Catechists as Mystagogues: Apprenticing Others into Discipleship

Years ago, it was common for a young person to learn a trade by being apprenticed by someone who was a master in that trade. When it was published in 1997, the General Directory for Catechesis (#67) created some excitement by declaring that faith formation was to be understood as an apprenticeship. What does it mean to apprentice someone into the Catholic faith? To answer that, let’s look at the essentials of an apprenticeship: The […]

Catechists as Mystagogues: Helping Others to Think, Speak, and Act Differently

As mystagogues, we catechists are called to invite and accompany others into the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. This transformative experience is essentially about embracing another way of being human: thinking, speaking, and acting as citizens of the Kingdom of God. In practical terms, this means that we must be about the work of helping others think, speak, and act differently! How do we do this? By encouraging and teaching Catholic practices. In many ways, […]

Catechists as Mystagogues: Touching People’s Hearts

In his research about why some things go viral on social media, author Jonah Berger discovered that one of the main reasons is that the item provokes emotion, whether good or bad. Emotions play a key role in decisions that people make in all areas of their lives. Aware of this reality, marketers often tap into emotions in their advertising. One of the reasons that our faith formation efforts are struggling is because they too […]

Catechists as Mystagogues: Inviting Others to Take the Next Step

Part of the mystery of life is not knowing what the future holds for us. As mystagogues, we catechists lead others into their future life, a life clouded by mystery but with one thing crystal clear: God is with them on every step of their journey! I have said before that mystagogues are like sponsors in a 12-step program, who accompany their sponsee on his or her journey from one step to another as one […]

Catechists as Mystagogues: Leading Others to Encounter the Risen One

There’s a big difference between telling someone, “I can tell you a lot about __________” (Fill in the blank with the name of any celebrity.) and “I’d like to introduce you to ___________.” (Fill in the blank with the same name.) Often faith formation has been thought of and approached as a version of the first option above: a vehicle for telling others about Jesus Christ. This boils down to the teaching of a subject. […]

Catechists as Mystagogues: Leading Others into the Mystery of the Cross

Jesus taught that, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) He then proceeded to lay down his life for us by dying on the Cross. We Catholics place crucifixes in our homes and places of worship and formation as a reminder of the mystery of our faith: it is by dying that we are born to eternal life. This is the kind of love that […]

Catechists as Mystagogues: Telling Stories of the Mighty Deeds of the Lord

People demand to see results. That’s nothing new. Before we purchase something, we want to hear and see unsolicited endorsements from previous purchasers. Before we vote for someone, we want to know about the candidate’s previous accomplishments. So, it should come as no surprise that, when John the Baptist found himself imprisoned for “campaigning” on behalf of Jesus, he (John) sent some of his disciples to Jesus to confirm that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. […]

Catechists as Mystagogues: Helping Others Recognize the Path That Leads to Life

I’ve previously written about how a mystagogue helps others to recognize unhealthy paths or narratives that diminish and destroy rather than give life. In this post, we explore how catechists as mystagogues help others recognize the path that leads to fullness of life. The Directory for Catechesis explains that: Every person, prompted by the disquiet that dwells within his heart, by way of the sincere search for the meaning of his existence, is able to […]

Catechists as Mystagogues: Exposing Unhealthy Paths and Narratives

A mystagogue is someone who not only teaches, but also leads and accompanies others into mystery (Directory for Catechesis 113). The mystagogue recognizes that our biblical understanding of mystery is not as something to be solved but as something to enter into, and as something that is revealed and yet remains hidden. One of the first ways that we as catechists do this is by helping those we teach to recognize unhealthy life paths or […]