The Six Tasks of Catechist Formation

Authored by Bill Haley in Issue #28.4 of The Sower

Most parishes have some who volunteer to assist in catechesis. These parishioners truly enjoy giving their time, treasure and talent to the Church, and they bring both personal and professional abilities to this service of the Church. For a parish catechetical leader, then, the appearance of volunteers is very welcome. But it also brings challenges with it.

Many of these volunteers have not received catechetical formation themselves. How does one begin to go about the task of forming such volunteers? There is a responsibility placed upon catechetical leaders, for as the General Directory for Catechesis rightly says, ‘The quality of any form of pastoral activity is placed at risk if it does not rely on truly competent and trained personnel’ (GDC 234).

First, it is of the utmost importance to nourish the spirituality of the catechist. The GDC points out, ‘Every theme covered by formation should feed, in the first place, the faith of the catechist. It is true that catechists catechize others by firstly catechizing themselves’ (GDC 239). Then secondly, as Christ is at the center of the faith, so we might describe the center of catechist formation as ‘to know, to celebrate and to contemplate the mystery of Christ’ (GDC 85), which leads to ‘an aptitude and ability to communicate the Gospel message’ (GDC 235).

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