Jesus did not say: “go out and get by.” No, he didn’t say that! Jesus said, “go, I am with you!” This is our beauty and our strength: if we go, if we go to bring the Gospel with love, with true apostolic spirit, with boldness and candour, He walks with us.’ (Pope Francis, Address to Catechists, September 2013).
Catechesis is “an education in the faith of children, young people and adults which… initiates the hearers into the fullness of Christian life” (Prologue, CCC). It is “nothing other than the process of transmitting the Gospel” (General Directory for Catechesis 105). Jesus Himself empowered the Church to continue His mission of proclaiming the Gospel when He said,
“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 behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt. 28:19-20)
This great commission of teaching and forming has traditionally been referred to as catechesis; and Jesus always accompanies us in this task, as He has promised.
The Commission for Catechesis and Formation has a particular responsibility for Sacramental Preparation, and prepares courses, guidelines and training for catechists for Baptism, Confirmation, First Holy Communion and RCIA.
The Commission also prepares catechetical material for those who have drifted away, for whatever reason, from the Sacraments of the Eucharist and of Reconciliation or Confession.
The Commission supports Adult Education in the Diocese, and formation for teachers in Catholic schools. It organises the Newman Lectures on Catholicism and History at UEA each Spring, with additional lectures elsewhere in the Diocese later in the year. More formal study is available in the form of the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies, taught by the Margaret Beaufort Institute.
Formation for parish catechists and those who want to pass on the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ is vital if we want the next generation to understand and grow in their faith.
Annunciation Catechesis prepares catechists for the Diocesan Catechetical Certificate via a study programme “Foundations in Faith for the New Evangelisation” which is undertaken over two years. This course has been running successfully for a few years now, and has helped ordinary parishioners to both grow in faith personally and to be more confident in passing it on.
The course is modular, and study is at home with the benefit of one-to-one tutoring and regular meetings on Zoom. The diocese is keen to support anyone financially to do this course. Restrictions allowing, there is also an annual meeting for all participants in the diocese, whatever stage they are at in the course.
For further details please visit www.theannunciation.org.uk/catechist-training/
Rev Huw Williams (Chair)