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What is Catechesis?

On this past Sunday, we celebrated catechetical Sunday.

"This is my body given for you" Luke 22:19

Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. This year, the Church celebrated Catechetical Sunday on September 18, 2022 , and the theme was: “This is my body given for you” Those who the parish community has designated to serve as catechists were called forth to be commissioned for their ministry.

So what is Catechesis?

Catechesis is an education of children, young people, and adults in the faith of the Church through the teaching of Christian doctrine in an organic and systemic way to make them disciples of Jesus Christ. Those who perform the ministry of Catechesis in the Church are called “catechists.” (CCC 5, 426-427.)

In laymen’s words, this means all who are baptized serve as Catechists. As Archbishop Gomez shares in the attached writing, catechesis begins at home. He cites the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) when he writes, “Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested (serving to serve and not for one’s own interest) service are the rule.” (CCC 2223).

When I read these words, I am reminded of my own mother, a devout Catholic, who taught us by example…going to Mass, praying throughout the day, helping those in need, and making something out of nothing when providing for us. We always had a houseful of people she would take in as they were settling in as newcomers to our country. (Helping to help with no self interest).

The one area she recognized as a weakness and against her faith was in how she corrected us…she would yell, use words to catch our attention, and she did not spare the rod. After, she blew up, she would ask us what we needed, make us a good meal, treat us super nice, and show true repentance.

It was as if she could not control herself when we disobeyed, acted up, or did not do the chores to her liking. We learned to get through these cycles and throughout all this we always knew she loved us.

She would later tell us, as we were raising our own children, the importance of correcting with tenderness, gentleness, love, and wisdom. She would always tell us not to follow her example, in this regard, but to follow her advice. She told us she was sorry (repenting) for how she disciplined us. Mom shared how she never learned how to be a parent and she used methods that were not aligned with how God wants us to treat one another. She wanted to break this cycle of parenting with us. To me, she demonstrated respect, fidelity, and tenderness in sharing something very difficult to uncover about herself. Through these conversations, she also taught us about the importance of forgiveness. She was an amazing Catechist.

They say, we learn from our mistakes. Just as important, we can also learn from the mistakes of others.

In the same way, even though education begins at home, sometimes we need resources. Resources to help us cope with the day to day of life’s struggles. Had my mom had those resources, she would not have had to deal with this painful and hurtful part of her life by herself. As our long time parish priest, Father Greg King, would remind us, it is okay to say "I hurt, I need help."

Catechists through your church help provide support and resources to help families learn from prior mistakes, and also learn from others' good examples, to get to know our Heavenly Father, to learn what He has sacrificed for us, and to recognize He ALWAYS walks with us, even when we are disobedient. He wants us to learn, to recognize when we are wrong and to be better tomorrow than we are today. He will always show us the way. As a parish catechist, I am constantly learning as I am teaching others. Each interaction I have with others helps me not only understand the other person, I get to know myself better by how I respond to others. We are continuously learning and evolving.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is filled with resources and words of wisdom on how to raise our families in faith, to be good stewards of our environment, to follow God’s commandment to Love Him, and Love our neighbors, about the social teachings of the Church, and to be disciples by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. It is available free online by clicking here.,

Attached is the article from Archbishop Gomez I mentioned earlier in my post. I wish you joyful reading!

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