Did you see Archbishop Dolan’s column in the most recent Catholic New York? It’s a strong reminder for all Catholics that our formal faith formation doesn’t end the day we receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Actually, ongoing discovery of the Catholic faith and how to live as true disciples is our baptismal right and our duty. The Church is bound to make faith formation available to all of us. Canon Law codifies this in articles 773 through 780. The Catechism of the Catholic Church also affirms this in articles number 4 through 7, right at the very beginning of the catechism.
Every parish is the place where catechesis (faith formation’s formal name) should be offered locally. Just last Saturday, more than 1,000 parish catechetical leaders and catechists came together at Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx for the “CatSkills Forum.” This gathering offered courses in theology, liturgy, and methodology for teaching Catholics of all ages.
Just as importantly, the Forum enabled catechists to consult with one another on the best ways of providing religious education to adults, youth, children and people of all ages with special needs in their parishes. Happily, the Archbishop was with us for the Eucharistic Liturgy, thanking everyone and reflecting on the passage from Matthew 28: 16-20, which concludes with those wonderful words “I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
On Saturday, Oct. 23, there will be another chance to brush up on one’s catechetical skills (that’s where the word CatSkills came from) at the next CatSkills Forum at Sacred Heart Parish in Monroe, N.Y. Here are all the details. Msgr. Edward Weber, vicar of Rockland County and pastor of St. Francis of Assisi in West Nyack, will preside at the Liturgy and we hope that many pastors from our upper counties will be there, too.
Are you interested in learning more about the faith and sharing it with other adults? Would you like to be part of your parish’s ministry to youth? Would you like to become a catechist for children? If you are thinking about this, talk to your pastor and your parish director or coordinator of religious education. Chances are they will be happy to know of your interest in helping them.
After all, more than 100,000 children and youth, plus countless adults, are being formed in the faith through our parish catechetical programs. There’s always a need for more catechists.
And be sure to visit our Archdiocesan Catechetical Office website for all the formation opportunities and events taking place for those who are called to hand on the Faith. That’s you!