Totally Catholic Youth Ministers Lounge

Are you in youth ministry and you've had it with crazed parents? Rollin' your eyes at the pastoral council? Tired of administration work? Love youth? Love the Church? Appalled at parish politics? Looking for some good games? For a creative ways to teach a lesson for Religious Ed? Just need a place to veg out and say "phew! Someone outside of the parish to talk to!"? Grab y'r Starbucks, turn the computer away from the staff's eyes, grab a seat on a donated dusty couch and let it all go.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Ecclesial Method: A Proven Plan for Catechesis

As youth ministers, it is part of our responsibility to do Catechesis. It is one of the 8 components (Renewing the Vision) and in all reality, we cannot inform our students that we are trying to evangelize without the content that catechesis provides.

In his book "The Mystery We Proclaim" (see book on left side) Monsignor Kevane gives us a definition "Catechesis is the transmission of God's word to invite people to personal faith".

Wow, there is so much in this book I'm having a hard time keeping this short


Why is catechesis so important? Why this series on the Ecclesial Method? If you are 40 and under you have to realize how crummy your own religious education was growing up. It's a joke that most of us make, but what is not funny is the reality that there was a deliberate effort to undermine the transmission of the faith to thousands, even millions of us growing up. So, we have been left with an anemic faith and an "American Catholicism" that thinks it is independant from Rome. ""Well the Church says...but I think/believe/feel".

It is important because it reminds us that we can have security that it is God who initiates. It is God who comes after us crazy, stubborn sinners. It bonds us to the Church and when we teach, we must be faithful to the Church and her teachings. It is not in our "right" to decide what is right and what is wrong. If you remember, that's how Adam and Eve got into trouble.

No, our choice is to choose the Truth and we cannot take that away from the students we work with. It is not our place to decide what is true and teach it. It is only our place to present the Church's teaching and let them choose it. It just may be a wonderful coincidence that we are able to give testimony to the teachings of the Church.

The goals, as Kevane lays out are easy to remember: 5 C's: Conversion, Community, Content, Contemplation and Commitment.

Conversion: This would be the main goal, and as we know it is a life long process.
Community: "...has the responsibility of welcoming them into an environment where they can live as fully s possibly what they have learned" (Pope John Paul II)
Content: Two words: Be Faithful. Seriously. Read above paragraph
Contemplation: Kevane teaches us that "Awakening those who participate in our programs to the Transcendent as a lived experience must be a goal...While liturgy is the source and summit of Christian life, the quality of our participation in and profit from its celebration is linked to the depth of our prayer life". There is the learning, then there is the praying of it.
Commitment: And then there is the living of it.

In the days ahead, Emily and I hope to pass along to you not only the theory known as the Ecclesial Method, but also many practical tips of how to put these parts into your work.

What we cannot loose is that we are fortunate to be called to serve God and his young people. With this call comes a responsibility that we can not escape. Souls are in our hands and we have to do all we can to invite them and get them to heaven.

Do good work!!

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