GDC 71: “Various forms of continuing catechesis”

This section highlights six possible ways to continue faith formation in believers.

71. For continuing education in the faith, the ministry of the word uses many forms of catechesis. Among these the following may be highlighted:

– The study and exploration of Sacred Scripture, read not only in the Church but with the Church and her living faith, which helps to discover divine truth, which it contains, in such a way as to arouse a response of faith. (214) The “lectio divina” is an eminent form of this vital study of Scripture.

Lectio Divina: oh yes!

– A Christian reading of events, which is required of the missionary vocation of the Christian community. In this respect the study of the social teaching of the Church is indispensable, since “its main aim is to interpret these realities, determining their conformity with or divergence from the lines of the Gospel teaching”. (215)

One possibility might be the review of the document Economic Justice For All, for which we observe a rather quiet silver anniversary this year.

– Liturgical catechesis, prepares for the sacraments by promoting a deeper understanding and experience of the liturgy. This explains the contents of the prayers, the meaning of the signs and gestures, educates to active participation, contemplation and silence. It must be regarded as an “eminent kind of catechesis”. (216)

Not to mention mystagogy after the celebration of the sacraments. Don’t you like the appearance of active participation here? It goes well with its liturgical companions: contemplation and silence.

– Occasional catechesis which seeks to interpret determined circumstances of personal, family, ecclesial or social life and to help live them in the prospect offaith.(217)

Topical workshops, in other words. I find that in the busy life of a parish, these events can be especially attractive to parishioners curious, but heavily occupied by other commitments.

– Initiatives of spiritual formation which seek to reinforce conviction, open new prospectives and encourage perseverance in prayer and in the duties of following Christ.

Retreats. Missions. Matters less of the classroom and more of the apprenticeship in the spiritual life.

– A systematic deepening of the Christian message by means of theological instruction, so as truly to educate in the faith, encourage growth in understanding of it and to equip the Christian for giving the reason for his hope in the present world. (218) In a certain sense, it is appropriate to call such instruction “perfective catechesis”.

(214) Cf. Dei Verbum 21-25; Pontifical Biblical Commission, The interpretation of the Bible in the Church (21 September 1993), especially in IV, see 2 and 3, Città del Vaticano 1993.

(215) Sollicitudo Rei Socialis 41; cf. Centesimus Annus 5, 53-62. Congregation for Catholic Education, Guidelines for the study and teaching of the Social Doctrine of the Church in the formation of priests (30 December, 1988), Rome 1988.

(216) Catechesi Tradendae 23. Cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 35 ad 3; canon law 777, 1 and 2.

(217) Cf. Catechesi Tradendae 21c and 47; General Catechetical Directory (1971) 96 c, d, e, f.

(218) Cf. 1 Pt 3,15 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Dominum veritatis, n. 6b l.c. 1552. Confer also what is indicated in Catechesi Tradendae 61, about the correlation between catechesis and theology.

Anything to add, my friends?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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