GDC 207: Privileged forms and means

Today, more on inculturation:

207. Among the forms most apt to inculturate the faith, it is helpful to bear in mind catechesis of the young and adult catechesis on account of the possibilities which they offer of better correlating faith and life. Neither can inculturation be neglected in the Christian initiation of children precisely because of the important cultural implications of this process: acquiring new motivations in life, education of conscience, learning a biblical and sacramental language, knowledge of the historical density of Christianity.

A privileged means of this is liturgical catechesis with its richness of signs in expressing the Gospel message and its accessibility to so great a part of the people of God. The Sunday homily, the content of the Lectionary and the structure of the liturgical year should be valued afresh, along with other occasions of particularly significant catechesis (marriages, funerals, visits to the sick, feasts of patron saints etc.). The care of the family always remains central, since it is the primary agent of an incarnate transmission of the faith.

Catechesis also places special emphasis on multi-ethnic and multi-cultural situations in that it leads to a greater discovery and appreciation of the resources of diverse groups to receive and express the faith.

To be clear, the homily isn’t the only means of transmitting catechesis. Though it is the first one people think of. The “richness of signs” is also to be found in the art of the Church, both visual and audible. a much-overlooked avenue of catechesis, especially for the young, is the treatment of persons in the liturgy. In years of training young altar servers and choristers, I can attest that boys and girls watch very carefully how they and their peers are treated by adults. Liturgy is a public performance of sorts, and yet it is one devoid of two major cultural connotations one finds in the world of the young: entertainment and the A-B-C-D-F scale of grades. In the liturgy, young people can learn about the pursuit of excellence not for applause or a 4.0 average, but for the sake of others and for the greater glory of God.

The family is stressed here as “central” and as a “primary agent.” Note the use of the adjective “incarnate” with the transmission of faith. A good reminder that authentic faith formation isn’t just the transmission of words from one person’s mouth to another person’s brain. Transmitting the faith should leave some tangible, physical result in the lived world.

About catholicsensibility

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