The 6 Building Blocks of Catechesis
In everything we do we come back to these goals
On the first day of school, a teacher was glancing over the list of children when she noticed a number after each name, such as 154, 136, or 142.
“Wow! Look at these IQs,” she said. “What a terrific class.” Right away the teacher was determined to work harder with this group than with any she’d ever had.
Throughout the year, she came up with innovative and challenging lessons so as not to bore the class with work that was too easy.
Her plan worked! The class outperformed all the other classes that she taught in the usual way.
Then during the last quarter of the year, she discovered that the numbers had not been IQs after all, but were their locker numbers.
This teacher, within the everyday school setting, had a unique motivation that became the foundation for all she did that year, and it certainly paid great dividends to her students and gave her a joyful feeling of accomplishment.
As catechists, we have built within our very role a foundation that provides a motivating framework, a stimulating mission, and an energizing responsibility. It’s not an underpinning of 154 or 142; it’s a foundation of only six.
Thomas á Kempis once said, “The loftier the building, the deeper must the foundation be laid.” As we minister in catechetics, walking with others on the journey of faith, we seek to lay deep foundations for all the faithful and for our ministry.
In both the General Directory for Catechesis and the National Directory for Catechesis, the Church explains that all we do is realized through six diverse, interrelated tasks:
1. Promote knowledge of the faith
2. Promote knowledge of the meaning of the liturgy and sacraments
3. Promote moral formation in Jesus Christ
4. Teach the Christian how to pray in Christ
5. Prepare the Christian to live in community and to participate actively in the life and mission of the Church
6. Promote a missionary spirit that prepares the faithful to be present as Christians in society.
One of the challenging and stimulating realities about these tasks is, the GDC reminds us, that in all we do, we use two means: the passing on of the gospel message and the experience of the Christian life. It’s not just one or the other; we teach while we learn.
For your reflection
Which task could use more focus in my sessions and how can I do this?
How do my session activities and conversations include both sharing the gospel message and the experience of the Christian life?
These six tasks also apply to the parents and the whole parish. How can I get these parents and parishioners involved with the children?
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