Teachers need to keep learning – Sep 22
Last week we were reminded that we can only teach about Jesus if we are in communion with him. This week we look at the importance of ongoing training for catechists.
Many of us have been in the catechetical ministry for several years. Perhaps this is the time to step back and evaluate ourselves. When last did I access training for this ministry? What is the purpose of catechesis?
Church documents tell us that we catechise so that people may come to live their faith at every stage of life’s journey. Catechesis should lead to people living as disciples of Jesus in community and participating actively in the life and mission of the Church, which is about the reign of God.
We recall the ‘Think Four’ formula that Archbishop Emeritus Edward Gilbert used on many occasions. There are four elements in the process of catechesis:
- Knowledge of the faith
- Formation based on Knowledge
- Commitment to the Lord flowing from Knowledge and Formation
- Mission as a result of informed commitment.
Each of these four elements must be present in the life of the mature Christian and these must be in relationship with each other on a permanent basis.
Catechists need to attend formation courses not just to gain knowledge of the faith but to learn new methods that engage participants in the learning process. We will all agree that there are more distractions in the lives of our young people today than there were 40 or 50 years ago.
The General Directory for Catechesis (GDC) #235 tells us that the formation of catechists will prepare them to share their own faith in Jesus and lead others to entrust themselves to Jesus. The absolute summit and centre of catechetical formation lies in learning how to communicate the gospel message effectively. Jesus Christ is the centre of this.
The Archdiocesan Catechetical Office (ACO) offers training for catechists at Basic and Intermediate levels in each Vicariate.
ACO also offers a Correspondence Course. This initiative began in 2004 and is an effort to provide alternative ongoing faith formation for adults. It is an excellent opportunity for persons who are unable to attend regular sessions as the lessons can be completed in their own time and in the comfort of one’s home. The course comprises a package of 27 lessons, together with an answer sheet for each lesson. Three lessons are sent out at any one time, with general instructions. Once completed, the answer sheets are returned to the ACO for evaluation and comment. A certificate is given upon successful completion of the course.
To date, 1000-plus persons have enrolled for this course which addresses the areas of Catechesis, Theology and Methodology and we have received very positive comments from participants. The entire course costs TT$200.
Why not challenge yourself to deepen your faith? This is an ideal opportunity. Sign up for the Faith Formation Correspondence Course today.
Call our Port of Spain office at 623-5139 or La Romaine at 652-4446 for further information.
Juliet Rajah (Sr.) CHF
Directress of Catechetics
Archdiocesan Catechetical Office