GDC 235-236: “Nature and purpose of the formation of catechists”

Let’s look a little more closely at catechist formation; it’s mainly about communicating:

235. Formation seeks to enable catechists to transmit the Gospel to those who desire to entrust themselves to Jesus Christ. The purpose of formation, therefore, is to make the catechist capable of communicating: “The summit and centre of catechetical formation lies in an aptitude and ability to communicate the Gospel message”. (Cf. General Catechetical Directory 111)

The christocentric purpose of catechesis, which emphasizes the communion of the convert with Jesus Christ, permeates all aspects of the formation of catechists. (Cf. Catechesi Tradendae 5c. This text defines the christocentric end of catechesis. This fact determines the Christocentric content of catechesis. It also determines the christocentricity of the response of those to whom catechesis is addressed (the ‘Yes’ to Jesus Christ) and the christocentricity of the spirituality of the catechist and of his formation.) This aim is nothing other than to lead the catechist to know how to animate a catechetical journey of which, the necessary stages are: the proclamation of Jesus Christ; making known his life by setting it in the context of salvation history; explanation of the mystery of the Son of God, made (flesh) for us; and finally to help the catechumen, or those being catechized, to identify with Jesus Christ through the sacraments of initiation. (The four stages of the baptismal catechumenate are cultivated in a christocentric prospective) With continuing catechesis, the catechist merely tries to deepen these basic elements. This christological perspective touches directly upon the identity of the catechist and his preparation. “The unity and harmony of the catechist must be read in this christocentric light and built around a profound familiarity with Christ and the Father, in the Spirit”. (Guide for Catechists, 20)

The stages of the catechumenate are placed in a Christ-focused perspective. And mystagogia/continuing formation? Deepening other discoveries, always with the sacramental perspective–the most profound Christ-centered experience a believer can experience, namely the presence of Christ in the celebration of the sacraments.

I also like the emphasis here on “animating” catechists, on filling them with the Holy Spirit. Not only is the GDC focus on Christ, but it is essentially Trinitarian.

236. By virtue of the fact that formation seeks to make the catechist capable of transmitting the Gospel in the name of the Church, all formation has an ecclesial nature. The formation of catechists is nothing other than an assistance for them in identifying with the living and actual awareness that the Church has of the Gospel, in order to make them capable of transmitting it in his name.

In concrete terms, the catechist—in his formation—enters into communion with that aspiration of the Church which, like a spouse, “keeps pure and intact the faith of the Spouse” (Lumen Gentium 64) and which, as “mother and teacher” desires to transmit the Gospel by adapting it to all cultures, ages, and situations. This truly ecclesial quality of the transmission of the Gospel permeates the entire formation of catechists and gives to that formation its true nature.

GDC 235: Christ and the Trinity. GDC 236: The Church. Comments?

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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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