parish.  Mr. Mulhall recalls the everyday faith of the family.

Our religious practices were normal for the period.  We had statues and crucifixes throughout our home.  We said “Grace” before every meal and the rosary most nights.  Our mother helped us to pray each night before we went to bed.  Mom is definitely the person of outward faith, who taught us the devotional practices and made sure we learned them.  We were very active in the faith and social life of the parish.  In fact, I probably spent more time at the parish than I did at home. (personal communication)

Mr. Mulhall credits his father for having a great influence on his faith life.  “My father didn’t do a lot of pious things on his own, but would join us for the family rosary, pray devoutly at Mass…and participate in religious processions.”

He continues, “He never missed [Mass] often getting up for five o’clock Mass before going hunting.  But where my father gave his best witness was living his faith with honesty and integrity.”

Daniel remembers that the faith was lived in the family as a family, but never really discussed. “We were Catholics, we knew it and were proud of it, and would have happily share that with anyone we met, but we never discussed it or our beliefs with each other.”

Daniel had wanted to attend the minor seminary in Louisville when he completed eighth grade.  However, the Monday after the last day of school that year, Daniel was diagnosed with Bright’s disease, a sometimes fatal kidney disease.  He spent the summer in bed, going out just for doctor appointments.  With seminary school now not an option, and with the family being unable to afford Catholic high school, Daniel attended Pleasure Ridge Park High School.

It was the first time I came into contact with people who believed deeply in a different faith…It was during this time that my faith was shaped and made my own.  It gave me the opportunity to put my faith in perspective.  I believe I came out of high school far more religious than I went in…I never lost my connection to the parish or faith of my family. (personal communication)

In 1971, Mulhall entered Bellarmine College studied and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.

I became a political science major almost by accident.  Bellarmine had a few teachers in Poli Sci and I happened to like them.  I enjoyed the political conversations.  I guess I intended to teach high school.  But more honestly, at that time in my life, my only intention was to complete college. (personal communication)

Mulhall’s writing career began to develop during his days at Bellarmine.  He contributed articles to the campus newspaper, The Concord, and as an intern, worked as an editor for the statewide prison newspaper, The Inter-Prison Press.

In 1974, Daniel became a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Louisville.  Because Bellarmine did not have a seminary on campus, he spent his senior year living in the “house of studies.”  The “house” gave young men interested in the priesthood opportunities to live in community.  Together they shared daily Mass, evening prayer and communal dinners.  They also had access to a spiritual director.  Mulhall enjoyed the companionship with similar minded young men.  Daniel soon realized though he “was not into being a priest as much as the other young men.”

During his seminary years, Daniel enjoyed the support of three diocesan priests who he admired greatly.  “They never encouraged me to enter the seminary, but they supported me in my journey to priesthood.”

Following his graduation from Bellarmine, Mulhall attended Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois for one year.  In 1976 the Archdiocese of Louisville sent Daniel to Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. where another Louisville seminarian was studying. Just shy of ordination to the diaconate, Daniel took a leave of absence from the seminary. “I’m not sure that I ever decided that the priesthood wasn’t for me.  I took a leave of absence and never found my way back.” In 1979 Mulhall graduated from Catholic University of America with a Master degree in Theology.

While working on his Master of Theology, Daniel got the chance to study the provisional text of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) with Father Gerry Austin, OP.  The English version of the RCIA provisional text had just become available in the United States in 1974.  It was written in response to the Second Vatican Council, Ad Gentes, The Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity (December, 1965).  Section 14 of the document describes the process of preparing those interested in becoming Catholic Christians. Studying this document would prove providential during Daniel’s years as the Consultant for the RCIA and Adult Religious Education for the diocese of Covington, Kentucky.

In 1979, after leaving the seminary, Mulhall graduated from Catholic University of America with a Master degree in Theology. After graduation, he tried his hand in construction, working in the family’s remodeling business.  Then, he moved to Tyler, Texas where he was a music director for Immaculate Conception parish for a few months, before returning to Louisville, where he taught religion to sophomore and junior boys at Xavier High School in Louisville that year. 

I learned the importance of lesson planning, of being a creative teacher, of listening and observing students, of humility and of divine inspiration.  In many ways it was the best year of my life and yet one I’d never want to repeat it. (personal communication)

Daniel met his future wife, Kathleen O’Grady. They were introduced through a mutual friend.  On June 14, 1980, Daniel and Kathleen were married in Holy Family Church in Louisville, Kentucky.  They have been married 34 years and have three children and two grandchild.

We are so different.  She grew up in the east side of Louisville in a solidly middle class family…Both parents were college graduates and just about everyone in the family has an advanced degree.  I was the guy from the wrong side of the tracks.  I’m an extrovert; she an introvert.  But while different…we [share] a deep faith, a love of family, and enjoyment of many of the same activities.  I can do what I do because of her.  Nothing else. (personal communication)

At the time of their wedding, Kathleen was a full time mathematics teacher at Thomas More College in Covington, Kentucky.  They decided that Daniel would apply for a teaching position in Covington as well.  He visited the Covington diocesan office, where the hiring of teachers took place, and inquired about job openings for high school religion teachers.  Michael Quigley, the personnel director, informed Daniel that there were no teaching positions available.  However, the diocese was searching for a consultant for adult religious education. “Would you be interested in interviewing for that position?”   

An appointment was made.  Two weeks later Mulhall interviewed with Father Leonard Callahan, the diocesan director of religious education.

I went home and visited the library – no Google then- read everything I could find on adult education and adult religious education.  By the time of my interview, I was a walking, talking expert in adult education and adult religious education theory and practice…I was offered the job. (personal communication)

Being an expert, Mulhall remembers, was not that difficult because “At the time there were only a few books [written] on the topics.”

Daniel became the first person to hold a consulting job full time.  The position was created by Father Leonard Callahan.  It was Father Callahan’s vision of total catechesis that drove the religious education department.

During his first year as a consultant, Mulhall heard Father James Dunning speak about the

RCIA process.  Having studied the document on the RCIA at CUA and hearing the possibilities of people being introduced to the Catholic faith by immersing them in the life of Christ, the celebration of liturgy, and parish life, Daniel was enthusiastic about implementing the process in the Covington diocese.  He met some resistance but over a two year period, “at least half the parishes in the diocese had begun to incorporate the rite.”

Mulhall recalls presenting the RCIA to a parish priest in Frankfort, Kentucky.  Other diocesan workers warned Mulhall that “Father” may be difficult.  With trepidation, he approached the priest to discuss the RCIA.  Not only was the priest willing to implement the process, he turned out to be a most caring man.   Later when the priest was transferred to a parish in Ashland, he successfully implemented the RCIA throughout the entire northern mountain area.  Mulhall traveled several times with the bishop to celebrate the Rite of Election. “Father was the primary reason for the success of the RCIA in Ashland. I just helped it along.”

Another fond memory of his days as a consultant in Covington involved his work with Father Rock Travnikar, OFM.

Fr. Rock was a dynamo.  He…taught me a great deal about the celebrations of the rite…Each Easter he would turn a grotto to Mary into a baptismal font with flowing water.  Those to be baptized were then fully immersed in the running water on Easter morning at sunrise at the end of a night-long vigil.

Daniel’s experience as a consultant taught him four key points that influenced his thoughts about catechesis.

1. To be a successful consultant you must be able to convince the pastor of a parish that the outcome and rewards of a particular program will justify the effort.

2. Organization and structure are essential to lasting success.

3. A good RCIA process not only informs but transforms a seeker of the Catholic faith.

4. The parish catechetical leader is the MOST important person in the life of the parish’s catechetical mission.  “Find the really good leaders, give them the tools and let them go.”

In 1981, Daniel attended his first NCDD (now NCCL) meeting. At that meeting, Mulhall met two directors of adult faith formation, Matt Hayes from Indianapolis, Indiana and Jody Sinwell of Providence, Rhode Island.  Daniel’s interest in adult faith formation grew under their tutelage.  A year later, he was selected to be the Region V representative for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s National Advisory Committee on Adult Catechesis, a position he held until 1987, when a job change necessitated relocation to Los Angeles, California.

Although Daniel had been writing articles since his college days, his writing career really began in Covington.  Rick Nare, editor of the diocesan newspaper, The Messenger, asked him to write a regular column.

In 1984, Karen Rowe from the Catholic Social Services Department in Covington saw a need for adult formation for senior citizens.  She asked Daniel to help her with the project.  Thus began a three year collaboration as they researched, developed and co-authored A Time For. The six-week life review program was first published by Franciscan Communications in 1987. A Time For was reprinted by Liguori Publications in 1998.  It has since gone out of print.

When Mulhall renewed his yearly contract with the Covington diocese in 1986, he was told that his position was going to be eliminated the following year due to budget cuts.  In 1987, Daniel and his family relocated to Los Angeles where he worked as the Director of Lay Volunteers and the Vocation Office for the Claretian Missionaries, Western Province.  Mulhall’s responsibilities included putting together budgets, managing the office, recruiting and interviewing seminary and lay volunteer catechists.

The following year, Mulhall accepted the Coordinator of Adult Faith Formation position for the archdiocese of Los Angeles.  A year and a half later, Daniel, still working in Los Angeles, left the archdiocese to become senior editor of Benziger Publishing, a position he held from 1990-1994, when he was promoted to Executive Editor, a position he held until 1998.   

When asked the difference between a senior editor and an executive editor, Daniel replied, “A senior editor is responsible for a book and executive editor is responsible for a series of books.”  An executive editor also has responsibilities for budgets and personnel.  Of his time there, he comments, “I learned how to write and edit from my work at Benziger.” 

While working in California, Daniel and his family settled in Baldwin Park, a suburb of Los Angeles populated mostly by recent immigrants from the Philippines and various Hispanic countries.  Daniel and his wife liked living in such a culturally diverse community.  The family was within walking distance of the parish church, “which became like a second home.”  Mulhall enjoyed working in Los Angeles.  However his family did not share his enthusiasm for the West coast.  The family decided to relocate and Mulhall began to look for job opportunities that would take him back East.

“I frequently applied for positions that I would have liked to have but didn’t think I’d ever get.  That’s why I applied for the position at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”  Daniel got the job based on his multicultural catechetical experience in Los Angeles.

Of his work for the USCCB Daniel says, “It opened the world to me.  I went from dealing with catechesis and catechetical issues on a diocesan level to dealing with them on a national and international level.”

Daniel worked at the USCCB from 1998 until 2007.  As a member of staff, he worked with the bishops on such documents as Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us, and the National Directory for Catechesis. Mulhall was publisher and editor for the quarterly journal, The Living Light, for the Department of Education (1998-2006). In 2002, he helped produce a report entitled, “Native American Catholics at the Millennium” for the USCCB subcommittee for Native American Catholics.  He also worked with the USCCB’s Office of Peace and Justice to develop resources for the project Teaching Catholic Social Teachings.

Mulhall helped to plan and host several international catechetical consultations and conferences between North America (Canada, the USA, and Mexico) and Central and South America (CELAM).

His years at the USCCB provide many opportunities for cross-discipline engagement, Mulhall notes that ‘Most days at lunch we would have detailed conversations on critical Church issues.  These informal, round robin discussions would involve Catholic experts on topics ranging from evangelization, the Church in Latin America, Hispanic [issues] in the United States, priestly life and ministry, and so many more.’

Of these experiences he writes, “It was like attending graduate seminars without having to write papers.”  Many of these exhilarating conversations influenced Daniel’s thinking about catechesis.

Mulhall was given the 2008 Emmaus Award for Excellence in Catechesis by the National Association of Parish Catechetical Directors.  The award is given to individuals who have consistently shown great leadership in the “mission of spreading the Gospel, including writing, publishing and teaching.”

Upon leaving the USCCB in 2007, when the Conference reorganized, Mulhall was offered the position of Director, Professional Development and Hispanic Catechesis, his former employer, now RECL/Benziger.  Daniel still holds this position with the publishing company.

During his career, Mulhall has written numerous articles and reviews for such publications as America, Catechist, Religion Teacher’s Journal, and the Catholic News Service’s Faith Alive Series.  Between the years of 2002-2006, Daniel also served as general editor for the Pastoral Spirituality Series published by Paulist Press.  The three book series included the volumes Vietnamese-American Catholics (Ethnic American Spirituality) by Father Peter Phan, Mexican-American Catholics by Father Eduardo Fernandez, SJ and American Eastern Catholic by Fred Saato.  In 2006 Paulist Press also published The Ecumenical Christian Dialogues and the Cathechism of the Catholic Church which Mulhall co-wrote with Brother Jeffrey Gros, FSC.

In 2012 he wrote the book Let God Build the House: 8 Steps to Effective Pastoral Planning for Twenty-Third Publications.  He continues to write regularly for “Faith Alive,” a weekly feature of the Catholic News Service and the Catechetical Newsletter for RCL/Benziger.   He travels on average to fifteen diocesan and national conferences a year speaking on an array of catechetical topics. 

On the fifty years since Vatican II and the apparent slowness of the Church’s ability to implement its vision of evangelization and catechesis, Mulhall comments, “As a student of history I recognize that all revolutions take time, that they all are never fully implemented immediately, that time is needed for people to become aware of the changes that have taken /are taking place. So while I am often frustrated that it has taken longer than I wanted or hoped, I don’t give up hope.


Contributions to Christian Education

In his over thirty years in catechetical ministry wrote Let the Lord Build the House: 8 Steps to Effective Pastoral Planning,  numerous articles on a variety of catechetical topics, reviewed several books in the field of evangelization and catechesis, has been a part of the collaborative work of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has overseen the publishing of  books on religion, cultural diversity, and spirituality, in partnership with Brother Jeffery Gros, FSC, edited The Ecumenical Christian Dialogues and the Catechism of the Catholic  But this impressive body of work does not describe his true contribution to the ministry of Christian education.  Mulhall explains his work as follows, “I haven’t been the leader in any field but have had the opportunity to be a part of every major initiative.  I have contributed in some way to each initiative, have popularized it and have introduced it far afield.”

He has the ability of understanding complex ideas, simplifying the concepts and sharing them in such a way that catechetical leaders can understand and implement.  “My articles, book reviews, and especially the books I wrote and edited are based on this idea, to make it easier for others to understand.” 

An example of Mulhall’s easy communication skills is his explanation for the challenges facing parish catechists in passing on the faith.

I developed the analogy of the Three-legged Stool as a way of helping people understand our current catechetical model.  The premise is that our ability to catechize effectively is based on three assumptions: (1) That children are raised in strong, stable, extended families that teach them the Catholic way of life; (2) that these families are supported by strong, stable neighborhoods – both communal and church related- that reinforce what is learned in the family and them builds upon it to teach the Catholic way of life; (3) that there is a larger society that reaffirms and supports our beliefs and values, and reinforces what has been taught in the home and community.  These three assumptions are the legs of the stool.  The seat is our process of instruction.  I call this the stool of formation because all components are necessary for the stool – faith formation – to be successful.  The problem we have today with catechetical instruction isn’t that we are teaching poorly but that our instructional model is broken.  Our underlying assumptions- the legs of our stool- no longer exist as they once did.  For this reason, our instructional processes are no longer as effective as they once were.  For us to be effective we have to move from an instructional model where information is assumed to a formational model where each component of faith is intentionally addressed. (personal communication)

Mulhall recommends the RCIA process as the best model for showing children, adults and families that faith is about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and living as disciples celebrating the sacraments within a faith community [parish].  

Like the RCIA, this new formational system must be seen as a process, rather than a program, retaining instructional and doctrinal elements but always operating with the end in mind; a relationship with Christ through the Church.  The key to remember…is what we’re looking for is how to create a new model that will work effectively here today, in your diocese, your parish, your community that will bring people to discipleship.

In this catechetical process, Mulhall sees that “the role of the catechist is to weave people’s minds, hearts, and souls into the fabric of the faith community.”

The Ecumenical Dialogues and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (hereafter known as The Dialogues) was published by Paulist Press and “written with the following Catholics in mind: elementary and secondary level catechists and school teachers, school principals and parish DREs, High school and college campus ministers, those working with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, those preparing educational and catechetical material, diocesan education and catechetical leaders and anyone else who is interested in being a serious student of the faith.

The Dialogues was a response to the Vatican II (1962-1965) document, Decree on Ecumenism, which called for ecumenical dialogues on key doctrines between the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian denominations.

The term “ecumenical movement” indicates the initiatives and activities encouraged and organized, according to the various needs of the Church and as opportunities offer, to promote Christian unity…Then “dialogue” between competent experts from different Churches and communities; in their meetings, which are organized in a religious spirit, each explains the teaching of his communion in greater depth and brings out clearly its distinctive features.  Through such dialogue everyone gains a truer knowledge and more just appreciation of the teaching and religious life of both communions. (Decree on Ecumenism #4)

The Dialogues reference sections of Catechism of the Catholic Church “throughout to organize the work and to provide a context through which the dialogue teachings can be best understood.”  The responses from other denominations are taken from dialogue reports that were “held among bishops, theologians, and other church leaders.” 

This volume includes an Introduction and chapters one and two on Catholic ecumenical principles and on the churches involved in the dialogues.  “Following these introductory chapters there [are] seven chapters on agreements in faith , sacraments, the Christian life and spirituality, following four parts on the Catechism.*

In his foreword, Bishop Richard J. Sklba, Chair Bishops Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote,

It is a great privilege and honor to offer these few words…of personal praise for the excellent work of Brother Jeffrey Gros, FSC, and Daniel Mulhall in the compilation of this work.  The Ecumenical Christian Dialogues and the Catechism of the Catholic Church enables every reader to encounter the words of the Catechism together with the rich commentary provided, not merely by individual theological or catechetical writers alone, but by the very words from the various ecumenical dialogues themselves! 

Let the Lord Build the House is a “Step-by step planning process [which] seeks to teach you how to think about effective planning.”  According to Mulhall there are eight steps to successful planning.  They are:

1. Know what you want to accomplish (Vision)

2. Know the context where this vision will be realized (Setting)

3. Put your plans in writing (Blueprint)

4. Get the necessary “permits” (Approvals)

5. Start at the beginning and work your way up to the top (Organization and Implementation)

6. Remember the “money thing” (Finances)

7. Use the right tools for the job (Programs)

8.  How are you doing (Evaluation)

There are two kinds of planning, episodic planning and systematic planning.

In episodic planning “individual events or activities are seen as unrelated, and so planning focuses on each event as a separate episode. Systemic planning is concerned with the parish as a system, as a whole collection of activities and events, people and their varied lives, and all the other aspects of the Church’s liturgical and spiritual life.”                                                                                                                     

“The challenge is to see the big picture in advance and to plan for the results you want…learning to see all the interconnected pieces of a project prior to an activity and to recognize how they interrelate, and then to work to have them build upon each other so that you can make intelligent decisions about how to address important situation and critical problems effectively.”


Bibliography

BOOKS

Mulhall, Daniel S. and Karen J. Rowe. A Time For, Franciscan Communications, 1987, reprinted, Liguori Publications, 1998. (Out of print).

Gros, Jeffery FSC, Daniel S. Mulhall, editors. The Ecumenical Christian Dialogues and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paulist Press, New York/Mahwah, N.J. 2006.

Mulhall, Daniel S. general editor, Pastoral Spiritual Series, Vietnamese-American Catholics (Ethnic American Spirituality) Father Peter Phan. Mexican-American Catholics Father Eduardo Fernandez, SJ. America Eastern Catholics, Fred Saato. Paulist Press, New York/ Mahwah, N.J.  2002-2006.  

ARTICLES

The following articles listed are representative and not complete.

Mulhall, Daniel S. and Maureen Shaughnessy, SC (1999). New Guide to Teaching the Faith: A popular overview of the General Directory for Catechesis, Catholic Update, Franciscan Media.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (September, 2005).  Adolescent Catechesis and the National Directory for Catechesis: It’s About Discipleship, Department of Education, United states Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (February 5, 2007).  Building Inclusive Communities, America Magazine.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (2007). Christian Discipleship: Living out the Church’s Social Teaching, Catechetical Newsletter, RCL Publishing. 

Mulhall, Daniel S. (2007). Knowing the God that Inspires Such Beauty, Catechetical Newsletter, RCL Publishing.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (2007). Partnering with Families, Catechetical Newsletter, RCL Publishing.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (2007). The Rite of Christian initiation for Adults: It’s Purpose, Rites, and Rituals, Catechist Newsletter, RCL Publishing.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (December 2007). The True Meaning of Christmas, Catechist Newsletter, RCL Publishing.

Mulhall, Daniel S (2012).  Celebrating Vatican II with Students, Catechetical Newsletter, Parish of the Holy Eucharist, Yarmouth, Maine.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (May 2012). The Faith Connection, RCLBenziger Publishing.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (April 2, 2012). For Mark, Jesus’ death is the reason he came to be one of us, The Monitor, Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, NJ.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (December 7, 2012). ‘Be Still, and know that I am God,’ The Mirror, Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Mulhall, Daniel s. (March 2013). A Compass: Implementing the Catechism, National Society for Volunteer Catechists, Catechist Magazine.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (March 7, 2013). Principles of Social Justice, Catechist E-Newsletter, RCLBenziger Publishing.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (March 7, 2013). What Can We Do to Integrate Faith into Work? The Mirror, Diocese of Springfield-Cape Giradeau, Missouri.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (May 31, 2013). Skills and Virtues of Discipleship, Catechetical E-newsletter, RCLBenziger Publishing.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (August 1, 2013). Drawing Closer to God in Meditation, Monitor, Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, NJ.

Mulhall, Daniel S and Neil A. Parent (September 2013). Adult Faith Formation: A Lifelong Journey, Catechetical Leader, a publication of the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (January 18, 2014). Faith Alive: The Various Faces of Prayer, Catholic News Service.

Mulhall Daniel, S. (March 24, 2014). Saint Joseph: Model for Family Life, Catechist E-newsletter, RCL/Benziger.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (March 31, 2013). Celebrating Easter Means Letting Go, Catholic Courier, Rochester Catholic Press Association, Inc.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (April 11, 2014). Jesus Didn’t Back Down From Proclaiming the Gospel, Catholic News Service.

Mulhall, Daniel S. (April 17, 2014). Advancing Life’s Journey amid the Unexpected, Faith Alive, Catholic News Service.

 

BOOKS REVIEWED BY DANIEL MULHALL

White, Michael and Tom Corcoran (October 2013). Rebuilt: The Story of a Catholic parish: Awakening the Faithful, Reaching the Lost, Making Church Matter. Catholic News Service.

Byron, William J. SJ (June 2013). One Faith, Many Faithful (A collection of short essays on topics of religion and ethics, business and politics, education and family and people and ideas). Catholic News Service.

Ivereigh, Austen (June 2013). How to Defend Your Faith Without Raising Your Voice (“This book provides us with the language and information we need to present the Church’s teaching to the best of our abilities”). Catholic News Service.

Pennock, Michael (June 2013). The Seeker’s Catechism: The Basics of Catholicism (This is an abridged catechism in question and answer form). Catholic News Service.

Blum, Edward J. and Paul Harvey (April 2013). The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America (A valuable contribution to our understanding of race and religion and would be of value to anyone interested in the topic of religion and race). Catholic News Service.   

Roberts, Tom (April 2012). The Emerging Catholic church: A Community’s Search for Itself (The challenges facing the Church and suggestions for the new emerging Catholic church). Catholic News Service.

Hegy, Pierre (April 2012). “Wake Up Lazarus! On Catholic Renewal (This book addresses key issues facing the Church and suggest strategies for renewing the Church). Catholic News Service.  

Widmer, Andreas (May, 2012). The Pope and the CEO: John Paul II’s Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard. Catholic News Service.

Greeley, Fr. Andrew M. (February 2011). Chicago Catholics and the Struggles Within Their Church (This book presents the results of a research study designed and analyzed by Father Greeley and reflects data collected in the Archdiocese of Chicago between 2005-2007). Catholic News Service.

Davis, Adam, editor, Foreword by Eboo Patel (January 2009). Hearing the Call Across Traditions: Readings on Faith and Service (The book opens doorways into the thought and culture of other faiths). Catholic News Service.

Mahan, Brian, Michael Warren, and David F. White (March 2009). Awakening Youth Discipleship: Christian Resistance in a Consumer Culture (Young people today have the role of providing leadership in resisting the consumer culture in which they [and we] live). Catholic News Service.

Creps, Earl (March 2009). Reverse Mentoring: How Young Leaders Can Transform the Church and Why We Should let Them (The Church of the next generations should be shaped by the members of the next generation). Catholic News Service. 


Excerpts from Publications

As mentioned earlier, Mr. Mulhall has written on a variety of topics under the umbrella of evangelization and catechesis.  The following statements are taken from some of those articles.

 

EVANGELIZATION

            In order for us to proclaim the Good News to others and invite them to share in the joy of the Lord Jesus through the Catholic Church-the very definition of evangelization-then we must enter into the conversation with the attitude of a matchmaker.  As matchmakers, we introduce people to Christ and his Church, and help them fall in love with Christ and his Church.  We invite them into a deep, loving, and intimate relationship. 

Daniel S. Mulhall. How to Invite Others to Be Disciples. Catechetical Newsletter, RCLBenziger Publishing (2011).

 

RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION

            Re-establishing the RCIA (also known as the catechumenate in the early days of the Church) as the official path for adults who wished to become Catholics was one of the great gifts of the Second Vatican Council.  

Daniel S. Mulhall. Faith Alive: An internal path toward becoming a Catholic. The Monitor, Trenton N.: Catholic News Service (February, 2014).

 

CATECHESIS

            I believe that to model the catechumenate, catechesis has to be initiatory-meaning that it has as its goal the intended outcome of bonding the participant both to the beliefs of the faith and to the faith community.  If the intended outcome of a session is only the transmittal of knowledge, it becomes religious instruction, not catechesis…

            The challenge that all catechists face is: How to make our session both instructional and formational?  How do we pass on knowledge of the faith and also invite the participant into the loving arms of the faith community? 

Daniel S. Mulhall. Topic-Let the Children Come: The What Why and How of Children’s Catechesis (Mid-Atlantic Congress for Pastoral Leadership), Baltimore, Maryland, (March, 2012).

 

INCULTURATION

            Inculturation is a funny sounding word…The word…is used by the Church to explain the process by which the Gospel is proclaimed so that it can be heard and understood by people within a particular culture, take root with that culture, and then bring forth new and exciting ways of living and expressing the Gospel appropriate to that culture.

When inculturating the teachings of the Church, take great care not to change the meaning of the Tradition, water it down or give it incompletely. When catechizing children it is okay to give age appropriate teaching because the Church recognizes that a fuller presentation will be given later in the child’s life.

Daniel S. Mulhall. Inculturation: What an Interesting Idea. Catechist Development, William H. Sadlier Publisher (2011).

 

FAITH WITHIN THE FAMILY

            Some come to faith through knowledge, some through witness, and some through a personal experience of God’s touch.  Most people, however, come to faith through living in a Catholic family.  Whatever we can do to strengthen the faith lived in families will go a long way toward strengthening the faith of individual family members.

Here are a few practical things that we can strengthen the faith of families:

            1. Focus on family prayer. Families with healthy prayer practices pass this value on to their children.  Don’t assume that families know how to pray, provide opportunities for them to learn to pray to together.

            2. Encourage family rituals.  Childhood ritual practices last a lifetime and bind us to the faith. Prayers before and after meals, bedtime prayers, a blessing on leaving the house…have a long lasting impact on the faith of the family. 

            3. Provide parents with faith resources. Parents are continually looking for resources on how to better raise their children.  Provide parents with faith-based resources, both related to their children and to support the relationship between spouses.  They will be most grateful.

Daniel S. Mulhall. Strengthening Families, Strengthening Faith. Catechist Newsletter, RCLBenziger Publishing (May, 2011).

Being a parent today is hard work because of all the financial pressures and the expectations of society…Most parents today face the unenviable task of raising their children without the support of the extended family.  Few parents live in close proximity of their own parents or relatives.  This means that they are trying to raise their children on their own…That’s why it is so important that parishes provide supportive services to parents.  

Daniel S. Mulhall. Family Discipleship. Catechist Newsletter, RCLBenziger Publishing (2011).

 

WHOLE COMMUNITY CATECHESIS

            The GDC [General Directory for Catechesis] also calls for catechesis to involve the entire faith community.  The GDC not only recognizes that catechesis most often takes place within the home and within the parish, but it also notes that it is the whole community that catechizes (no. 254).  This is not just a statement about where formal instruction is held.  It also names and underlines the importance of the family home and the parish itself as sources of catechesis.  The family catechizes because it is the “domestic Church.” The parish catechizes because it is the local community of faith.  Both are the primary places where faith is lived and given witness.

Daniel S. Mulhall What is Whole Community Catechesis? The Living Light: An Interdisciplinary

Review of Catholic Religious Education, Catechesis and Youth and Pastoral Ministry, United

States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC (Fall, 2003).

 

CATECHISTS

            As catechists, we cannot control the outcome of our efforts to help people develop an intimate relationship with Jesus…Like the sower, we spread the seeds of faith through our ministry, yet we cannot always control where the seeds will land.

            Here are a few thoughts to help you prepare for the coming catechetical year as you plant the seeds of faith.

            1. Be intentional and generous…Give God’s Word away at every opportunity.  And make every opportunity meaningful.  Invite and encourage everyone you meet, even in the most unlikely of opportunities, to become Jesus’ disciple.

            2. Trust in God… Not every seed produced a plant in the parable, and neither will all of your efforts-that’s okay…If we minister with hope, and trust that God will bring forth disciples from our efforts, we won’t be disappointed. 

            3. Practice good stewardship. As an extension of Jesus’ parable, we are to realize that farmers are to take good care of the land…We have the same obligation.  Start the year by examining your “Field” and assessing the needs of your students.  Don’t forget your own needs either.  What more do you need to enrich your faith?  How can you also help the parents of your students tend their own family garden?

Daniel S. Mulhall. Planting the Seeds of Faith. Catechetical Newsletter, RCLBenziger Publishing (2011).

 

CATECHESIS AND GOOGLE

            The Internet and the search capability provided by Google and other search engines are changing the way we connect with people, changing the way that people use information, and changing the way people think about relationships.  Such changes are affecting the way that people think and act, shop, do business, and even commune with their God.  Catholic Christianity has always expanded and grown when it adapts to address the changes present within a culture.  This time should be no different.

Anslinger, Leisa and Daniel S. Mulhall. . Building a Google-y Church. Church Magazine, NPLC. Newsletter (Fall, 2009).


Recommended Readings

Mulhall, Daniel S. (2012). Let the Lord build the House: 8 Steps to Successful Pastoral Planning. New London Connecticut, Twenty Third Publications.

Gros, Jeffrey, FSC and Daniel S. Mulhall 2006). The Ecumenical Christian Dialogues and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. New York/Mahwah, N.J. Paulist Press.

 

SECONDARY SOURCES

Catechism of the Catholic Church (English edition 2000). United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington D.C.

Flannery, Austin O.P. general editor (November, 1964).Decree on Ecumenism. Vatican Council II. 

General Directory for Catechesis (January 1998). United States Catholic Conference (English Edition) Washington, D.C.

Pope John Paul II (October 1979). Catechesi Tradendae (On Catechesis in Our Time). English Edition, Daughters of St. Paul, Boston, Ma.


Author Information

Angela Laesch

Angela Laesch is the Director of Religious Education at Saint Mary Queen of Creation Catholic Church in New Baltimore, Michigan.  She received her Master of Arts in Pastoral Study, Catechetics in 2006 from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  

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