Every August and September many parish catechetical leaders (PCLs) throughout the United States engage in active and desperate efforts in recruiting catechists.
Through bulletin announcements, telephone calls, letters, and posters PCLs invite parishioners, parents, and friends to come forward.
While many individuals will volunteer out of a sense of responsibility or guilt in September, there is no time for the initial preparation and training that is essential for effective catechesis.
The National Directory for Catechesis (NDC) points out that the call to be a catechist is a process of discernment. They who accept the call must strive with the help of their parish community to develop their human and spiritual qualities and catechetical knowledge and skills.
Facilitating this vision takes time for discernment and initial formation. It is essential to create a process that includes opportunities for:
gathering for prospective catechists
individual meeting with the PCLs
independent reading and study
small group discussion
March is the ideal time to begin recruitment, discernment and initial formation. Parish catechetical leaders and catechists will then have the time in the spring and summer to prepare for fall.
During this recruitment period, PCLs will provide prospective catechists a variety of opportunities for
Prayer, reflection and discernment
Meeting with and observing experienced catechists
Becoming familiar with the textbook
Through books, videos, articles, and websites, prospective catechists will increase their personal understanding of the major themes they will teach.
We at eCatechist.com have declared March as National Catechist Recruitment Month. March is the ideal time for recruitment and initial formation of catechists.
Will There Be Faith? A New Vision for Educating and Growing Disciples is theoretical, practical and a valuable contribution to Catholic education in this decade, a handbook for everyone involved in Catholic education. Groome's examples are personal and scriptural and, like always, his exegesis provides practical applications to value.
The recruitment of catechists is one of the most important responsibilities of a catechetical leader. It is an ongoing activity, always inviting individuals to find out more about being a catechist.
While many parishes focus their recruitment efforts in August and September, this is the time that all catechists should have already been recruited and have completed orientation, training and formation. At this time, catechists are now ready to welcome the children, youth, adults and families into the various programs for faith formation.
In order to achieve this ideal, catechetical leaders must see recruitment as an ongoing activity with special focus in spring and basic catechist education and formation in spring and summer.
An announcement at the end of Mass and in the parish bulletin is not effective. While it will alert the parish that there are various catechetical programs and that volunteers are needed, most people do not respond to a general and impersonal approach.
People will volunteer when they are personally invited. Instead of inviting people to be catechists, invite them to find out more about what it means to be a catechist. Invite them to a personal or small group gathering where they can learn what it’s all about – responsibilities, time commitment, education and formation, benefits.
People look forward to making a contribution. They want to do a good job, learn more about the faith, meet with others.
After the informational meeting, they will know what it is all about and be able to make an informed decision. When they say “yes” they can then begin their preparation and education.
It only comes up in the Sunday readings once every three years, but it’s so intriguing that it catches our ear every time: in the Spirit he went to preach to the spirits in prison (I Peter 3:19).
If that sounds familiar, it’s because we pray it every time we say the Apostle’s Creed: He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell.
You read that right. The Church took this portion of Peter’s letter so seriously that it found its way into the creed. Christ actually visited all the just who had lived before the time of Christ and released the spirits in prison.
In fact, a beautiful, ancient hymn sung on Holy Saturday recounts that Christ visited Adam and Eve:
He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow Adam in his bonds, and Eve, captive with him. He says, “I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.”
How does time and space work with God? Had all who died before Christ’s resurrection waited out those thousands of years in “real time”? Or is there perhaps a “wrinkle in time”― a mere blink that separates this life (and death) from eternity?
Be at peace. The God of heaven and earth (and under the earth) will not stop searching for us.
Margaret Matijasevic is the mother of two wonderful children. She is serving as the Executive Director for the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership.
Previously, she was the San Fernando Regional Coordinator for the Office Of Religious Education in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
BA from the University of San Diego in the area of Theological and Religious Studies. MA from Loyola Marymount University with a focus in Pastoral Ministry. A digital disciple sharing the Good News and enjoying prayer through photography. @MargaretMatijas
3) Jesus can also break through the dull categories with which we would enclose him and he constantly amazes us by his divine creativity. Whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world. (Intro II. 11.)
Join Liz Christian in an evening to begin the Lenten journey: prayer, music, reflections on suffering. Experience music from her album, Beginnings, and hear reflections from Saint John Paul II, C.S. Lewis, and more. Join us on Friday, February 20, 2015 at the Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids. Download B&W christian flyer final
Beginnings is a great combination of melodic, story-focused, and catchy. One can listen to it during some much-needed quiet time or while driving in the car. It is a versatile sound that can follow you into whatever mood or setting you are in.
Christian’s album is a worship experience that meets love-story, meets introspective account of an inner life. Her lyrics often vacillate between playful and profound.
She says of her album: “Beginnings is a folk-pop style, using secular and Christian influence to form a series of compositions. This catchy folk style leans on poetic lyrics and practical and theological thought. Life, after all, is not only about results, but the progress of work it takes. We must see where we lack in order for us to step forward.” To enter into this “progress of work” is a joyful and relaxing experience that will not disappoint the listener.
As one educated in a liberal arts college, I am a firm believer in a well-rounded education. Since our God is a diverse God, a truly balanced education includes all aspects of knowing things, including science, art, philosophy, history, and music. In the classroom, our best lessons should reflect God’s diversity.
Though every sense, sight, taste, smell, sound, and touch, can be analyzed on its own, I will focus on my own area of expertise: music. At a young age, even in the womb, we are already making sense of what comes in through our ears, learning about sound. This curiosity does not seem to lesson as we age, for, from the young to aged individuals, the fascination with music is ever present. We surround ourselves with music in the car, in the workplace, in the liturgy, and in many celebrations like birthday parties and weddings. The fact is we like music.
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom of God is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about: We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.
*Often called the "Archbishop Romero Prayer" and later thought to be by Cardinal John Dearden, this was actually authored by Ken Untener when he worked with Cardinal Dearden in Detroit.
From The Practical Prophet: Pastoral Writings by Bishop Ken Untener
Bishop Ken Untener was born in Detroit and was bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw, MI from1980 where he served until his death in 2004.
2. There are Christians who lives seem like Lent without Easter. I realize of course that joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty. Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved. (Intro I. 6.)
In what ways are you able to express joy in the coming week?
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR LENT 2015
“Make your hearts firm” (Jas 5:8)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Lent is a time of renewal for the whole Church, for each communities and every believer. Above all it is a “time of grace” (2 Cor 6:2). God does not ask of us anything that he himself has not first given us. “We love because he first has loved us” (1 Jn 4:19). He is not aloof from us. Each one of us has a place in his heart. He knows us by name, he cares for us and he seeks us out whenever we turn away from him. He is interested in each of us; his love does not allow him to be indifferent to what happens to us. Usually, when we are healthy and comfortable, we forget about others (something God the Father never does): we are unconcerned with their problems, their sufferings and the injustices they endure… Our heart grows cold. As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.