Catechists have a unique call to communicate the beauty of Christ and his Church to students, and in order to do so, must have encountered God in their own relationship with him. This fall, they’ll have an opportunity to cultivate their relationship with God in retreats and an eight-part formation series.
Organized by the Office of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries at the Archdiocese of Denver, the retreat, with four dates at four various locations, will be based on the joyful mysteries. Two of the retreats will be bi-lingual in partnership with Centro San Juan Diego.
According to Jared Staudt, catechetical formation specialist at the archdiocese, the retreat, “Catechizing with Joy: A Retreat for Catechesis,” and the eight-part series, “The Art of Catechesis,” were born out the recognition that “we need more ongoing formation.”
“Put simply, you cannot give what you do not have. The catechist has a unique vocation of sharing the faith and this vocation has to be fostered,” he said. “Catechists must develop a deeper life of prayer, continue learning about the faith, and live out the faith in their daily lives.”
The retreat and course aim to offer an environment of encountering God, Staudt said, along with practical teaching.
“The retreat uses the joyful mysteries to present catechesis as an encounter with God. It visualizes catechesis with the help of Our Lady, reflecting on how we receive God’s message and grace and hand them on to our children,” Staudt said.
“The course focuses on how to teach catechesis, drawing upon the Catechism and the General Directory for Catechesis,” he added. “Both the retreat and course provide formation for our catechists to grow in their relationship with God and to learn to teach more effectively.”
As an aid to the retreat and course, Staudt developed a booklet, “Responding to God’s Invitation: A Guide for Parents and Catechists in Religious Education,” which is broken into three main parts: God’s invitation to us, living out that response and sharing our faith with children.
“The booklet helps parents and catechists to reflect on their relationship with God and how they can help children to develop a stronger relationship with Him,” he said. “It includes Scripture readings, reflection questions and prayers to lead the reader to respond to God’s invitation to share in His divine life. The fundamental premise of the book is that we must have a strong relationship with God in order to make the faith come alive for our children. It looks at issues such as how to pray, how to teach like God, and how to live out what we learn in catechesis.”
The reward of having a personal encounter with God is that the students see the witness of the catechist and the happiness and joy that comes from that experience.
“Catechesis requires a living witness,” Staudt concluded. “The catechist who has accepted God’s truth and grace shows children what it means to meet God and be changed by Him. Catechists witness the happiness and joy that come from a life lived with and through God.”
For information on the dates for the retreat and course, or to register, visit archden.org/eflm/training.