By Diane Lucky, Confirmation Catechist, OLPH
Jesus told Peter to “feed my lambs… feed my sheep.” The apostles were instructed to make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Mt 28:19-20)
Two thousand odd years later, the Apostolic succession has ensured that our pastors, in the persons of Msgr Christian, Fr Rosario, and Fr Clifford and many others who have gone before them, care for the flock of the San Fernando parish, feeding the lambs and the sheep.
Apostolic succession has ensured that we sit here today as baptised believers in Jesus Christ, to be nourished by the Word of God and by the Body and Blood of His Son, who died so that we might have eternal life.
By extension, our pastors ensure that we have opportunities to grow in faith through catechesis. Simply put, catechesis means “to echo the Word of God”. What a wonderful definition for the work of us Catechists! What a tremendous responsibility!
Catechesis is an essential ministry in the Church, its primary goal being faith formation, which is a lifelong process – from “the cradle to the grave”.
Noted American religious educator and author, Maureen Gallagher, tells us that this process “calls for us to be attuned to God’s presence in our lives, to be able to name that presence in terms of our tradition, the faith of the Church, and to respond to God’s call to build the Kingdom here on earth so that a more just society will exist”. This is a tremendous challenge in the world today!
It is our responsibility to help people recognise and understand God’s revelation as outlined in the Old and New Testaments. The Scriptures, the Church and the Liturgy help us to experience God in everyday life, and to ensure that God is the fabric of our existence.
Every day is filled with grace, when we laugh, cry, hope, stand up for what is right, refuse to be crushed by our troubles, and when we remain faithful to God’s teachings.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that Jesus Christ is at the heart of Catechesis (CCC426). Just as it is the responsibility of those who make the formal commitment to Catechesis, all baptised Christians have a duty to “give explicit and courageous witness in their lives to the faith of Jesus Christ” (GDC). The family is the domestic church and the parent(s) should be the first teachers of the Faith. A parent or guardian does not have to become a catechist to do so. He or she simply has to grow in faith.
Formation for Mission is one of the fundamental tasks of Catechesis, enabling the laity to proclaim the Good News. Preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation pays particular attention to this aspect of Faith, with the final ceremony being the Rite of Mission whereby the newly confirmed are sent out as “witnesses to the truth and the Faith.”
“Catechesis is intrinsically bound to every liturgical and sacramental action” CT 49. Your formal commitment to this Ministry will help others to grow in faith through the light of instruction, thereby enabling them to become living and active witnesses to the Faith.
As St Paul said to the Thessalonians: Finally, Brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord may speed on, and triumph as it did among you (2 Thess 3:1)