Continuous learning: A catechist’s imperative – Feb 3
The Archdiocesan Catechetical Office has frequently reiterated the theme of lifelong learning as a priority of total catechesis within the entire body of the faithful.
Within the programmes that have been conducted under the auspices of the Catechetical Office it has always been stressed that learning by the catechists themselves, never stops. In addition to the material the office has continued to inform us is available on the web for adult learning, in particular, we have recently been blessed by the two collections of homilies/teachings that coincidentally have been gathered at the end of two 10-year periods of service by Bishops in the Caribbean.
The importance of this milestone for us as Caribbean catechists cannot be underestimated. While as catechists we have to ensure that the teachings we share are accurate, we are often challenged to supply a concise and easily understandable synopsis of the Church’s teachings that may be used in both adult faith formation sessions and as resource material that may be broken down for further digestion within our parish communities.
Both the collections of work in the recently published Go Teach by our own former Archbishop Edward Gilbert and the collection Decade of Grace by Bishop Gabriel Malzaire of the Diocese of Roseau, Dominica, do just that. While the writing styles differ, both collections address issues that were significant within the Caribbean at the point the teachings were delivered, and undoubtedly remain so. The recognition of their value for us as catechists in our own faith formation and as we facilitate the faith formation of others must therefore be reiterated.
In one instance of which I am aware, a parish priest has gifted his catechists with the Go Teach collection. This should be encouraged as much as possible as we seek to fulfil our own mandate to be lifelong learners. Some of the material covered in Bishop Malzaire’s collection address what others have referred to as “thorny issues” in the Church. One article, for instance, asks “What about Intercommunion?” as guidance is given on an aspect of receiving of Holy Communion outside the Catholic Church; guidance which we as catechists must continue to equip ourselves to share.
Both works are written in styles to which we in the Caribbean have become accustomed; simple, direct, straightforward; and therefore have the added advantage of familiarity of tone and increased accessibility. The sheer beauty of the language in some instances also makes the readings a total pleasure.
We really do need to both remind ourselves as catechists to seek out and appreciate the work contained in these two collections and to encourage others to read, study and learn from them as we continue to travel together on the road of lifelong catechesis. – Rhonda Earle, Archdiocesan Catechetical Office