Welcome to this “little getaway!” This Online Retreat for Catechists – The Spirituality of the Catechist - is an opportunity for those of us in the catechetical ministry to be renewed in spirit and to deepen our bonds with the Lord and with one another.
There’s no need to register. There’s no fee. You’ve arrived at this virtual retreat house, so come on in and find out what it’s all about! Start by clicking on and viewing the following brief video clip.
Here’s a bit more about the 6 themes we will be looking at over the next 6 weeks:
In 1993, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (an office of the Vatican), issued a document titled Guide for Catechists. In that document, the bishops of the Church spelled out the spirituality of the catechist. In a nutshell, that spirituality, which is grounded in the spirituality of the laity that flows from baptism, is characterized by the following 6 characteristics:
· An Openness to God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) –This is an openness to a living Word – a Person – to whom we desire deeply to invite others to encounter. Our desire is to be transformed by this relationship and to invite others to this saving transformation.
· An Openness to the Church – Our call to serve as catechists comes from the Church. We’re not lone rangers…we are sent on a mission that’s not our own, and we’re equipped with a message that has been entrusted to us.
· An Openness to the World –The Holy Spirit was poured forth so that we could proclaim the Gospel to all nations. With that in mind, catechists are called to be uniquely in touch with the needs of the world – especially the “world” of those we teach.
· A Coherence and Authenticity of Life – As catechists, we don’t teach a subject or a skill set. We invite others into a way of life that defines who we are. Being a catechist is not a “hat” that we put on and take off. The simple fact is, we can’t teach what (or who) we don’t know. That means that we have to strive to authentically know Jesus, to know his message, and to know the Catholic way of life that leads to him.
· A Missionary Zeal – the vocation of the catechist takes the baptismal call to proclaim God’s Word and heightens its intensity. For catechists, the desire to share Christ with others is powerful, it’s almost overwhelming. We can’t help but to preach the Gospel to others! Our hearts burn within us and we’re compelled to share faith with others. As a result, our spirituality HAS to keep that flame burning.
· A devotion to Mary – Good catechists learn from other catechists. We have the best example to learn from in our Mother, Mary. She was the first teacher of Jesus and the first disciple. Mary is a “living catechism” and a “model of catechists.” The spirituality of ALL the baptized is enriched by devotion to Mary, but, as catechists, our ministry is especially enriched by devotion to the Blessed Mother.
These six characteristics of the spirituality of the catechist are going to serve as the focus for this online catechist’s retreat. Each week, we’re going to delve more deeply into one of these 6 characteristics, reflect on them and apply them to our own lives and our own vocation as catechists.
Take a look at the Guide for Catechists, Section II, 6-10, to see how the document itself talks about the spirituality of the catechist.
Week 1 Exercise
For this first week (June 8-14), let’s just get to know one another! Please introduce yourself by clicking on the “Comments” link at the end of this post (and then click on “add one now”) and, in 75 words or less, share the following:
- a first name/username/or initials
- your ministry/position
- your general location
- years in this role
- then, complete the following sentence: “My spiritual life right now can best be described by comparing it to __________________.” Then, choose one of the following to complete the sentence and explain how it describes some aspect of your spiritual life.
- your patron/confirmation/favorite saint
- your favorite Church hymn
- your favorite liturgical feast/season
“Hi, I’m Ben. I’m a 5th grade catechist in Wyoming and I’ve been doing this for 11 years. My spiritual life right now is best described by comparing it to my Confirmation saint, Saint Peter. I want so badly to be Jesus’ “best” disciple, but I continually find ways to screw it up! J
“Hi, I’m Kirsten and I’m in my first year as a coordinator of religious education at a parish in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. My spiritual life right now is best described by comparing it to the hymn “Here I Am , Lord.” I feel that God is calling me to this ministry and I want to respond with eagerness and enthusiasm. I want to do God’s will.”
“G’day fellow catechists! My name is Sara and I’m a youth minister in Australia! I’ve been in youth ministry for 6 years. My spiritual life right now is best described by comparing it to Good Friday. My position is being eliminated and I’m experiencing the “death” of what I love so dearly. I still have hope, though, because I’ve applied for a position at the diocesan youth ministry office and I’ve got my fingers crossed!”
P.S. Feel free to comment on one another’s introductions! You’ll notice that I’ve added a feature that allows you to reply/comment directly on someone else’s comment! I’ll be moderating vigilantly to keep our conversation current and flowing!
Recommendation: For a good introduction to the concept of spirituality, I recommend The Inner Compass by Margaret Silf