The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

OCIA & Adult Faith Formation — Adult Evangelization and Catechesis: Today’s Great Need

Authored by Dr. James Pauley in Issue #10.2 of Catechetical Review

Back in 1989, when I first began working as a parish catechetical leader, I remember becoming alert to a pattern that unfolded regularly in our church parking lot. Two nights a week, our empty parking lot would become quite busy for two short periods of time. A line of cars would begin to form at 6:45 p.m. that would slowly inch along as parents dropped their children and teens off for parish catechesis. Then the lot emptied except for the dozen or so cars of the catechists. And then, an hour and a half later, the methodical line would predictably form again and creep along as parents retrieved their kids.

I had never been particularly attentive to this until that night. My alertness came about because of a contrasting pattern I had noticed for the first time in a church down the street. The previous week, I had noticed just how different the experience was in the evangelical Christian church parking lot. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, that church also had many cars entering the lot. But these cars were parked and remained for several hours until their drivers exited together at around 9 p.m. In that community, the adult drivers got out of their cars and entered, and then, surprisingly, remained in the building. As their kids went to Bible studies, so did their parents and other adults; whereas in our Catholic parish, the adult-chauffeurs immediately departed as their kids were catechized. In one church, the idea of studying and growing in an understanding of God’s Word was normative adult Christian life. Yet in the other—in ours—catechesis was an activity meant for the kids.

When it comes to the Catholic parishes with which each of us might be most familiar, what age level receives the most focused catechetical attention?

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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]

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