Catechists honor the love of faith, Church

During Sunday Masses on the weekend of September 17-18, Catechetical Sunday will be observed. This year, its theme is that of the Triennial National Eucharistic Revival, “This is my body given for you” (Luke 22:19).

The annual observance of Catechetical Sunday puts before the faithful the importance of catechesis for building up the faith of the people of God. It recognizes those who are involved in the ministry of religious education. Do they ever deserve our recognition! Some of these dedicated women and men teach in parochial religious education programs, others in Catholic high schools and colleges, and others help in the day-to-day administration of these programs.

Their ministry is essential to the life of the Church. As it is written about them in the Directory for Catechesis no. 110, they are “indispensable for the growth of faith”. Not only do they prepare future members for the Church, but they also interact with parents and families, too many of whom are estranged from the Church or participate little in our community of faith. They have good intentions, taking their child to a religious education program or enrolling them in a Catholic school. However, their practice of our faith is minimal. Often they just want their child to receive the sacraments – with the result that in our schools they pay little attention to the child’s religion curriculum and in parishes they shop around for a curriculum with the fewest requirements. . These situations create pastoral conflicts and bode ill for the catechetical preparation of future generations of Catholics.

On the other hand, there are faithful parents who willingly cooperate with religious education programs. They prioritize the Christian growth of their children. They understand that they are their children’s first teachers in the faith and raise them earnestly in the faith.

The purpose of the ministry of catechist is to form a disciple of Jesus Christ. To accomplish this formation, the content of the faith must be studied and learned; the study of content must be accompanied by active and regular participation in the life of the Church through prayer and the sacraments. The purpose of formation is discipleship, that is, to follow Jesus Christ as an active member of the Roman Catholic Church. A disciple believes the Good News that God’s love has been revealed in Jesus Christ. By the example of their relationship with Jesus Christ and by their active involvement in the Church, catechists announce this objective of forming a disciple of Jesus Christ.

The definition of the word catechist is “to echo”. Who does a catechist echo? The person of the Lord Jesus Christ. To do this, a catechist transmits information on the faith, information arranged at the level of the student’s age. Moreover, the catechist shares his faith by showing his relationship with God. The catechist wishes the same for his students. Ultimately, catechesis aims at the transformation of the life of each student.

The challenges facing our catechists are enormous. They include a secularized society without reference to spiritual realities; the imposition of distorted values ​​by the media and certain powers in place, for example politicians; the absence in public discourse of the mention of the living God; the breakdown of the family structure, and an all-out morality, to name a few. Despite the challenges, a committed catechist tries to transmit the faith to those who live in a society that can be described as anti-religious.

On Catechetical Sunday, each parish expresses its gratitude to its parishioners who are involved in the catechetical ministry. Their sacrifices, their frustrations and their commitment honor their faith and their love for our Church. Saint Paul VI in the apostolic exhortation “Evangelii nuntiandi” writes: “Modern man listens more willingly to testimony than to teachers, and if he listens to teachers, it is because they are witnesses. During my travels in the diocese, in our schools and in our parish programs, I have encountered these witnesses of Jesus Christ and his Church. They take care of children, teenagers and families. They give of themselves to guide others to the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ and our Catholic Church. As bishop, I greet them and thank them for their ministry.

The theme of this year’s observance from the three-year eucharistic revival is about the Lord giving his body and blood. Our catechists who give themselves with love to their students imitate the gift of the Lord. His gift is His Body and His Blood, the Eucharist. The gift of our catechists shows that faith in Christ and active participation in his Church lead to discipleship and ultimately to eternal life.