My last post in this new series communicated the call of a catechetical leader.  I would like, in this current post, to share briefly how a catechetical leader is a catechist first.

First and Foremost

The National Directory for Catechesis (NDC) speaks of the catechetical leader being a catechist first (pg. 226).  All the responsibilities given to them by the pastor are important, but they should always be aware that they are first a catechist in their ministry and secondarily a leader/administrator who helps carry out a program(s), train catechists (or provides avenues where they can receive training) and fulfill their general responsibilities.  This also means that the catechetical leader is to catechize throughout their ministry.

The Role of the Catechist

The General Directory for Catechesis (GDC) says: “No methodology, no matter how well tested, can dispense with the person of the catechist in every phase of the catechetical process.  The charism given to him by the Spirit, a solid spirituality and transparent witness of life, constitutes the soul of every method.  Only his own human and Christian qualities guarantee a good use of texts and other work instruments” (#156).  Therefore, “in every phase of the catechetical process” a catechetical leader is lead by the Holy Spirit to help be that instrument of handing on the faith to fellow catechists, parents, students, and colleagues.

The Task of the Catechist

The catechist is a “mediator” and one who “facilitates” the transmission of the faith to others (cf. GDC #156).  The aim of catechesis is to help the believer come to an understanding of God’s truths so that they may be transformed by them (cf. Catechesis in Our Time, #20).  The GDC speaks of this task of a catechist by saying: “Truly, to help a person encounter God, which is the task of the catechist, means to emphasize above all the relationship that the person has with God so that he can make it his own and allow himself to be guided by God” (#139).  A catechetical leader who is carrying out a vision in his/her parish (diocese or campus) must do everything with this in mind.  They must seek to provide those they serve with the ability to encounter God so that each person will accept, respond and grow in that relationship.  Every catechetical leader is called to lead catechists to grow in this encounter/experience of God who is the way, the truth and the life (cf. Jn. 14:6).  It is then that those they catechize will also be able to enter more deeply in their relationship with God.

What’s Next

Next week I will begin to explore the role a the catechetical leader and their responsibilities of the overall direction of their program.