The catechist and the Year Of Faith – Jan 6
The Year of Faith give us many opportunities
- To thank God for the gift of faith given to us
- To continue to nurture the faith in those close to us
- To support those whose faith is being tested
- To share our faith in Jesus in our social and professional circles
- To promote justice and peace in all our activities
Together, let us embrace these opportunities with fresh energy and commitment.
Paragraph 426 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “At the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth…” To catechise is “to reveal in the Person of Christ the whole of God’s eternal design reaching fulfilment in that Person.”
The call of the catechist is to bring people to the person of Jesus Christ, who lives and who is with us and who loves us. It was only after Paul encountered the Risen Lord for himself that he was enflamed with a passion for teaching the world about Jesus. The more we ourselves come into a deep relationship with Jesus Christ, the more zealous and convincing we will be in persuading others to live for him. The more we enter into the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection in our daily lives, the more we will be able to persuade others to live like him.
We can take heart that when we teach in the name of Jesus, He teaches through us because we have been mandated and commissioned by him.
The spirituality of the catechist
To be effective in the ministry of catechesis a catechist must first and foremost be a deeply spiritual person.
The hallmarks of the catechist spirituality includes:
- A deep relationship with Jesus Christ
- Possessing a zeal for evangelisation and love for the Church.
- Drawing life from the Mass and other prayer forms
- Being rooted in Sacred Scripture and Sacred tradition
- Living an authentic life in the Holy Spirit
- Having deep devotion to Mary, Mother of the Church.
The catechist is a missionary with a burning desire that all people would come to know Jesus Christ. The Church exists to evangelise. The catechist studies and meditates on sacred scripture, Church documents and goes forth to teach the gospels to different groups in the parish. The catechist must be a person living deeply in the heart of the Church immersing himself/herself in the sacramental life of the Church and in his/her prayer specifically the Eucharist. He/she ought to pray and study the Bible and the Catechism and avail of whatever adult faith formation programmes/courses are offered in the parish, online or elsewhere.
Living an authentic life in the Spirit is integral to the catechist effectiveness in the ministry of evanglisation and catechesis. Finally, Mary is model of catechists. Great catechists down through the ages entrusted their work of preaching and teaching – evangelisation and catechesis to the Mother of God and Mother of the Church. Under her patronage the catechist will allow himself/herself to be moulded into a true disciple of the Jesus Christ.
A practical way of staying alive spiritually as catechist is to reflect prayerfully and regularly on the significance of your role as the messenger of the Gospel.
To begin the New Year, catechists are invited to read, reflect on and teach these seven essential messages from the Catechism listed together with their paragraphs:
426-429 Teach Christ Put people in communion with him.
131-133 Teach Scripture By reading it we learn “the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
282 Teach Creation It is of major importance because it concerns the very foundations of both human and Christian life.
1072 Teach Liturgy In the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, Christ Jesus works in fullness for our transformation.
1697 Teach the way of Christ Reveal the joy and the demands of the way of Christ.
2663 Teach prayer Explain its meaning, always in relation to Jesus Christ.
1917 Teach hope “The future of humanity is in the hands of those who are capable of providing the generations to come with reasons for life and optimism.