This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting [email protected]
Encountering God in Catechesis
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” [Mt 18:20]. These familiar words of Jesus teach us as catechists that we have multiple opportunities to encounter him, not just in communal prayer but also in missionary outreach and every time we step into our catechetical sessions. Yes, even the mundane and hectic are sanctified by God’s presence. Since he called us, he won’t abandon us. The question is: are we watching and waiting for him? And, are we attuned to him and how he wishes to move us and those in our care? We invite you to read the following testimonies of catechists, just like you, in the hope that, as you respond to your own vocation, you may also find ways of Encountering God in Catechesis. In the early winter months of February 2014, I joined with four other parishes for a joint retreat. I was struggling through my first year as a youth minister, just trying to make it through and keep my head on straight. When the opportunity to join the retreat presented itself, I jumped on board, as much as to check off the “take teens on a retreat” box on my imaginary youth ministry “to-do” list than to provide them a retreat experience where they could encounter Jesus. Even after only eight months on the job, I was already frustrated with the lack of commitment to faith many of the families in my parish exhibited; I did not expect any teens to sign up for the retreat. To my surprise, I took three girls from our Hispanic community. Their parents were enthusiastic that they go on the retreat and the girls were excited as well. I felt guilty for my own lack of enthusiasm as I prepared for the retreat; in many ways, I was just going through the motions. The retreat was beautiful. We started on Friday night and by Saturday’s session were bringing the teens into the presence of Jesus in the monstrance and personally introducing them to Christ. It was amazing to pray with the teens and watch them as they encountered Christ.