GDC 253-254: “The Christian community is a home for catechesis”

Part Five’s Chapter III covers twelve numbered sections, through GDC 264. In today’s post and those that will follow this week, we’ll look at where and how catechesis is conducted. First, is the Christian community, and the title of this section is footnoted, referring the reader to “Part Five, Chapter I, where mention is made of the community responsibility for catechesis. This is regarded as a locus of catechizing.”

253. The Christian community is the historical realization of the gift of “communion” (koinonia), (Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Communionis notio”, n. 1: l.c. 838) which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. “Communion” expresses the profound nucleus between the universal Church and the particular Churches which make up the Christian community. It is realized and made visible in the rich variety of immediate Christian communities in which Christians are born into the faith, educated in it and live it: the family; parish; Catholic schools; Christian associations and movements; basic ecclesial communities. These are the loci of catechesis, the community places where initiatory catechesis and continuing education in the faith are realized. (Cf. 1977 Synod of Bishops, Message to the People of God 13)

When we speak of the Christian community, then, we are talking about any number of associations.

It’s more than the locus, or place. The “where” of catechesis provides an important context. Christ preached remains the same, but the manner, style, and emphasis of the message adapts with the hope of optimal fruitfulness.

254. The Christian community is the origin, locus and goal of catechesis. Proclamation of the Gospel always begins with the Christian community and invites (people) to conversion and the following of Christ. It is the same community that welcomes those who wish to know the Lord better and permeate themselves with a new life. The Christian community accompanies catechumens and those being catechized, and with maternal solicitude makes them participate in her own experience of the faith and incorporates them into herself. (Cf. Catechesi Tradendae 24)

Catechesis is always the same. However the loci (Catechesi Tradendae 67a. This is a classic expression in catechesis. The Apostolic Exhortation speaks of the places of catechesis (de locis catecheseos)) of catechesis distinguish it, each in its own way. Hence it is important to know the role of each of these.

And in the next several posts, we’ll explore in turn the family, the catechumenate, the parish, Catholic schools, and various groups of believers, including base communities.

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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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