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Doxology vital, Haughey says

Liz Harter | Friday, September 28, 2007

Congregation of Holy Cross founder Father Basil Moreau praised God by living his life in unity with the Holy Spirit, said John Haughey, a senior fellow with the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.

“The primary act of his life was the life of the Eucharist,” Haughey said Thursday at Saint Mary’s.

Haughey’s lecture – “Saint Mary’s College and Doxology: Why? How? Where? When?” – was the first lecture of the Saint Mary’s Endowed Fall Lecture Series. Doxology is a hymn or form of words containing an acknowledgement of praise to God.

Haughey spoke to about 30 students, faculty and Holy Cross sisters in Stapleton Lounge in LeMans Hall.

Sister Kathleen Dolphin, the director of the Center for Spirituality at Saint Mary’s, welcomed Haughey and introduced the series’ theme – which, she said, echoes Moreau’s philosophy. The Congregation of Holy Cross founded Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.

Since Haughey spoke only a few days after Moreau was beatified in France, he decided to explore doxology as it relates to the current Saint Mary’s student.

“Doxology and the Eucharist go together,” Haughey said.

A Catholic institution of higher learning needs to have some way to connect the work of the campus with the faith that sponsors it, Haughey said, adding that Christianity as a whole has lost something when it comes to doxology.

“We don’t go to the act of Eucharist like we’re Mary’s without our Martha’s,” Haughey said, referring to the story in the Gospel of Luke in which two sisters receive Jesus into their home and Mary, a friend of Jesus, sits at Jesus’ feet and listens to his stories while Martha does all of the household work and takes care of their guest.

Christians are supposed to approach the Eucharist with their entire selves, and the work of their hands, hearts and minds, Haughey said.

Catholics cannot disenfranchise themselves from their identities as students and members of the communities of which they are a part, Haughey said.

“Christ has an agenda, and we are the middle managers in the completion of that agenda and the execution of that agenda,” Haughey said.

Dolphin said she warned her freshman religious studies students that the lecture might be hard to understand.

“I told them to be prepared for a challenging lecture, one that might be a little on the abstract side,” Dolphin said.

Upon hearing that, Haughey tried to make his statements more concrete by placing them in the Saint Mary’s culture.

“If I’m a member of the sociology department of Saint Mary’s, and I’m going to Eucharist, it seems to be not only what I am doing there, it is also what my department is doing there,” he said.

Each person is a part of some organization and within that organization we must become priestly mediators, or stewards to God, Haughey said.

“That’s not at all abstract, it’s concrete. … It’s only as abstract as our faith is unclear,” Haughey said.