‘One Message’ Formation

Courtesy of Youth 2000

Courtesy of Youth 2000

Tomorrow I am going to a parish to lead a formation session with some Confirmation catechists. I think few of them have been catechists before, and probably even fewer (if any) have any kind of formation at all.

So, given our time together will be short, I figured I need to get into a nutshell the basic message about what catechesis is and who we as catechists are.

I am going to use this Scripture passage (this is my ‘go-to’ passage when I have to explain simply and easily what catechesis is about):

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us – that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing this that our joy may be complete. (1 John 1:1-4)

Catechesis is above all about being a witness to Christ.

If you had to transmit one message to catechists – what would it be and why?

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11 Responses

  1. Tonia says:

    I think my message would be “remember the Catholic faith has content, catechesis requires more than just showing up and being nice!”

    • William says:

      Tonia,
      I agree that content is very important. Content should help lead the believer deeper into a relationship with Christ. We want to bring about deeper conversion through our catechesis.

  2. Tonia says:

    I think my message would be “remember the Catholic faith has content, catechesis requires more than just showing up and being nice!”

    • William says:

      Tonia,
      I agree that content is very important. Content should help lead the believer deeper into a relationship with Christ. We want to bring about deeper conversion through our catechesis.

  3. Paul Rodden says:

    ‘Good Sponsors are as vital to successful sacramental preparation as you. They are not simply a token gesture.’

    To me, the Catechist’s role is primarily ‘pedagogical’, the Sponsor, ‘parental’.

    The Sponsor should normally be growing in their relationship with the Lord and, as they are closer to candidate/catechumen, should be the person who provides the interface between the faith professed and the faith lived. It’s a more practical aspect of witness. They help the candidate/catechumen with the faith, ‘up close and personal’, or ‘where the tyre hits the road’. The joys, sorrows, and frustrations.

    On a personal note, I find being a sponsor far more challenging and rewarding than being a catechist, as the questions they’re afraid to raise in the group setting all bubble up over regular meetings in a café over coffee – especially the real toughies, or the ones they say they ‘feel stupid’ asking – either because of not understanding the catechist, or issues like using liturgical gestures, e.g., awkwardness doing them when no-one else does, or when to double-genuflect. In fact, these questions are often far deeper and taxing on the grey cells than those in the sessions.

    I also get them to sit with my family if they want so they never feel alone or left out, and I try to introduce them to others with whom they might have things in common, and therefore become more integrated into the parish life and its people, rather than facing ‘the void’ once sacramental prep. is finished.

    So that’s why…

  4. Paul Rodden says:

    ‘Good Sponsors are as vital to successful sacramental preparation as you. They are not simply a token gesture.’

    To me, the Catechist’s role is primarily ‘pedagogical’, the Sponsor, ‘parental’.

    The Sponsor should normally be growing in their relationship with the Lord and, as they are closer to candidate/catechumen, should be the person who provides the interface between the faith professed and the faith lived. It’s a more practical aspect of witness. They help the candidate/catechumen with the faith, ‘up close and personal’, or ‘where the tyre hits the road’. The joys, sorrows, and frustrations.

    On a personal note, I find being a sponsor far more challenging and rewarding than being a catechist, as the questions they’re afraid to raise in the group setting all bubble up over regular meetings in a café over coffee – especially the real toughies, or the ones they say they ‘feel stupid’ asking – either because of not understanding the catechist, or issues like using liturgical gestures, e.g., awkwardness doing them when no-one else does, or when to double-genuflect. In fact, these questions are often far deeper and taxing on the grey cells than those in the sessions.

    I also get them to sit with my family if they want so they never feel alone or left out, and I try to introduce them to others with whom they might have things in common, and therefore become more integrated into the parish life and its people, rather than facing ‘the void’ once sacramental prep. is finished.

    So that’s why…

  5. William says:

    My “in brief” message would be: God has revealed His Plan of Salvation to us (in the Sacred Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition) and He desires for us to live within this plan so we can be happy and holy!

  6. William says:

    My “in brief” message would be: God has revealed His Plan of Salvation to us (in the Sacred Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition) and He desires for us to live within this plan so we can be happy and holy!

  7. Communicate how Jesus makes a difference in your life. Absent credible personal witness, catechesis is likely to be received as mere data.

  8. Communicate how Jesus makes a difference in your life. Absent credible personal witness, catechesis is likely to be received as mere data.

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