One of the great joys I have is that of teaching catechists about the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. Actually, it would be more accurate to say I am facilitating since this is a Level II Catechist Formation online course on the Catechetical Office’s iEcho platform.
The catechists commit themselves to four weeks of reading, studying, reflecting, and then writing on themes of life and the dignity of the human person; the call to family, community and participation; rights and responsibilities; the option for the poor and vulnerable; the dignity of work and the right of workers; solidarity; and care for God’s creation. These are heady topics for people who are taking this course at the end of a long work day; they are often posting late into the night.
Of course, they are committed to life from conception to natural death, but one student also cites the connection between the rights of workers and the plight of temporary workers, who are not eligible for benefits like health insurance from their employers. Another brings up the matter of hunger. The Catholic Worker movement has caught another’s attention and admiration. Someone else highlighted solidarity with Catholics and other Christians in many countries where they suffer discrimination and worse. I see in these catechists’ writings their indignation at the betrayal of human rights and their understanding of the urgency to shine the light of Catholic Social Teaching on our world. Am I bragging about these students? You may sure that I am!
On Saturday, March 8, our parish catechists will gather for their annual Liturgy and Communion Breakfast. Bishop Gerald Walsh, vicar general of the Archdiocese, will be the principal celebrant of the Mass and Rev. Arthur Mastrolia will be the homilist. I hope my students will be there so that I can see them face to face and thank them for their dedication. If you are a catechist, I hope you’ll be there, too.
By the way, we’ll be offering the course again in July. Visit our Catechist Formation website for information about this and other courses.