Catechist Corner

It's all about sharing the faith.

He is Risen! Alleluia!

I have a confession to make. I’ve never been to an Easter Vigil Mass before. Can you believe it? All my life, Easter has always been an Easter morning sort of thing. I can now honestly say that I had no idea what it is that I was missing!! The Easter Vigil was one of the most beautiful Masses I’ve ever been to and that is just one of the many blessings that I’ve received by joining the parish RCIA team this year.

RCIA is a whole different animal, isn’t it? While I understand the importance of catechizing individuals of all ages, I never really appreciated the difference between working with the parish youth and working with adults. As you all know, catechizing youth is generally structured with focusing on one broad theme for the entire year. In my case, the 6th Grade curriculum is primarily focused on the Bible, comparing the Old and New Testaments in an effort to better understand Salvation History and how it connects between the two collection of books. In RCIA, it’s a much broader approach. You have to try to share as much of 2000+ years of Scripture and Tradition in one year.

What seemed like an impossible task, has proven to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It has not only been a privilege to follow Christ’s command to “make disciples”, but the discussions are so much more profound at this level. You can explore topics in much greater detail, helping foster a deeper understanding. Additionally, those discussions have helped me develop my own faith further by forcing me to contemplate some of the topics and questions in a way that I have never done before.

But there is something else that is uniquely special about RCIA … the Easter Vigil. The reward at the end of the program, not only for the candidate or catecumen, but also for the catechist. It’s not like sharing the faith with youth, which has its own rewards; but you get to witness your ministry bear fruit right before your very eyes. I was able to witness the rebirth of an individual through Baptism, who was then fortified by the Holy Spirit through Confirmation and unified with Christ through First Holy Communion; and the Holy Spirit did it in part through me. I have been truly blessed!

Until next time, keep sharing the faith!

The Game of Life

Hey!  You guys may not remember me.  I’m the Catechist that used to post on this blog.  It’s been how long?  Oh yeah, a month and a half.  I’m embarrassed by the fact that I haven’t posted in so long.  Life got a little bit crazy for me in December.  Work picked up as we neared the end of the year, plus Advent and Christmas time always get busy with things happening at the parish, preparing for time with family and buying gifts.  Additionally, it’s gotten only crazier in January.  Oh, before I forget … a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

So what’s been going on you might ask?  Besides all the things at work that would bore you, I’ve been busy working on Religious Education stuff.  My classes have been going well.  In my 6th Grade class, we’ve discussed wisdom, focusing on individuals like King Solomon.  I was able to use one of my favorite Old Testament stories (1 Kings 3:16-28) to show wisdom in action.  It was great to see their reactions as I read parts of the story and stopped for impressions.  We’ve also discussed some of the prophets that foretold of the coming of the Messiah, like Isaiah & Zechariah.  I think the differences of how the Messiah was described were a bit tough for them to grasp.  With those topics, we wrapped up the formal curriculum around the Old Testament.

This week, we moved into the New Testament, exploring parts of the Gospels in a little more detail.  We got to focus on one of my favorite New Testament stories, “The Boy Jesus in the Temple” (Luke 2:41-52).  Oddly enough, the prior week I got asked the question if Jesus knew he was God from the time he was born.  I referred to this passage to help express my opinion.  As we reviewed this story, I chose to focus on Luke 2:51.  We discussed the significance of the fact the Jesus was “obedient” to his parents.  I always find it such a powerful example that Jesus, who is God, was obedient to His human parents.

On top of my 6th Grade lessons, I had the opportunity to present at RCIA this past week.  My topic was “The Sacraments of Healing”.  As much as I felt comfortable with my knowledge around the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I still felt that this needed to be spot on, so I did a lot of work with the Catechism and some other resources to help make sure I got it right.  Additionally, I had never done much work around the Anointing of the Sick, so this gave me an opportunity to increase my own knowledge as well.  I felt very good about my presentation and our catechumen asked some insightful questions which was a signal to me that my presentation was giving him reason to think.

On top of that, I’m also working with my CRE and fellow catechists in developing a plan for our 6th Grade Retreat that will be happening in early February.  My CRE provided me the framework and I helped build out a more detailed discussion plan.  The theme of the retreat will be the Ten Commandments.  Lastly, I’ve been methodically working on my pastor to allow me to create a Facebook page for our parish.  After months of my pastor not having time to focus on it, we met today and he agreed that we needed to do it.  And just like in the business world, the person who has the idea gets the project.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m very excited about doing this.  It will be a great opportunity to stay connected to parishioners beyond the Sunday Liturgy, but for it to be successful, it needs constant focus.  Please pray for me as I deal with whatever the game of life throws my way.

Until next time, keep sharing the faith.

1 Kings 3:16-28 (Douay-Rheims)
View in: NAB RSVCE Vulg
16Then there came two women that were harlots, to the king, and stood before him:
17And one of them said: I beseech thee, my lord, I and this woman dwelt in one house, and I was delivered of a child with her in the chamber.
18And the third day, after that I was delivered, she also was delivered, and we were together, and no other person with us in the house, only we two.
19And this woman's child died in the night: for in her sleep she overlaid him.
20And rising in the dead time of the night, she took my child from my side, while I thy handmaid was asleep, and laid it in her bosom: and laid her dead child in my bosom.
21And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold it was dead: but considering him more diligently when it was clear day, I found that it was not mine which I bore.
22And the other woman answered: It is not so as thou sayest, but thy child is dead, and mine is alive. On the contrary she said: Thou liest: for my child liveth, and thy child is dead. And in this manner they strove before the king.
23Then said the king: The one saith, My child is alive, and thy child is dead. And the other answereth: Nay, but thy child is dead, and mine liveth.
24The king therefore said: Bring me a sword. And when they had brought a sword before the king,
25Divide, said he, the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.
26But the woman whose child was alive, said to the king, (for her bowels were moved upon her child,) I beseech thee, my lord, give her the child alive, and do not kill it. But the other said: Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.
27The king answered, and said: Give the living child to this woman, and let it not be killed, for she is the mother thereof.
28And all Israel heard the judgment which the king had judged, and they feared the king, seeing that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment.
Luke 2:41-52 (Douay-Rheims)
View in: NAB RSVCE Vulg
41And his parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the pasch,
42And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast,
43And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not.
44And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance.
45And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him.
46And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions.
47And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers.
48And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
49And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father's business?
50And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them.
51And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart.
52And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.
Luke 2:51 (Douay-Rheims)
View in: NAB RSVCE Vulg
51And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart.

Me? RCIA? Are you sure??

RCIASo I got a call.  It was a call I saw coming but was not looking forward to.  It came nonetheless.  It seems that my pastor and my CRE recommended me to our Director of RCIA as a possible addition to the RCIA team.  The reason I saw it coming was that my CRE mentioned that she was hoping to get me more involved in the parish and said “maybe RCIA”.  I guess I’ve made a few fans over the last year of teaching catechesis.

Now one might ask why I would not be looking forward to such a call.  For me, it was intimidation.  Similar to my initial discernment for becoming a catechist, I didn’t think I was qualified to teach adults.  It’s one thing to teach 6th graders.  I can anticipate most questions and respond to most of what they throw my way.  Adults?  Not so much.

My primary concern was that adults can obviously pose more difficult questions and I feared getting into a debate over theology.  While I’m comfortable in my faith, I’m not the best debater; so I wasn’t sure I was the best one for the job. As I digested the information on the answering machine, it reminded me of another blogger who experienced the opposite type of request.  Christian from Smaller Manhattans was an RCIA catechist who was asked to teach a 6th grade class.  I remember him saying that he wasn’t all that excited at the prospect of switching groups, but he quickly began to love teaching the 6th grade.  While I was adding RCIA versus switching, I started to wonder if my experience would be similar to Christian’s.

It’s funny how the Holy Spirit works.  I got a message on a Monday and was supposed to meet with the director after Mass on the coming Sunday.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it all week long.  With prayer, intimidation became curiosity and curiosity turned into excitement, all before even having met with the director.  It didn’t take long for him to convince me to come to the next session to observe.

Two days later, I was sitting around a table with 3 other catechists and one catechumen.  Everyone was very welcoming and I felt quite comfortable for a fly on the wall.  I was there to observe as one catechist presented on the faith topic of that particular session and the other catechists offered additional insights.  All I can say is that for an observer, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut!!  I participated like I was a veteran of the group even though I had not prepared to do so.  If felt natural and it felt right.  The team is a great team with everyone bringing a slightly different perspective on how to “live” the faith.  The dialogue was insightful and I learned quite a bit myself.

So guess what.  I’m a RCIA catechist as well now.  I find myself looking forward to the next session with excitement and eagerness.  That’s a good sign, right?  I’m thankful for the wisdom of both my pastor and my CRE, because if they hadn’t initiated this, I don’t think it would have ever happened.

Until next time, keep sharing the faith!

1 Kings 3:16-28 (Douay-Rheims)
View in: NAB RSVCE Vulg
16Then there came two women that were harlots, to the king, and stood before him:
17And one of them said: I beseech thee, my lord, I and this woman dwelt in one house, and I was delivered of a child with her in the chamber.
18And the third day, after that I was delivered, she also was delivered, and we were together, and no other person with us in the house, only we two.
19And this woman's child died in the night: for in her sleep she overlaid him.
20And rising in the dead time of the night, she took my child from my side, while I thy handmaid was asleep, and laid it in her bosom: and laid her dead child in my bosom.
21And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold it was dead: but considering him more diligently when it was clear day, I found that it was not mine which I bore.
22And the other woman answered: It is not so as thou sayest, but thy child is dead, and mine is alive. On the contrary she said: Thou liest: for my child liveth, and thy child is dead. And in this manner they strove before the king.
23Then said the king: The one saith, My child is alive, and thy child is dead. And the other answereth: Nay, but thy child is dead, and mine liveth.
24The king therefore said: Bring me a sword. And when they had brought a sword before the king,
25Divide, said he, the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.
26But the woman whose child was alive, said to the king, (for her bowels were moved upon her child,) I beseech thee, my lord, give her the child alive, and do not kill it. But the other said: Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.
27The king answered, and said: Give the living child to this woman, and let it not be killed, for she is the mother thereof.
28And all Israel heard the judgment which the king had judged, and they feared the king, seeing that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment.
Luke 2:41-52 (Douay-Rheims)
View in: NAB RSVCE Vulg
41And his parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the pasch,
42And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast,
43And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not.
44And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance.
45And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him.
46And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions.
47And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers.
48And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
49And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father's business?
50And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them.
51And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart.
52And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.
Luke 2:51 (Douay-Rheims)
View in: NAB RSVCE Vulg
51And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart.