DREs and Parish Leaders, here are a few tips to strengthen your catechists:
Highlight traditional practices of the season in a contemporary way to help catechists “power up” in the Holy Spirit throughout the Lenten season.
Reset the spiritual sense of time: The Church as the Body of Christ is both in time and timeless. Post a related phrase in an area where catechists will see it during Lent. For example: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Do you believe all things, including time, belong to God and that Jesus Christ is present in your life eternally?
Pray in a digital way: Offer catechists options for entering into prayer using an online resource. Include a brief description of the prayer form and how the catechist might use it for personal renewal. Find many helpful resources, including free audio recordings, at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website, USCCB.org.
Fast from being “busy”: Construct the program calendar so that no meetings are scheduled during Lent. Ask catechists to give that time to meditation and prayer instead. Ask families, including catechists, to create one Sabbath evening each week by sitting down to a meal together and talking with the members of their household, including God.
Give consciously out of love: Emphasize that how one thinks about making a donation and about those who will receive it impacts the spiritual fruits of acts of charity. As Pope Benedict XVI said in his 2008 Message for Lent: “Every time when, for love of God, we share our goods with our neighbor in need, we discover that the fullness of life comes from love and all is returned to us as a blessing in the form of peace, inner satisfaction, and joy.”
Examine self in light of Christ: Encourage catechists to participate in the Sunday liturgies when the scrutinies are prayed for those in RCIA. Provide catechists with the prayers ahead of time with an invitation to use the words to examine their own lives in the light of Christ.
Utilizing these Lenten practices to invite catechists to recharge their spiritual lives can support them in being witnesses of Christian discipleship as a way of life all year long.
National Association of Parish Catechetical Directors gathers the wisdom of parish leaders from around the country, serving as the parish catechetical voice within NCEA.
This article was originally published in RTJ/ Creative Catechist February/March 2014.
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