GDC 29: The Vitality of Catechesis

Another good news/bad news section. GDC 29-30 form a two-part section that addresses the “situation” of catechesis: it’s vitality, but also today’s difficulties. We’ll save the latter for tomorrow. First, the good work:

29. The vitality of catechesis in recent years has been amply demonstrated by many positive aspects. Amongst others the following must be highlighted:

– the great number of priests, religious and laity who devote themselves with enthusiasm to catechesis, one of the most important ecclesial activities.

– the missionary character of contemporary catechesis and its ability to secure adherence to the faith on the part of catechumens and those to be catechized in a world in which religious sense is obscured must also be underlined: in this dynamic there is an acute awareness that catechesis must have a catechumenal style, as of integral formation rather than mere information; it must act in reality as a means of arousing true conversion; (Cf. Catechesi Tradendae 19b.)

– consonant with what has been said, concerning the expanding role of adult catechesis (Cf. Catechesi Tradendae 43.) the catechetical programmes of many particular Churches assume extraordinary importance. This option appears to be a priority in the pastoral planning of many dioceses, and also plays a central role in many ecclesial groups and movements;

– promoted no doubt by recent directions of the Magisterium, catechetical thought, has gained much in our times in terms of quality and profundity. In this sense many local Churches already have at their disposal suitable and opportune pastoral programmes.

Most Catholics think in terms of their own parish, and their personal experiences. Rare is the Catholic who has a grasp of the greater situation in the Church. As we progress through GDC, let’s keep in mind this document is written for the universal Church. We may see our American (or other) experiences represented well or not so well in these words.

In essence, Rome is lauding personnel who devote themselves to catechetical ministry, to the initiatives and influence of the catechumenate, to adult formation, and to actual programming. In your corner of the world, do you see this happening, or not?

Speaking from my own experience on staff in a handful of parishes, I would agree with these assessments. I would also remark that efforts in these areas have improved markedly since I first began serving as a full-time lay minister in 1988.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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