Being a catechist is to be a disciple…
BY DEACON JAY W. VANHOOSIER, SPECIAL TO THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
This Sept. 19 is Catechetical Sunday. It is a day that is intended to honor those people who give of their time and talent in sharing the faith with the people of their parishes. Hopefully, you will see the priests of the diocese commission these people for this very important ministry.
To catechize is to literally teach by word of mouth. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, the chief catechists at the parish level were priests, religious brothers or sisters. Since the late 20th century, particularly in Europe and the Americas, the role of the parish catechist has been undertaken by the Catholic laity. And this is important to point out – without dedicated lay persons, formal teaching of the faith would not happen. The Church needs well-formed catechists!
If you have not done so, please prayerfully consider becoming a part of this very important ministry. I can tell you from experience that it is so rewarding. Helping all ages understand that God loves each one of them infinitely and that they are to share that very same love with each other is what discipleship is all about!
At the end of 2014, the Vatican held a Catechetical Congress. Thousands of catechists attended and Pope Francis said some things worth pondering that I’d like to share:
- Being a catechist “begins with Christ.”
- “The first thing, for a disciple, is to be with the Master: to listen to and learn from Him. This is always the case, and it is a way that lasts a lifetime!”
- “In the heart of the catechist, there always lives this ‘systolic- diastolic’ movement: union with Jesus; encounter with the other, if one of these two movements is no longer beating, then you do not live.”
- “Be careful. I have not said to do the work of a catechist, but rather to be one, because it involves all your life. It means guiding towards the encounter with Jesus with words and with life, with your witness.”
Volumes could be written about each of these statements but for now I encourage you to ponder them. Do any of them speak to you? Is Christ calling you to share him with others in this way?
Dcn. Jay W. VanHoosier is the Director of Faith Formation for the Diocese of Owensboro. For more information visit owensborodiocese.org/faith-formation, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (270) 852-8324.
Originally printed in the September 2021 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.