As we begin the new school term we recommit ourselves to the Ministry of Catechesis as Catechists and Teachers in our parishes and schools. We celebrate and honour all who are involved in faith formation during this month of September traditionally designated as “Catechetical Month”.
This week (Thursday 8) we celebrate too, the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. By her fiat, Mary is seen as the perfect disciple, the model for all disciples. The Second Vatican Council, in its Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), summed up the Church’s belief about Mary and devotion to her:
“We turn our eyes to Mary who shines forth on the whole community of believers as a model of virtues. Faithfully meditating on her in light of the Word made Man, the Church enters more intimately into the great mystery of the Incarnation…for Mary unites in herself the great teachings of faith as she calls believers to her Son and his sacrifice and to the love of the Father…seeking the glory of Christ, the Body of Christ, the Church becomes more like her and progresses in faith, hope and love, seeking and doing the will of God in all things.”
St Luke’s account in the Scriptures sees Mary favoured by God as the Lord’s handmaid, a model believer, and Luke’s story describes her fear and perplexity, her faith and acceptance. However, we are left to imagine Mary’s life and her experience when the angel left her. She was left alone, faced with some disturbing questions with only faith to guide her.
As we return to our work of faith formation, we ask Mary to intercede for us. We pray too for openness to the Holy Spirit, aware that in the midst of all our planning and preparation that it is the work of God’s Spirit in our lives and those we minister to that nurtures the seed of faith.
We ask that in moments of doubt when we question the efforts we make to transmit the faith to young people who seem so far removed from what we are about, that God may continue to bless our efforts and remind us that it is God’s work and we are mere agents in the process. We ask too, through the intercession of Mary, for a new heart in our approach to catechesis, for an openness to technology and all that is available to us as we seek to live out and pass on the faith we cherish.
May we too, like Mary, seek and do God’s will in all things. – Archdiocesan Catechetical Office