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Pope: Catechists are evangelizers who transmit the Eucharist they live

Catechists are evangelizers who live from the celebration of the Eucharist and feel more vividly the passion to transmit the faith with the creativity and drive of the Holy Spirit.  “The privileged place of catechesis is precisely the Eucharistic celebration, where brothers and sisters come together to discover more and more the different ways of God's presence in their lives.”

The Pope made the remark on Friday to some 80 delegates of the European bishops’ conferences who are responsible for catechesis.  They participated in a meeting on "Catechesis and Catechists for the New Evangelization", promoted by the Vatican Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.

Recalling the International Eucharistic Congress which he concluded on Sunday in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, the Pope said that the commitment of catechists can be greatly effective in the work of evangelization if they keep their gaze fixed on the Eucharistic mystery. 

Faith in the concreteness of daily life

The Pope recalled how Jesus, who had arranged everything for the Passover, sent his disciples saying, "Go into the city".  “Christians, preparing to celebrate the culmination of the mystery of faith, are invited to go first "into the city", to meet people busy with their daily commitments.” 

Catechesis, the Holy Father said, is not an abstract communication of theoretical knowledge of formulas to be memorized, but is the mystagogical [mysteries of faith] experience of those who learn to meet their brothers and sisters where they live and work, because they themselves have met Christ, who has called them to become missionary disciples. The Pope said the heart of catechesis is to stress that “the risen Jesus Christ loves you and never abandons you”. “We should never tire of repeating this in various stages of the catechetical journey.”

This is why, the Pope said, he instituted the ministry of catechist in May, for which the initiation rite is under preparation.  Catechists, he said, are witnesses who live from the celebration of the Eucharist and place themselves at the service of the Christian community, to support the deepening of faith in the concreteness of daily life. They tirelessly proclaim the Gospel of mercy, create the necessary bonds of welcome and closeness to better appreciate the Word of God and to celebrate the Eucharistic mystery by offering the fruits of good works.

Pope’s First Communion

Here, the Holy Father fondly recalled the two catechists who prepared him for First Communion, with whom he continued his relationship as a priest and later with the surviving one as a bishop.  He felt great respect and gratitude almost like a veneration for the women and a nun.  The Pope said he cherished this experience, accompanying them to the end of their lives, both of them.  He also attended the nun’s last moments.   

Creative evangelization

Evangelization, the Pope clarified, is never a mere repetition of the past.  It is the creativity of the Holy Spirit, that calls for knowing how to listen to the people to whom one is proclaiming, to their culture, their history, not superficially or with pre-packaged answers, heart, attitude and face.  It calls for listening, even and above all to the unexpressed languages, with the Word of God, with Jesus Christ, the living Gospel.

Europe

This, he stressed, is the most urgent task of the Church among the peoples of Europe.  “Christian tradition of the continent,” the Pope said, “must not become a historical relic, otherwise it is no longer ‘tradition’!” Catechesis is a tradition that is lived from heart to heart, from mind to mind, life to life, the Pope said, urging catechists in their task with the passion, drive and creativity of the Holy Spirit.

 
 
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    23 Sept 2021 - Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest LECTIONARY: 452 FIRST READING: Hag 1:1-8 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest: “Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord.” PSALM: 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b Response: The Lord takes delight in his people. Sing to the LORD a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in their maker, let the children of Zion rejoice in their king. Let them praise his name in the festive dance, let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp. For the LORD loves his people, and he adorns the lowly with victory. Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy upon their couches; Let the high praises of God be in their throats. This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia. GOSPEL: Luke 9:7-9 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen. Herod said, “John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him. Source: Archdiocese of Mumbai official website (https://www.archdioceseofbombay.org/)
     
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