I have to tell you, it was something of a shock to step back into this cool, rainy country, people… After a month of blistering heat it took me a while to adjust and to bid farewell to summery outfits for another year *sniff*
Since being back (and after overcoming some serious jet lag), I’ve been at the Evangelium conference in Reading, giving a couple of workshops on how to be a brilliant catechist. There were some fantastic young people there, some great keynote lectures, beautiful liturgy… all in all, a wonderfully enjoyable weekend. I loved being able to share some key catechetical principles with other young adults who are catechists in their parishes, but who have never before come across some of these methodological ideas (four dimensions of the Christian life, the goals of catechesis, the five foundational truths).
Young adults, because they are in the midst of establishing careers, making life decisions, and maintaining busy social lives, rarely have the time (or money) to dedicate to serious catechist formation. I am beginning to think that alternatives should be developed for formation of young adults as catechists. Let’s face it: these are people who we really need as catechists. They are extremely effective Confirmation catechists – teenagers will listen to them as they do not yet see them as equivalent to their parents. In the RCIA process, it is compelling to see young adults witnessing to an authentic Christian life (not living together before marriage, etc) – on the whole, I believe that age and background of catechists should more or less mirror the ages and backgrounds of enquirers and catechumens. Although, the need for older, more experienced, wiser catechists in every programme is evident, too.
So, the cogs in my mind are beginning to whir on how we can form more young adults as catechists – especially to ‘grow’ the next generation of catechetical leaders in this country. It is always important to form already existing catechists, but we need to look to the future too. I believe, because the task of catechesis in our Church over the next decades is so urgent, we need the best to become catechists – intelligent, well-formed, inspiring people who live life to the full.