Catechism Clips (Photo credit: thicke)
As the archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio spoke of the importance of the ministry of catechesis, as a “pillar of the Church.” For him, as you would expect, catechesis is the sowing of seed in soil. No what type of soil, as the parable goes, you sow, cultivate, and pray. In a letter addressed to catechists, the cardinal stated, “In our task of evangelization, God asks us to accompany a people that walks in the faith.”
Cardinal Bergoglio paid attention to the ecclesial and evangelical nature of the catechetical ministry that is often overlooked, mismanaged, and otherwise dismissed by clergy and laity alike. You get a clearer sense of the the scope –successes and failures– in catechetical ministry throughout the last hundred plus years if you read George Weigel’s recent book, Evangelical Catholicism. And this why catechetical methods such as Catechesis of the Good Shepherd aim at doing what is consistent with the long-view of teaching the faith is about, and the emphases Pope Francis made in 2010.
Bergoglio, like Weigel, and other reasonably attentive pastors of the Church speak of the handing on the faith to others (children and adults alike) is a “splendid mission, ministry of the Word that catechists have been carrying out uninterruptedly for almost two thousand years”; it is “an ecclesial service that is expressed in many ways and in different places.”
Our work is clearly defined: we need “of a joyful, committed catechist renewed in his fervor, who makes present that style of missionary Church that knows about frailty — one’s own and that of others — and because of this goes out, listens, embraces and supports.”
Bergoglio prayed for God to “rejuvenate” the catechists with his grace, the prelate affirmed that “the renewal of pastoral care and of catechesis will not depend on great programs and structures, but on new men and women who embody this tradition and novelty, as disciples of Jesus Christ and missionaries of his Kingdom. For this the Lord gives us faces, histories and researches. And it is always good to recall that that child, that youth and that adult that God puts on our path is not a glass that we must fill with content or a person to conquer. Our task will be simply to help to unveil, to make explicit the presence of him who is already present and has the power to fill every life.”
August 31, 2010