As we continue to discuss the important components of being a catechetical leader, I would like to take one more opportunity to speak of catechist fformation (click here for: Part I and Part II).  In this final part on catechist formation, which is pivotal to the success of a catechist, I would like to focus on how the catechist is called to be an authentic witness and how their primary and fundamental goal is is draw others to Christ.

A Witness

The National Directory For Catechesis (NDC) articulates clearly the importance of the catechist being a witness to Jesus Christ in the Church and in the world (pg. 240).  Formation must include helping them develop an “apostolic zeal” as well as encouraging them to become “evangelizers” (cf. pg. 240).  Formation, therefore, is much more than merely passing on skills for good discipline, lesson planning, use of technology and using different learning styles.  The zeal and evangelical spirit that a catechist brings to the classroom or faith formation environment is the key to the ministry of catechesis.  What people remember is the person more than they remember the particular teaching or means by which something was taught.  It is the catechist who is the linchpin in the catechetical process.  The person of the catechist is the one who brings all the great tools, skills and most importantly a compelling witness of faith to those they catechize.

Leading Others To Christ

The NDC continues: “Since catechists nurture the faith that was implanted by the Holy Spirit in those being catechized, their formation should also include training in catechetical methodology”(pg. 241).  This is more than helping them create a good lesson plan, but helping them see how the method in which they present the material can draw others further into their relationship with God.  “Catechists do not merely instruct their students about Christ; they lead them to him”(NDC241).  This is the heart of the why we catechize – to lead the believer to Him, Jesus Christ who has the words of everlasting life (cf. Jn. 6:68), is the way the truth and the life (Jn. 14:6), and who is all and in all (cf. Col. 3:11).

Ongoing Process

The formation of catechists is an ongoing process that can, in part, be accomplished through the certification proccesses that various diocese.  However, it is something that must always be ongoing and lifelong no matter how many courses or classes one has taken.

Your Thoughts?

What are your thoughts on catechist formation.  Anything you would have emphasized regarding this topic that was not covered?