Dear friends and co-travelers on the journey of faith,
This weekend we celebrate Catechetical Sunday. Previous decades, catechesis was understood as merely teaching about faith and doctrines. Therefore, faith was more understood as something to be taught. However, new models of catechesis talk about faith as something “caught” rather than taught. It is the witnessing and life of Christians that facilitate others to “catch” faith. Therefore, catechesis now is not a set of lesson plans and classes, but a process.
According to Bishop Robert Barron, “We are living in a secularized society which continues to squeeze Christianity to the margins… We are losing baptized Catholics at an alarming rate. According to Pew Research, nearly one-in-four Hispanic adults (24%) are now former Catholics and most of them are “nones”, a term used for people with no religious affiliation. Many parents are saddened to report that their children are leaving the Church after preparing for and celebrating initiation sacraments, and after years of Catholic School or parish religion classes. Figures for Baptisms, Church weddings and weekly Mass attendance are down. Those who self-identify as atheists or agnostics or “nones” now make up roughly 23% of the U.S. adult population.”
Our conversations within echo-champers may not change this reality. We will have to listen to the prompting of the spirit and be creative. The Spirit of the Lord that guides us is a Spirit of newness and life. It is not institutions that transmit the message of Christ. Institutions can only give us a framework. If we examine our lives, we will realize, we “caught” faith from someone. Be that someone for others, that is our calling.
We are blessed with an incredibly generous cohort of faithful who give Gospel witness in their homes, schools and workplaces. I take this opportunity to thank the dedicated catechists and teachers who witness as missionary disciples in Baptism Prep Class, Children’s Catechetical Ministry, CLOW- Children’s Liturgy of the Word, Confirmation Prep, EDGE, Life Teen, PIP- Parents in Prayer, RCIA- Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Scripture Study, Sunday Preschool, Vacation Bible Camp, Young Adults, and School.
We cannot sit back and observe and expect things to change. We have to be engaged with goodness and love. It is our witness and engagement with everyone including “nones” inside and outside the walls of the church and across society that will help the faith to be “caught.” If faith is to be ‘caught”, we need to reach out, accompany others, share their struggles, and share the joy of the gospel with them.
Wish you all a blessed Catechetical Sunday!
Thanking you all,