To all teachers and catechists, I extend a special welcome and thank you as you once again take up the task of passing on the faith. During this month of September, traditionally designated as “Catechetical Month”, we celebrate and pay tribute to all who are involved in the task of catechising and faith formation.
But what is catechesis? Catechesis is the process of introducing others to the person of Jesus and facilitating the development of an intimate relationship with Him through programmes of instruction. It is a ministry which is intended to make the faith of people living, conscious andactive through instruction, based on the scriptures, tradition, liturgy, the teaching authority and the life of the Church. It is clear therefore that catechesis is not the acquisition of a body of knowledge but a lived experience. Catechesis, therefore, is a responsibility of the entire Christian community since continuing education in the faith is a question which concerns the whole community. Maybe God is calling you to this ministry to deepen your own faith and share with others the belief and relationship you have with Jesus Christ. What an overwhelming gift to yourself and the Catholic Church if you share in this ministry.
What then are some of the qualities needed to be catechist in your parish? The first quality I would say is a passion and love for the person of Jesus, a real relationship with Jesus and an experience of his love. Another would be a willingness to witness to the Gospel; to live your life in sync with the message of Jesus; to be committed to the Church and share in the life of the community as well as a willingness to acquire knowledge, skills and to develop your abilities through continued growth in the faith – ongoing faith formation.
The Archdiocesan Catechetical Office provides training for new catechists through its Vicariate Catechetical Coordinators. Check the Catechetical Coordinator in your parish or the parish priest if you are interested.
The primary mission of a catechist is to communicate God’s love to each person by proclaiming the Good News of Jesus.
The Antilles Episcopal Conference Pastoral letter, On the Ministry of Catechesis, quotes four elements in the process of catechesis:
- Knowledge of the Faith
- Formationbased on Faith knowledge, that is, allowing our lives to be shaped by the faith knowledge
- Commitment to the Jesus flowing from knowledge and formation
- Mission as a result of informed commitment
As we take up the challenge of the archdiocese’s second pastoral priority — Revitalising Catholic Culture and Identity it is a call to individual conversion and change. This begins with me as a person. The everyday decisions I make, the way I interact with people in my home, in my community, in my workplace, while I drive on our roadways must reflect who I am as a follower of Jesus. LikeSt Johnthe Baptist we must say: I should decrease and Christ must increase in me.
Sr Juliet Rajah, Directress of Catechetics