Around 400 people participated in the conference in total – all of them parish DREs (Director of Religious Education), catechists, youth ministers. What struck me most was the seriousness with which everyone took the vocation of catechesis. Many of them give up a week out of the summer for five years in a row in order to follow training for their particular ministry. My guess would be that the catechists who have completed this training are highly skilled and competent, having covered a vast range of extremely relevant, practical and rigorous training. As you can tell, I was very impressed.
It was a far cry from the attitude towards catechesis we face so often: that anyone willing can do it: as long as they have the ‘right resource’ or have some experience in teaching, or are vaguely keen, they fit the bill. Everything at John Bosco pointed in the other direction: catechists need to be set on becoming saints, they need to be deeply knowledgeable of Scripture and doctrine as found in the Catechism, they need excellent knowledge of their audience – how to perceive the signs and stages of conversion, how to win people for Christ and evangelise hearts. As I have said before, if catechising is one of the most important works we do – why do it with less than excellence? God deserves the BEST.
So, there are many, many things I have taken away from the conference – I have deepened in understanding, been inspired with practical ideas, and been generally encouraged and enthused for this wonderful mission. I hope to share some of this in the coming posts! In particular, I want to share about: the ecclesial method of catechesis; how we can ensure Christ is at the centre of our Catechumenate; and teaching Jesus through typology to young people.
Anyone who was at the Conference – would be great to hear from you in the comments! What was your best part?