From Angelo Kurbanali in the Office of Youth Ministry, Catechist
Dear young people, you’re well on your way to becoming a fully initiated member of the Church. With this feeling of anticipation, you might be wondering how you can participate in the life of the Church after you’ve been sealed with the Holy Spirit. And if you’re not wondering, maybe you should be. You’re journeying with your catechist, perhaps on a weekly basis. Have you ever wondered if you’re being called to the lay ministry of Catechist?
Pope Francis, on May 11, officially established the ministry for the lay faithful to work with the clergy in order to help undertake “the entire saving mission of the Church to the world” (11, Antiquum Ministerium).
God is calling each of us to different things in our lives and we each have various talents that God gave to us in order to be of service to our Church community. You may very well be a person God wants as a lay catechist.
Throughout the Easter season, Jesus taught us, His disciples, how to love as Christians. Jesus Himself catechised!
One of the most notable things He said was that the greatest love one can have is to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (Jn 15:13). Might He be calling you to lay down your life in service to the Church as a catechist?
Being a lay catechist isn’t simply about how well you know your faith. Knowledge of the faith is one aspect, and so is maturity, humility, fraternity, and hospitality (8, Antiquum Ministerium). Anyone can know all the right answers to doctrinal questions. However, it takes a truly blessed person to live his/her life in such a way that he/she can accompany those whom that person catechises.
As Pope Francis says, the first step to being a catechist is to live your life as a witness to the Good News (6, Antiquum Ministerium). Only after that can the ongoing formation, the study, the teaching, and the accompaniment authentically follow.
Pope Francis emphasises that “fidelity to the past and responsibility to the present are necessary conditions for the Church to carry out her mission in the world” (5, Antiquum Ministerium).
In the same breath, he mentions that genuine relationships with young people, along with creative methodologies, are necessary for authentic catechesis. You’re young; you’re creative; and you’re knowledgeable. Perhaps God might be calling you to be a catechist.
Some ways for you to know whether or not you’re being called are through prayer, self-reflection, and exploration. Talk with God about what you’re feeling in your heart. Take a good, honest look at yourself and determine whether or not you feel this call bubbling inside of you.
Be patient, compassionate, and honest with yourself. Talk with your parents/guardians and ask them what they think. Talk with current catechists and hear the stories of their experiences.
Maybe even sit in on a Confirmation class or two after you’ve already been confirmed. If God is calling you to be a catechist, you’ll know. You may not know when you’d like to know, but God will reveal it to you when the time is right.
If you do eventually determine that God might be calling you to be a catechist, you can find out more information by talking with the catechetical coordinator at your parish or talking with your own catechist. They will help guide you along the path in this new-found journey of yours.
As St Paul says, though there is one body, there are many parts (1 Cor 12:12). Perhaps your part in this Body of Christ is to be a catechist…or not. God might be calling you in other ways, such as to be a lector, an altar server, a hospitality minister, a music minister. Who knows?
If being a catechist is your calling, then all the best to you, peace be with you, and thank you, in advance, for your service!