I spent the first part of my morning with a room full of freshman religion students. Not really a big deal, for I spend a lot of time with students teaching the faith. Part of life though is that the power of some things strike you at different times. Today I was struck by the power of spending quality time allowing students to ask questions about the faith. As a Catechist time like this allows me to bring together the many ways the Faith exists as a whole. For instance one student asked about the Second Coming, what it will be like, etc. A great question! An environment like this should be a place of exhilaration for a Catechist. A well trained Catechist is in a place where they get to bring together for students the whole splendor of the Faith. I was on fire, and just loving it…a question about the Second Coming! We talked about grace, read from scripture together, the person of Christ, talked about the resurrection, touched upon the four last things, and man’s freedom! He is the kicker….the answers to that question made hands around the room shoot up like bullets. Suddenly there were questions about Salvation History, the Angels, Mary, the Jewish people, and suffering! The Faith is an organic whole, and the aim of Catechesis is to put people into communion and intimacy with the person of Christ. We must be ready. Regardless of where you are in your development as a Catechist the foundational principles must always accompany you. Always. A well trained and faithful Catechist should THRIVE in the type of environment I was in this morning. Without that confidence and certainty as a Catechist you will lug along and the faith will not satisfy the questions burning in the hearts of those we are sent to proclaim the Gospel too.
“Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” (1 Peter 3:15)
Archbishop Sample of Portland, Oregon and former Bishop of the Marquette Diocese in Michigan gives a sound catechesis on the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, and in particular his ending point.
Liturgical Catechesis is a fundamental part of the work of Evangelization. We live in unique times in the Church. The Church teaches that there are two forms of the one Roman Rite Liturgy. The Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form. A Catechist must be familiar with the Magisterial documents of the Church. A Catechist should value the necessity of ongoing education in the faith. Why? Because a faithful Catechist must remove themselves from any polemic, from any ideology regarding the faith itself. The Catechist must embrace the notion that the teachings of the Church are not their own….rather we are to pass on, in all the rigor and vigor, the faith and teachings of the Church in the manner that the Church herself gives them to us. This is the work of a faithful Catechist.
Here are the Magisterial Documents regarding the Extraordinary Form of the Mass:
A Catechist must study. Fides Quaerens Intellectum…Faith Seeks Understanding.
“One single sentence from Sacred Scripture can nourish the soul, illuminate it, strengthen it in adversity. Sacred Scripture is something far superior to a simple exposition of dogma, subdivided into special tracts: it is an ocean of revealed truth in which we can taste in advance the joys of eternal life” (Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P).
A catechist must be deeply rooted in the Scriptures. A catechist must do more than just “use” the Bible to aid their catechesis…rather the Scriptures must be the very driving force of catechesis. If the catechist hasn’t taken the necessary time to allow themselves to be immersed in the Word of God…how can the catechist expect the Holy Spirit to bring to life in them the very Word that souls so desperately need?
Catechists need to spend regular, quality time reading and meditating upon the Scriptures. If you do this, you will not only quench your own soul, but you will begin experiencing the work of the Spirit – who will bring to light God’s Word in your heart at times when people you are catechizing need it the most.
164. In catechesis too, we have rediscovered the fundamental role of the first announcement or kerygma, which needs to be the centre of all evangelizing activity and all efforts at Church renewal. The kerygma is trinitarian. The fire of the Spirit is given in the form of tongues and leads us to believe in Jesus Christ who, by his death and resurrection, reveals and communicates to us the Father’s infinite mercy. On the lips of the catechist the first proclamation must ring out over and over: “Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you.” This first proclamation is called “first” not because it exists at the beginning and can then be forgotten or replaced by other more important things. It is first in a qualitative sense because it is the principal proclamation, the one which we must hear again and again in different ways, the one which we must announce one way or another throughout the process of catechesis, at every level and moment.
For this reason too, “the priest – like every other member of the Church – ought to grow in awareness that he himself is continually in need of being evangelized”. (Pope Francis - Evangelii Gaudium)
The newest Lakeshore Authenticum Lecture is now available! It’s a free resource, as are all the Authenticum lectures here at Catechetical Foundations. Just click “Free Resources” and you will find all our past lectures. If you ever think you would like a Free Copy in CD format of any past Authenticum Lecture please contact us and we would be happy to send you one.
Listen to “The Joy of Evangelization” on this website: HERE
Next Authenticum Lecture is Thursday, March 6th at Sacred Heart Parish Hall in Grand Rapids, MI
Dr. Pestana, philosophy professor of Grand Valley State University, will discuss St. Augustine’s Solution to the Problem of Evil.
Wine and other refreshments at 6:30p.m. Lecture begins at 7:00 p.m.