On his recent trip to Africa, Pope Francis spoke to catechists and teachers and had a powerful message for them—a message that is, in turn, for all who serve as catechists. In his message, the Holy Father emphasized that the work of catechists is rewarding but not easy.
It is important for us to know that the role of the catechist in many places throughout Africa and also in South America is quite different than it is here in the United States. In many places where Catholics don’t get to see a priest very often, the catechist is the most important person in the community—a true pastoral leader. For that very reason, catechists’ work can often be dangerous as they are seen as instigators by certain governments or factions. So please remember that, while our work as catechists here in the States is certainly challenging, most of us do not have to risk our lives to bring the Word of God to others!
Here is my favorite line from the Pope’s message:
Even when the task seems too much, the resources too few, the obstacles too great, it should never be forgotten that yours is a holy work. The Holy Spirit is present wherever the name of Christ is proclaimed. He is in our midst whenever we lift up our hearts and minds to God in prayer. He will give you the light and strength you need!