As my new position begins next week at Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Gilbert, Arizona, my mind is racing in a thousand different directions on how a Christocentric parish-wide adult faith formation program will look. Although this program won’t be fully operational for some time, my extrovert, detail-orientated, perfectionist personality is already moving and shaking, and yes, I have a plethora of ideas. Much of what I will be doing full-time is already planned out very well; I just have to make sure I don’t mess it up. 🙂
Praying that Jesus, Our Blessed Mother, Her divine spouse – the Holy Spirit, and the Saints guide me in my new position.
Please also pray for the 5-week Diaconate Course I begin teaching next Tuesday! Life went from the desert to the wedding banquet in a matter of days.
I am already throwing myself into re-reading some important papal documents from none other than, Blessed John Paul II. The two already in my hands are: Catechesi Tradendae (Catechesis In Our Time) and Ecclesia in America (The Church in America). After those texts, I am going to read and re-read some of his other texts on Evangelization, the Role of the Laity, and a few of the documents from the Second Vatican Council that hit on these subjects as well. Once those are read, I will find myself reading through Sherry Waddell’s, Forming Intentional Disciples and re-reading, George Weigel’s, Evangelical Catholicism – which is fantastic!
For today’s blog post, I want to share with you my 10 favorite quotes from Catechesi Tradendae (Catechesis In Our Time). I first read this document when I was working at Saint Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church as the Coordinator of Junior High Catechesis from 2003-2007. The master of evangelization and catechesis, the soon-to-be, Saint Pope John Paul II eloquently and passionately defines, explains, and professes the importance of catechesis in our time. It’s a must read for anyone doing catechesis in the Catholic Church with children, teenagers, college students, or adults.
My 10 favorite quotes are:
1. “The primary and essential object of catechesis is, to us an expression dear to St. Paul and also to contemporary theology, “the mystery of Christ.” Catechizing is in a way to lead a person to study this mystery in all its dimensions: “to make men see what is the plan of the mystery…comprehend with all the saints what is the breath and length and height and depth…know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…(and be filled)…with the fullness of God” (#5).
2. “Christocentricity in catechesis also means the intention to transmit not one’s own teaching or that of some other master, but the teaching of Jesus Christ, the Truth that He communicates or, to put it more precisely, the Truth that He is…Christ alone who teaches – anyone else teaches to the extent that he is Christ’s spokesman…Every catechist should be able to apply to himself the mysterious words of Jesus…My teaching is not mine!” (#6).
3. “To begin with, it is clear that the Church has always looked on catechesis as a sacred duty and an inalienable right…from the theological point of view every baptized person, precisely by reason of being baptized, has the right to receive from the Church instruction and education enabling him or her to on a truly Christian life…” (#14).
4. “Let us first all recall that there is no separation or opposition between catechesis and evangelization. Nor can the two be simply identified with each other. Instead, they have close links whereby they integrate and complement each other” (#18).
5. “Nevertheless, the specific aim of catechesis is to develop, with God’s help, an as yet initial faith, and to advance in fullness and to nourish day by day the Christian life of the faithful young and old…Catechesis aims therefore at developing understanding of the mystery of Christ in the light of God’s word, so that the whole of a persons humanity is impregnated by that word” (#20).
6. “Finally, catechesis will have an ecumenical dimension if it tries to prepare Catholic children and young people, as well as adults, for living in contact with non-Catholics, affirming their Catholic identity while respecting the faith of others” (#32).
7. “A catechesis capable of leading the adolescent to reexamine his or her life and to engage in dialogue, a catechesis that does not ignore the adolescent’s great questions – self-giving, belief, love and the means of expressing it constituted by sexuality – such a catechesis can be decisive” (#38).
8. “The Christian community cannot carry out a permanent catechesis without the direct and skilled participation of adults, whether as receivers or as promoters of catechetical activity” (#43).
9. “We can say of catechesis, as well as of evangelization in general, that it is called to bring the power of the Gospel into the very heart of culture and cultures. For this purpose, catechesis will seek to know these cultures and their essential components; it will learn their most significant expressions; it will respect their particular values and riches” (#53).
10. “It is true that catechesis can be given anywhere, but I wish to stress, in accordance with the desire of many Bishops, that the parish community must continue to be the prime mover and pre-eminent place for catechesis” (#67).
Pope John Paul II, Catechesi Tradendae. Pauline Books & Media, 1979.
For more information on and the writings of Blessed Pope John Paul II, go here.
Categories: Catholicism, Pope Saint John Paul II
Prayers sent your way, Tom. God bless you with much success in your new position.
Please please please see Catechesis as one of the movements of Evangelization. Evangelization has to happen first. It aims to introduce people to the person of Jesus Christ. Catechesis aims to form the disciple of Christ-one who has made the decision to follow Christ. It also works for those committed to continual conversion, but Evangelization, that first movement/journey towards dropping your net and following the person of Jesus Christ has to come first, otherwise Catechesis is like planting seeds in concrete. True, they AREN’T separated or opposed, only that one needs to come first.
For too long we’ve assumed people should be catechized (“they don’t know their Faith!!”) when in reality they need to meet Jesus in a personal way. Why does it matter how you follow Him if you don’t even know Him? Not to criticize those great quotes above, but most of CT is predicated on the expectation that someone already knows and wants to follow Christ.
And is that a little smiley face way at the bottom of the page? 🙂
Jen – These are my favorite quotes from this document. I know you are all about FIS, but that’s not the only way things are done. Evangelization is important, very important, however, I believe that they both can happen at the same time. I am not looking into arguing with you about this here, we can do it on Facebook.
Great quotes Tom! I forgot about some of these. I’ll have to read that document again!
I would recommend you look into Alpha for Catholics as an approach to introducing Catholics at your new parish to the kerygma. I’d also recommend you begin with Acts of the Apostles and assist those in your charge with how the Holy Spirit led the early Church.
Thank you for your suggestions, Deacon.
What developed of the Christocentric parish-wide adult faith formation program? That comment at the beginning caught may attention for the sense of adventure and anticipate you held. Have you written of what developed there?
Simply, from essentially January 2014 to May 2018, I ran a very successsful adult faith formation program that consisted of Tuesday morning studies, Thursday night studies, and a Saturday Morning Speaker Series. Many of the parishes around us started adult faith formation programs because so many of their parishioners were coming to us. In May 2018, a new Pastor came in and asked me to take over Religious Ed for families. In March 2020, I was laid off due to budget cuts. Read the article – The Flight into the Dakotas from December 2020.