Pope Emaritus Benedict spoke back in 2010 to the Italian Bishops conference in Assisi about the translation of the Roman Missal in the context of liturgical reform. He said that “all true reformers are, in fact, obedient to the faith.” He explained:
“They do not move arbitrarily, they do not claim any discretional jurisdiction over rites. They are not masters but custodians of the treasure that was instituted by the Lord and entrusted to us. The entire Church is present in each liturgical act, and adhering to its form is a condition for the authenticity of the celebration.”
The “reformers” he is speaking of are all the bishops, priests and liturgists who will be implementing the new translation of the Roman Missal. I think the Pope’s message also applies to the work of catechesis when passing on the Deposit of Faith. We cannot teach personal opinions or only the truths that “we think” are more relevant. There is a temptation to side-step the more challenging teachings of the Gospel and the Church. The Lord has entrusted to His Church the full Deposit of Faith and we, in the ministry of catechesis, must never see ourselves as the “masters but custodians of the treasure(s) that was instituted by the Lord and entrusted to us.”
3 Ways we can do this in our Religious Education Programs:
1) Make sure and talk to your DRE about what are the fundamental truths of the Faith, e.g., Holy Trinity, the Incarnation, the Paschal Mystery, the Sacraments, the doctrine of sin, etc.
2) Be faithful to the teachings of Christ and His Church in your own life. As we allow comfort or lukewarmness to infect our own Faith lives, it becomes contagious and spreads to the programs we lead and the teachings we pass on. The teachings of the Church are life-giving and inspire one to go deeper and grow in a relationship with God.
3. Be sure to find small teachable moments to pass on to the parents as well. It is becoming increasingly more challenging to encourage parents to attend any presentations about the faith. Look to newsletters, emails, and small assignments in which students and parents can work together, so that parents can deepen their understanding of the blessings and joy of knowing the teachings of the Church and desire more fervently to live them in their lives.
Come Holy Spirit!