Not to long ago Pope Benedict gave a brief address on the importance of sound catechesis to a group of Indian bishops on their ad limina visit.  He said the following:

Within the Church, believers’ first steps along the way of Christ must always be accompanied by a sound catechesis that will allow them to flourish in faith, love and service. Some of you have told me of the challenges you face in this regard, and I support you in your commitment to provide quality formation in this area. Recognizing that catechesis is distinct from theological speculation, priests, religious and lay catechists need to know how to communicate with clarity and loving devotion the life-transforming beauty of Christian living and teaching, which will enable and enrich the encounter with Christ himself. This is especially true of the preparation of the faithful to meet our Lord in the sacraments.

I think what the pope is trying to say is that a person who receives sound catechesis will be more prone to have a flourishing of faith, love and service.  I think too often in catechetical circles the desire is for kids, youth and adults to respond by “doing” something.  Pope Benedict is clearly going beyond that and sharing that if a flourishing of faith,love and service are to occur it should begin with sound catechesis.

Sound catechesis is not synonymous with ‘content only’ presentations.  Pope Benedict makes that clear when he said that the catechist needs “to communicate with clarity and loving devotion the life-transforming beauty of Christian living and teaching which will enable and enrich the encounter with Christ himself.”  Therefore, what we are conveying is life-transforming and ought to stir up within those we catechize a greater devotion, love and desire for relationship with Jesus.

What are ways you are communicating and fostering “sound catechesis” in your parish?

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