The importance of lay catechists – December Reflection

Nov 30, 2021 | Monthly Reflection

Let us pray for the catechists, summoned to announce the Word of God: may they be its witnesses, with courage and creativity and in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

When I was in my second year of the Jesuit novitiate, I was missioned to the interior of Guyana, South America. I have to admit that I had no idea where Guyana was. I soon learned however, that this country is of great interest to Pope Francis; and was a key voice in the recent synod on the Amazon. I now understand why the Holy Father would ask us to pray for catechists. I saw firsthand how the lay catechists form the backbone of the Body of Christ, the Church, in Guyana. They generously work to organize the parish communities. They teach the faith, especially to children. They shape their brothers and sisters in the faith of Christ. They study the faith themselves and lead others on the way. What’s more, they do all this with almost no financial resources.

In Guyana, catechists are a necessity for sustaining the life of the Church in the absence of a priest. And catechists are necessary everywhere if the Church is to thrive and grow. How has the faith been handed down for 2000 years? Through the faith, hope, and love of so many faithful men and women through the centuries. Lay catechists have always formed an important, if often unnoticed part of this process. Saint Paul writes to the Romans, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10: 14-15) Through our Baptism, each of us is called and sent by Christ. He calls us to use all of our gifts and talents to creatively witness to the Resurrection of Jesus. Let us thank the catechists who serve and lead. Let us pray for our catechists and for the grace to participate in the gospel call to share our faith.

Timothy Bishop, SJ

Timothy is a Jesuit seminarian in studies at Loyola University Chicago. He is a graduate of Rockhurst High in Kansas City.

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