7 Steps Toward an Evangelizing Catechesis

steps-evangelizing-catechesis

What does an evangelizing catechesis look like?

In my last post, I wrote how the first stage of the catechetical process should be about conversion.

This is how were made to understand God’s revelation. Faith first, then grow that faith through deeper education.

It doesn’t work well if you educate without faith. But this is what we’ve been doing for a long time…long before Vatican II.

In missionary catechesis (and the RCIA), conversion happens in the pre-catechumenate. So, what if we used the pre-catechumenate to structure our evangelizing catechesis?

And…what luck! The Church threw us a bone here. Let’s take a look.
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Is This Catechesis for the New Evangelization?

new-evangelization-catechesis1

A new catechesis that’s the right fit for the current situation.

Conversion is an essential element in the whole catechetical process.

But conversion isn’t automatic after Baptism. It requires evangelization.

The Church’s process of evangelization works, but only when people follow the stages in a certain order.

And that’s not likely to happen in our current catechetical situation.

But  hope is on the way. The Church is proposing a new evangelization. And, with a new evangelization comes a new catechesis–one that doesn’t need to work within the stages.

With a little help from the General Directory for Catechesis, I’ll explain what catechesis for the new evangelization should look like.
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The Truth About the Priest Shortage (And How Catechists Can Help)

Yesterday I saw a site called Why Not Priest? It’s a great looking site with a simple design. It has engaging videos on the priesthood and a place to ask questions about your calling.

Here’s one of the videos featured on the home page of Why Not Priest? called “Go Forth.”

One thing most priests cite as being instrumental in the development of their vocations was another priest, or adult associated with the Church, take an active interest in their calling.

And this is related to why there aren’t many men answering the call to the priesthood.

Fostering priestly vocations

A few weeks ago, my 9 year-old son told us he wanted to be a priest.

This has been an on-again/off-again thing since he was about five. He goes back and forth. Right now he’s pretty serious about it, though.

I don’t know what will happen with this. Whether he actually becomes a priest or not is mostly out of my hands.
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St. John Bosco: The Best Catechetical Conference You’ve Never Heard Of

bosco-conferenceThe Los Angeles Religious Education Congress has jumbo-trons.

The Mid-Atlantic Congress has a cool, flash-powered website.

But the St. John Bosco Conference held from July 17-21 is belle of the ball when it comes to practical, useable teaching on becoming a life-changing, evangelizing catechist.

What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of it? I’m not surprised. It’s smaller and not as well publicized as those others, but it’s really the best national catechetical conference you’ll ever attend.
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Could Younger Confirmation Ages Ruin Religious Education?

confirmation-checkbox

Confirmation is not just another check in the box!

Middle school is the worst time to confirm kids.

They’re hormonal, disagreeable, argumentative.

They’re also trying to figure out their own place in the world and transitioning from blindly accepting the faith of their parents to understanding what they themselves truly believe.

Which often means they’re unsure of what they believe and their faith is shaky.

But is teenage Confirmation propping up the current religious education system? And, if it wasn’t there, would childhood religious education collapse?
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Encountering Christ: The Role of the Catechist/Evangelist

encounter-jesus-catechistMass last weekend was like old home week for me.

There were at least ten of my former RCIA students there.

It’s always great to see them still going to Mass. They’re like my spiritual children.

And it’s been five or six years for some of them.

My first reaction to this is usually to think what a great job I did converting them. The second is to thank God for working in their lives so deeply.

I wish it was the other way around. Hopefully some day it will be.

The role of the catechist

The truth is though, it’s God who does the converting, not me…not us. He gives people faith and the strength to continue practicing year after year. But as a catechist, you do have a very important role.
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Michael Marchand: Catholic Student Ministry Podcast

catholic-student-ministry-logoI’m not a youth minister. Just wanted to establish that out right up front.

I understand what to do…in theory. I just don’t quite know how to make it happen.

When I was struggling with doing youth ministry at my parish, I searched for a Catholic resource that would tell me how to do the basics.

I didn’t find much.

There were a lot of protestant resources, but nothing on the Catholic side.

So I was really excited when I listened to my friend Michael Marchand’s new project, the Catholic Student Ministry Podcast.

This is the Catholic youth ministry resource I needed but couldn’t find. It’s excellent!
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The 5 Stages of Evangelization and Why You Need to Ignore Them

christ-mission-evangelizationIn his parting words to the apostles, Jesus left instructions that would become the essential mission of the Church.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19-20)

Make disciples (evangelize), baptize, and then teach the Deposit of Faith (catechize). This is the process for fulfilling Christ’s mission of evangelization.

In fact, the Church has identified five stages to incrementally lead a person through this process.

The problem is, the process is all mucked up. You can’t count on it being done in the right order…or even at all. And, to make matters worse, unless you follow this process, accomplishing the mission is very difficult. That’s why there’s so little faith.

The five stages of evangelization are extremely important, but they’re useless in most catechetical situations. You’ll have to ignore them…but not forget them!

By intimately understanding the stages, you can use them in a different way to accomplish Christ’s mission. Here’s how.

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How to Teach What Your Students Need to Hear

evangelization-listeningThink about how Jesus dealt with people.

He took the time to listen to them.

He asked them what they desired.

He spoke to their hearts and changed their lives.

Evangelization depends on you knowing what makes your students tick.

You can’t have the same insight into their lives as God, but you can listen to them. When you understand what’s going on inside, you can tailor your catechesis to meet their needs.

Here’s a story where listening made all the difference.
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The 4 Reasons Christ Was Born

christ-reasons-for-birthWhy was Christ born? To die for our sins, right?

That’s true, but I think it’s an incomplete view of Christ’s life and mission.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraphs 456-460, gives us four reasons why the Word become Flesh.

While you might have guessed the first three, the last one might surprise you…even seem a bit blasphemous!

But that one gives you the ultimate reason Christ came to earth and the true goal of the Christian life.
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