While I was growing up, my life was filled with both adults and friends who had a holy impact on my faith development. My Catholic parish community both evangelized me and catechized me.
The Gift of Community
Long before I ever knew there was a fifth task of catechesis — that of preparing the Christian “to live in community and to participate actively in the life and mission of the Church” (National Directory of Catechesis, 20) — I was influenced by it! My childhood was surrounded by many good Catholics. My parents brought me to church for Sunday Mass and drove me to a zillion church-related events and meetings. My parish-based Catholic school teachers taught my religion classes.
Later, in my high school days, I met many parish adults who radiated the joy of our faith. There was Ray, a guidance counselor and an avid runner. His on-fire faith was as bright as his running shoes. There was the friendliness of Sr. Marcie who taught me about praying with Scripture. Phil and Audrey, and Charlie and Evelyn, modeled dedicated Christian marriages and gave countless hours supporting a youth ministry that drew me and hundreds of teens to retreats and meetings every year. Fr. Larry was a beacon — and a rather youthful priest himself — in his first priestly assignment after ordination. His love for God motivated everything he did.
Those youthful years introduced me to the love of God and the purpose of the Church. And I am forever grateful for those associations and friendships that deepened my love for Christ and for the Christian mission. Ever since I have sought to be both a community builder and an active participant in every parish I’ve attended.
How about you? As we approach Easter, whom might you be grateful for? Here at Catechist, we’re thankful for people like you who touch thousands of lives every week in your catechetical mission.
Here are some features here at Catechist.com that I suggest you read:
Sr. Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND, author of The Six Tasks of Catechesis, shares insights from her book on the importance of community for children and young
people. Read “Education for Community Life.”
Lisanne Jensen reports on the big impact that summertime vacation Bible schools can have in parishes. It’s great for evangelization outreach plus creating positive connections between its volunteers, participants, families, and the local Catholic community. See “The Community-Building Power of VBS.”
Susan Kay focuses on a unique aspect of Catholic community life in her feature discussing ecumenical gatherings with other Christian churches. Read “That All May Be One.”
Wishing you a joyous Easter!
Pat Gohn, MA, is the editor of Catechist magazine.
This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, March, 2018.