From September to May, weekly classes on the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church are offered for the children of the parish who are students in public school grades 1 to 8. The classes are meant to assist the parents of these children fulfill their responsibility to educate their children in the faith, a responsibility to which they committed themselves when they had their children baptized.
These classes are taught by parishioners, who serve as catechists without pay because they are responding to the call to holiness and service all Christians receive at Baptism; they are not volunteers as they would be if they were involved in such activities as scouting. The parents of the students in the program are invited to join them (as catechists or aides); those who do will be well trained and well supported and will find their involvement in the program rewarding – even if demanding!
Catechists, teachers in religious education programs whose work is grounded in catechisms such as the one published by the Church in 1992, seek to help their students (and their students’ parents) grow in their knowledge and love of God. They work so that their students and their parents may come to know God and his Church better, to strengthen and deepen their relationship with God, to value that relationship, and to make it an essential part of themselves and their lives.
Modern society – with its great scientific and technological advances (all of which, of course, come with challenges) – has little use for mystery, forgetting that all reality is ultimately mysterious and that persons and relationships among them are the most mysterious of all. No one ever fully understands him- or herself or anyone else – including God. Nonetheless, Christians – being human – want to understand as well as they can, and God’s self-revelation (especially in the Bible) and the Tradition which has grown and developed over the twenty centuries of the Church’s existence help them do so. Scripture and Tradition are the foundations of catechesis or religious education.
Parish religious education programs are often called CCD programs. Those letters stand for Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, and represent a significant piece of the Church’s history. In the Late Middle Ages many lay people organized themselves into confraternities to pray together and together to learn more about their faith and put that faith into practice by helping the poor and the sick and teaching children about the Church’s beliefs and practices. This, unfortunately, was one of the causes of the various Protestant Reformations of the sixteenth century – because the clergy were not always comfortable with these confraternities.
When the Church’s bishops met in Rome between 1962 and 1965 for the Second Vatican Council, they issued two documents on the necessary involvement of lay people in the life and work of the Church. The religious education program at Sacred Heart implements these two documents.
We want to offer you the chance to respond to the call of holiness and service all Christians receive at Baptism, by becoming a Catechist in our program. Contact us.