GDC 159: The importance of the group

Noting a reference to the General Catechetical Directory, section 76, let’s discuss group dynamics in catechesis:

159. Groups play an important function in the development processes of people. The same is true of catechesis, both for children where it fosters a rounded sociability, and for young people where groups are practically a vital necessity for personality formation. The same is true of adults where they promote a sense of dialogue and sharing as well as a sense of Christian co-responsibility. The catechist who participates in such groups and who evaluates and notes their dynamics recognizes and plays the primary specific role of participating in the name of the Church as an active witness to the Gospel, capable of sharing with others the fruits of his mature faith as well as stimulating intelligently the common search for faith. Apart from its didactic aspect, the Christian group is called to be an experience of community and a form of participation in ecclesial life. It finds its goal and fullest manifestation in the more extended Eucharistic community. Jesus says: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst” (Mt 18:20).

This seems fairly straight-forward. Much of the Christian experience is a group phenomenon. It has been so from the time of Jesus and the apostles.

For young people, the reference point is their socialization and personality formation. Is this more a concern for human psychology? Perhaps not entirely. It might be that when faith is woven into these formative experiences, it takes deeper root than just the imparting of religious information.

And naturally, participation in the witness of the Gospel is vital. How can we escape the principle? And really, why would we want to?

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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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