As we hear this week’s scripture texts speaking of the Faith and the immensity of the power of faith, I return to the recent conference.
Undoubtedly the highlight of the International Congress on Catechesis was the session on catechesis by Pope Francis. If any of catechists are flagging, then bring in a laptop top to the RCIA team meeting. Invite anyone involved, welcomers, sponsors, the tea maker and let them watch Youtube and the Pope’s entrance and session on catechesis.
His entrance was amazing: a visible living story of pure joy. We have a pope with a real humble humanity who loves people. His entrance must have taken 20 minutes, as he entered the Paul VI hall and greeted everyone he passed. He took time to walk from side to side of the aisle, so that he passed very section of the vast hall. Shaking hands that were thrust at him, carefully looking at photo’s, books, national memorabilia, thoughtfully engaging in conversation when the need arose: it was clear he was being petitioned for personal causes; but he took it all in with great dignity, humility and sheer joy. It was wonderful to watch the priests make contact with him and to see how moved they were by a firm handshake or a hold on their shoulder.
The whole assembly was ready for his talk. They loved it when he said being a catechist is a vocation, not the working as a catechist. He stressed the role of witness in the life of the catechist. How it is built on love, a love that can’t be bought in shops, even in Rome!
The essence of Pope’s Francis catechesis was about faith, just as this Sunday’s gospel speaks of the essentialness and enormity of the power of faith. He spoke of how faith grows: by a personal encounter with Christ, which will lead us to be Christ centred, and lead us to go out and encounter others.
- This is the goal of catechesis and the task of all involved in RCIA.
- This week explore with the Team their faith , the highs and the lows.
- Sharing of faith stories with an enquirer is one way to help discern if they are ready for admittance into the catechumenate.
- Discuss what faith entails with your catechumens. This Gospel offers a great opening for the sharing of faith stories. Don’t forget to look out for those who are doubting their faith.
- Read the text of Pope Francis’s catechesis and share with the team. It is on the Vatican website www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/speeches/2013/september (or go to events on the Vatican website).
- If you have any suitable faith stories, perhaps your catechumens would give a testimony.