Friday, 25 September 2009

Sharing the Faith - The Role of the Catechist

No parish would manage to organise its First Communion, Confirmation, RCIA, Marriage and Baptism classes and so on without the help of a whole of army of Catechists. They play a vital role in this country in sharing the Catholic faith with young children, teenagers and adults. In many other countries especially in Latin America and Africa with large parishes and small numbers of clergy they play a vital role in animating and promoting the Christian life in their local area.

Catechists, therefore, whether in this country and elsewhere working with their Bishops, Priests and Deacons play a vital role in passing on the faith of the Church.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the cover of which can be seen above, says in its Prologue that "Catechesis is an education in the faith of children, young people and adults which includes especially the teaching of Christian doctrine impaed, generally speaking, in an organic and systematic way, with a view to inititating the hearers into the fullness of Christian life."

Given such a demanding purpose of catechesis it is important, therefore, that any Catechists are properly trained. In this diocese the Adult Formation Adviser, David Wills (pictured below) is working hard to support new locally based training for Catechists. Redhill Deanery has recently finished a programme of training for Catechists and Cathedral Deanery is soon to launch a series of sessions lead by clergy and lay people for Catechesists, new and old from 5th October. The first term will focus on the content of faith in areas such as the person of Jesus to the Church. The second term will focus more on the methods needed to hand on this content. Anybody interested in finding out any more about this course and running one in their parish or deanery should contact David Wills on

I, however, leave the last word to the Catechsim that states that the ultimate purpose of catechesis is to help people "believe that Jesus is the Son of God so that believing they might have life in his name..."

'But you,' Jesus said 'who do you say I am?' It was Peter who spoke up. 'The Christ of God.' he said. (Lk 9:20)

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