Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (College of Education)

Schools and Centres


First Supervisor

Professor Gerard O'Shea

Second Supervisor

Anne Marie Irwin


This project explores the nature and mission of the Christian family viewed theologically as a domestic Church. Drawing upon the Catholic Church’s robust Trinitarian and Christocentric communio theology, it is the aim of this endeavour to demonstrate how a robust Trinitarian anthropology, complemented by a culture-first approach, may pave the way for an ongoing marriage catechumenate that will equip spouses to embrace and put into effect the universal call to holiness and mission expressly called for by the Second Vatican Council and contemporary popes.

The first part of the project will articulate the biblical, historical, and theological foundations upon which the identity and spirituality of the domestic Church should be built. This will involve examining the ways in which the identity and mission of the domestic Church has been impacted by challenges issuing from both within and without.

After the theological foundations have been laid, an authentic spirituality of the domestic Church will be explicated under the rubric of the triplex munera—the trifold office by which the baptized come to share in Christ: Priest, Prophet, and King par excellence. This will include bringing to bear Catholic teaching on the laity as articulated through the Magisterium of the Church

The second part of the project is an original course of formation designed for Catholic spouses that represents a creative response to the call of recent popes for a marriage catechumenate whereby spouses are led to enter more deeply into the mystery of the Sacrament of Matrimony which they have received and which they have become. This course gives due consideration to couples’ need for ongoing catechesis; a community to support, encourage, and challenge them; and the incorporation of the Christian disciplines into daily married and family life. The intended outcome of this formation is that spouses will be inspired, equipped, and empowered to grow in holiness within their vocation and to integrally pass on the Catholic faith to their children.

Included in

Education Commons