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Faith formation – a life-long journey

By Andrew Fernandes, Archdiocesan Catechetical Office

At various stages of your Catholic journey, you would have participated in multiple faith formation engagements. Some Catholics have committed themselves to a continuous edification in the faith. It is a practice that can bring sustenance of, and recommitment to your baptismal promise.

Catholic faith formation is a sanctioned process by which we learn and grow in the Catholic tradition. It is a life-long journey that helps to expand our knowledge of the Church’s doctrines.

It also prepares us for the sacramental rituals, and full participation in the liturgical celebrations, all geared towards a deeper relationship with God, in and through Christ, guided by the Holy Spirit.

To effectively achieve this, catechists and theologians must be well formed and informed. This requires a continuous commitment to their own faith development, paralleled with their own human experiences.

It is within these experiences we see ourselves in light of the scripture, the Church’s traditions, and the secular world. These experiences lend to our interpretations of various manifestations in our everyday lives.

How is the faith passed on? The ability to position our lives in line with our Catholic beliefs is pivotal to the foundation of our individual formation process. “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  Stop doubting and believe” (Jn 20:27).

Although Thomas journeyed with Jesus, he could not relate to what he was experiencing at that moment, and it took more than Jesus’ words to convince him.

Thomas may have been formed and informed but when it mattered, he did not believe.

Witnessing this, perhaps other disciples benefitted from Thomas’ dilemma. They too may have been challenged by what was happening. Jesus’ subsequent actions were necessary for them to believe as well.

This is how faith is genuinely passed on—we catechise by the testament of our living; being examples to those who are looking. They must be able to see, feel, hear, and experience the presence of Christ in us. Only then can they in turn, give true witness of the Catholic faith – a faith in action!

In the Roman Catholic Church, formal catechesis takes place through the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Eucharist (First Communion), Confirmation, and Rites of Christian Initiation (RCIA) for adults.

The sacraments are the faith pillars of the Church through which one can become a full member of the Catholic community. Catholic formation takes place at each sacramental stage with relevant instructions specific to that sacrament.

The sacramental formation environment has a nature of its own, different to the other ministries of formation.

In this Archdiocese, the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office (ACO), is responsible for the developing, organising, and coordinating catechetical faith-formation programmes in parishes and in Catholic schools. It is also the hub for related training and resources for the catechists and school teachers.

The parish priest is the chief catechist of his parish and is responsible for ensuring the implementation of catechetical programmes. He is also responsible for appointing catechists and managing the catechetical environment.

Do you feel called? Become a catechist in your parish today!


Have questions? Contact: afernandes.nvc.aco@gmail.com

Visit the ACO @ catecheticsrc.org

Here are some terms used in catechetical faith formation which you may be familiar with:

Catechesis – According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (§5 CCC), “catechesis is an education in the faith of children, young people, and adults which includes especially the teaching of Christian doctrine imparted, generally speaking, in an organic and systematic way, with a view of initiating the hearers into the fullness of Christian life.”

Catechise – the instructions used to teach or pass on the faith through scripture, traditions, doctrines, and magisterium.

Catechists – Persons who are called and trained to formally teach sacramental programmes. They are responsible for bringing those whom they teach into the fullness of Catholic Christian life.

Catechumens – Persons who have not been previously baptised in any denomination or Christian faith recognised by the Catholic Church and are interested in receiving formal instruction for the preparation of entering the Catholic faith.

Candidate – Anyone wanting to become a member of the faith who has been already baptised in a different Christian faith or denomination, recognised, and validated by the Catholic Church.

Catechumenate – The state or process of preparation for receiving the rites of the Sacraments of Initiation or RCIA.

Photo by Khamkéo Vilaysing on Unsplash