Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Jacqueline Spaniola was present for the recent International Conference for Diocesan Leaders in Catechesis and Evangelization. Here are her thoughts and notes on the Holy Father’s practical helps in catechesis.
Joe & Linda Bound, Julianne Stanz and myself went to the International Conference for Diocesan Leaders in Catechesis and Evangelization (Sept. 26-28, 2013). Pope Francis gave a Catechetical talk to the 1,600 people who attended the conference from 51 countries. Joe and Linda actually shook hands with Pope Francis.
Joe, Linda and I arrived Sept. 24, we also stayed for the Pilgrimage for Catechists (Sept. 28-29) – the pilgrimage ended with a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square. There were people down the street from the Vatican Square because 100,000 people attended the Mass that ended the Pilgrimage on Sunday at the 10:30 Mass in St. Peter’s Square. We arrived at 7 am to go through security for the Mass. We were able to get into the area of chairs, though we had to look at the large screen to be able to see anything happening on the altar.
Talk on Catechesis by Pope Francis (just some notes)
Do not just work as a Catechist because you like to teach. Being a Catechist is a vocation; it is to live what you bear.
- Catechists must first be familiar with Jesus. Jesus said at the Last Supper – “Stay in my love, remain in me.” Adoration allows us to be seen by God. He looks at us and we look at him in the Tabernacle. We may fall asleep – I do sometimes – that okay because he is still sees you. Keep your friendship with Jesus alive.
- Go out to other people. It is a dual role be united with Jesus and go out to others. I one or the other is missing is it like missing your heart cannot beat. Being a Catechists is a gift. When you are gifted you gift others. You cannot take a percentage of it for yourself, you must give it to others. The gift generates the Love that you give to others. Question to ask: Does my heart beat for Jesus?
- Go to the outskirts. Catechists cannot be afraid, they cannot stay at home. They cannot be a statue in a wax museum, we have enough of those in Rome. Remember that Jesus goes out with us. God precedes us, because is in our brothers and sisters; He is in their soul. You journey with the people. Be one in Christ.