Blessing Our Own Formation

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by Mary McEntee McGill

Our roles in catechetics have changed over the years. Decades ago, lay parish leaders of religious education and catechists primarily were faithful volunteers willing to give of their time and energies to assist in helping children learn about Jesus throughout the school year. Today, men and women are trained to be pastoral leaders, directors of religious education, and catechists. Their own faith formation is as important as that of the people to whom they minister.

Encouraging our continuing growth in religious education, the Church provides many resources for understanding our roles. Today in our prayer we will look at the Six Dimensions of Adult Faith Formation given to us in the document Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us: A Pastoral Plan for Adult Faith Formation in the United States, from the U.S. Catholic bishops. In our prayer, we look upon these dimensions and our own growth in ministry.

Reading: Luke 24:13-35 (the road to Emmaus)

Leader: If we listen, the Lord speaks to us, calling us to open our eyes and rejoice in his presence. The bishops offer six dimensions of adult faith formation that can increase our awareness of God’s presence in our work and strengthen our growth in the ministry of catechesis. We can become so excited that our hearts burn within us!

The First Dimension, Our Knowledge of the Faith: We thank the Lord, the Church, and those who have taught us and teach us now in understanding Scripture and the Traditions and teachings of the Catholic Church.

(Encourage the group to recognize those who provide them knowledge of the Catholic faith: the bishop, the pastor, and you in your role to form their abilities to serve the Church.)

The Second Dimension, Our Liturgical Life: We thank the Church for the joy we share in our liturgical events. We ask for a growing understanding of the Eucharist and the other Sacraments. Lord, help us to make liturgy a strong teacher and a form of empowerment in our understanding of faith.

(Can the group identify and share an occasion of education and understanding that the liturgy made possible?)

The Third Dimension, Our Moral Formation: We thank the Lord for giving us the commandment to love one another as he loves us. We have been called to understand the dignity and responsibility within ourselves and others. Lord, form in us strong consciences to guide us in our actions.

(Ask the group if there are areas here for which they want to pray.)

The Fourth Dimension, Our Prayer: We thank the Lord for these opportunities to pray as a small community. Lord, help us to understand the importance of our communication with you and with one another in our traditional prayers, in our spiritual reflections, and in the personal sharing of our faith.

(Ask a volunteer in the group to share a deeply moving and/or meaningful prayer experience.)

The Fifth Dimension, Communal Life: We thank the Lord for giving us the opportunity to share our faith with others. Jesus says, “My yoke is easy, my burden is light.” Thank you, Lord, for others with whom we can share the challenges of our ministry. In them, you make our yoke easy and our burden light.

(Ask the group to identify individuals who support them most in their ministry as catechists.)

The Sixth Dimension, Our Missionary Spirit: The Lord has called us to serve. We ask you, Lord, for your help in inviting others to grow in faith.

(Ask those in the group if there are others for whom they would like to pray.)

Leader: We come before you, Lord, servants in your mission of catechetics. Help us as we work to grow in our knowledge of faith, as we celebrate our liturgical life, as we strengthen our moral formation, as we deepen our prayer, as we build up our communal life, and as we cultivate our missionary spirit.

All: Amen.

Mary has professionally served parishes and dioceses for more than 40 years and continues to enjoy catechetics in Dallas, TX. She is the author of Stories to Invite Faith Sharing (Resource Publications).

Copyright 2012, Bayard, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, redisseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of Bayard, Inc.

This article was written by the Catechist Staff and appeared in Catechist magazine, February 2012.

Image Credit: Shutter Stock 538651057

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