Matthew 28: 18 – 20 reads “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And look, I am with you always; yes to the end of time.”
Jesus empowered the Church to continue His mission. This great commission has been handed to women and men, whom God has called, generation to generation, to proclaim the Good News.
Parents are the foremost persons of this awesome and privileged task. They are the first evangelisers of their children. Catechists both in the parish and in schools are among other persons called to this task. It is therefore imperative that both parents and catechists understand and live their faith.
What is Catechesis?
Catechesis is the process of initiation for adults, youth, and children. It can be described as the intentional and systematic effort to enable all to grow in faith and discipleship. Catechesis seeks to make faith become “living, conscious and active through the light of instruction”.
“Our vocation as catechists and parents is to deepen our personal relationship with Jesus Christ by growing in holiness and knowledge of the faith. The object of catechesis is communion with Jesus Christ. At the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth” (CATECHIST magazine, September 2006, page 94)
The essential tasks of catechesis include:
- promoting knowledge of the faith
- liturgical education
- moral formation
- teaching how to pray
- initiation and education in community life and mission (GDC 85)
Three important areas in which a parent and/or catechist must grow:
– Growing in faith and discipleship…the parish community provides prayer and liturgy; witness as disciples living the gospel values; insights of theology and morality provided by the teaching of the church through homilies; “
Parents and catechists must immerse themselves in the sacraments especially the Eucharist to receive the nourishment needed. Prayer groups and other parish groups as well as adult formation courses that link life and faith are essential in helping a person grow in faith and discipleship.
– Growing in knowledge and skill…all are called to grow in knowledge of their faith through their personal faith experience.
Teachers and catechists should seek the knowledge that is specific to their area of catechesis e.g. RCIA, Confirmation, First Communion, Baptism etc.
– Growing in knowledge of how to communicate the faith…catechesis is about communication of the faith in the person of Jesus Christ.
Catechists need to become skilled in divine and human methodology in constructing learning experiences appropriate to the age of the learners.
The Archdiocese at present is set on a course to Revitalise Catholic Culture and Identity.
All God’s faithful people have to accept responsibility for this task, since change begins with the individual. One important way to begin is to educate oneself on the life and teachings of Jesus and of the faith. The Archdiocesan Catechetical Office offers training and development for parents, teachers and catechists to help them in this important work.
There is the BASIC FORMATION COURSE
This consists of eight teaching sessions which, if entered into with earnestness, will help attain both knowledge and competence. These sessions relate both to the TASKS of Catechesis and to the areas in which a person is called to grow.
- 1. Ministry of Catechesis
- 2. Faith and Moral Development
- 3. Overview of Scripture
- 4. Catholic Morality
- 5. What the Church believes
- 6. Liturgy and Sacraments
- 7. Prayer and Spirituality
- 8. Methodology
This is followed by an Intermediate Faith Formation Course which is open to all. Both of these courses are offered at Vicariate level.
The Archdiocesan Catechetical Office also offers a CATECHETICAL CORRESPONDENCE COURSE . This Course is opened to anyone who wants to deepen their knowledge of the faith.
The lessons are done at one’s own speed and in the privacy of their homes. Several primary school principals have undertaken this Faith Formation Course as a way to help their teachers on staff grow in the faith. Principal and staff study the lessons as a group but each person submits their own response. This course helps one to be a better informed Catholic and challenges participants to live their faith in everyday life. As disciples of Christ they feel more comfortable in passing on the faith to the next generation. This Course consists of 27 lessons and covers Theology, Spirituality and Methodology. You can call the Catechetical Office at 623- 5139 to obtain more information.
– Sr. Marie Young
Archdiocesan Catechetical Office