The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Saint John Paul II: A Model Catechist for our Times

Authored by Jem Sullivan in Issue #2.1 of Catechetical Review

What is it like to be a catechist in a country where Christians are persecuted? What particular virtues would a catechist need in a society where parishes are illegal, and church buildings may be constructed only with government approval? Imagine the challenges of catechizing adults, teenagers, and children when civil authorities announce plans to build a community without a church; a city where no public expression of faith is tolerated; and the State does not permit public reference to God and to the Church. This scenario is not taken from a futuristic novel or movie. It was the lived experience of Catholics in Poland, under the Communist regime in the decades following the Second World War. During this period of Polish history, the basic right to exercise and express faith in public forms and places was routinely denied or undermined. The State went so far as to plan a model workers’ town, called Nowa Huta, to be built without a church. Nowa Huta was located on the outskirts of Kraków, Poland, home to then Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, the future Saint John Paul II. This “pope of the family” is surely one of the great saints of our time. His loving and fearless witness to faith as a priest, a bishop, and as the pope offers every catechist a model to follow, even as we strive to catechize in the midst of the steady erosion of religious freedom today. From his saintly example, we may draw three lessons for catechesis in our time.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!

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]

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections — Mary: The First Disciple of Jesus
By Dr. James Pauley
Free What does it mean to be a disciple? We might think the answer simple enough: a disciple follows a teacher, so a Christian disciple is one who studies and puts into practice the teachings of Jesus. The problem here, though, is that Jesus isn’t only a wise teacher. To be his disciple requires something more. At the Great Commission, when he charged... Read more
Marian Devotion and the Renewal of Church Life
By John C. Cavadini
Free What happened to Mary? This is a question that could easily occur to anyone reading through 20th-century theology. Marian theology up to the 1960s was vibrant and flourishing. Fr. Edward O’Connor’s 1958 magisterial volume The Immaculate Conception (recently re-released by University of Notre Dame Press) seems to sum up an era. The lively essays... Read more
The Witness of Mary: A Portrait of Doctrine
By Sean Innerst
In Evangelii Nuntiandi (EN), Pope Paul VI, of sainted memory, said something that has become almost a banner that we fly above our apostolic work today, both in our evangelization and our catechesis. “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” [1] This is... Read more


Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now