Enlisting witnesses for Jesus Christ

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By the Office of Faith Formation

A few years ago, our team presented a workshop for Formation for Ministry Candidates entitled, “Not Your Grandma’s CCD.” We talked about how the ministry of Faith Formation has evolved over the years and painted a picture of where we might be headed in the future.  Confraternity of Christian Doctrine or CCD is a practice of handing on the important truths of our Catholic faith like the teaching of the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Commandments, Sacraments, as well as Virtues and Values. The next model of learning about faith was called Religious Education, which used a classroom model in both Catholic Schools and in parish programs. 

Today’s model, known as Faith Formation, seeks to form lifelong disciples using Catholic doctrine, prayer, and service. Learners experience the sacred through story, community, scripture, and current teaching techniques to engage the learner to know, live, and share their faith in Jesus. Keeping in mind the current culture and challenges of society, faith formation uses approaches like digital catechesis and whole community catechesis. Faith Formation supports the family in their important role as primary witness of faith.

A catechist is one who “echoes” his or her faith in God through word and in deed. They are called by God, through the community, to do this important ministry of faith formation. A few weeks ago, we celebrated the ministry of the catechist all over the world on Catechetical Sunday. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops directs the focus for our ministry each year. This year’s theme is “Enlisting Witnesses for Jesus Christ.”

One celebration of Catechetical Sunday was held at St. Mary’s Parish in Oswego. Father John Hogan told his parishioners, “While we recognize the special charism of those who are ordained to preach and teach the Word of God, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that, ‘Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, “that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and testimony of life.” In other words, quoting St. Thomas Aquinas, the Catechism states, ‘To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and every believer.’ The Catechism goes on to say that, ‘Lay people who are capable and trained may also collaborate in catechetical formation.’”

Megan DeLong, Megan Ross, Lisa Dubois, and Matthew Oldenburg were affirmed and blessed in their ministry as catechists. Father Hogan recognized Dee Hall, certified Director of Faith Formation, for her many years of devoted service to catechetical ministry. Maureen Wills was honored for earning her certification as an Associate of Faith Formation in her parish. With 25 years of ministry as a catechist at St. Mary’s, Denise Pritchard was also honored for her selfless dedication.

Look around your parish community. Who are the people who have been gifted and called to be catechists in the faith formation of children, teens, adults, and families? May we honor them and pray for them throughout the year. How can you become a witness of Jesus? Come visit us at an October Road Show, sponsored by the Office of Pastoral Planning. Learn more about the ministry of faith formation and enlisting witnesses for Jesus Christ.

 

Diocesan Road Shows

Diocesan “Road Shows” focus on what diocesan offices offer to “equip missionary disciples” by way of training, initial and ongoing education/formation, leadership development and opportunities for certification and advanced study. Information will be shared about processes, programs, and resources that are currently available to prepare persons who are called to serve one another in response to the Gospel. The “Road Show” is a collaborative effort coordinated by the Office of Pastoral Leadership. Presenters will be from the offices of Evangelization, Faith Formation, Pastoral Leadership, and Seminarian Formation.

Road Shows will be held 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, at Pope John XXIII Parish in Liverpool; Wednesday, Oct. 24, at St. Vincent de Paul – Blessed Sacrament in Vestal; and Thursday, Oct. 25, at St. John the Evangelist, New Hartford. Click here to register.