I would like to borrow a thought from Fr. Bloom. He writes, many years ago, in England, three men were pouring into a trough a mixture of water, sand, lime, and other ingredients. A passer-by asked them what they were doing. The first said, "I am making mortar." The second: "I am laying bricks." But the third said, "I am building a cathedral." They were doing the same thing, but each looked at it differently. And what a difference that made! We can see something similar in the way people relate to their parish, why they give. One person says, "Oh! All they do down there is ask for money." The second person replies, "Well, you have to pay the bills." But the third person says, "I am building the Body of Christ."
Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to this mission as a community of faith. Each one of us is a catechist. There are a good number of people who volunteer to teach our faith to our young people. We recognize them and we thank them for their generosity.
Last year we used Family of Faith for religious education. Due to COVID-19, once a month, we had a religious education program for the entire family. Then parents taught the class for the rest of the month at home. Parents mentioned it was a great opportunity to refresh their faith, but it was a little too much to have class at home. So this year, we are going to have a religious education program at St. Anthony every week, but at the same time, we are going to have every first Wednesday of the month for the entire parish.
Whenever we hear about evangelization, we automatically think about going out to knock at someone’s door. New Evangelization is not about knocking on someone’s door to preach to them. It is about relearning our faith. I went to a seminary for fifteen years, after my ordination, and I cannot stop learning. I need to keep learning to share my faith with others. It is not only true just for priests and deacons, but it is the same for all of us.
Pope Francis wrote an Apostolic Letter, “Antiquum Ministerium” Instituting the Ministry of Catechist. In his letter, he says, “The role played by catechists is one specific form of service among others within the Christian community. Catechists are called first to be experts in the pastoral service of transmitting the faith as it develops through its different stages from the initial proclamation of the kerygma to the instruction that presents our new life in Christ and prepares for the sacraments of Christian initiation, and then to the ongoing formation that can allow each person to give an accounting of the hope within them (cf. 1 Peter 3:15). At the same time, every catechist must be a witness to the faith, a teacher and mystagogue, a companion an pedagogue, who teaches for the Church. Only through prayer, study, and direct participation in the life of the community can they grow in this identity and the integrity and responsibility that it entails (cf. Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Directory for Catechesis, 113).”
Whether you have a role as Catechist or not, all are called to be a catechist by the virtue of Baptism. Our baptismal call invites us to continue to study and participate in our faith. Family of Faith, it is a beautiful program that is prepared for adults and children. This year's theme is the “Sacraments.” I would like to invite the entire cluster to join the Family of Faith on the first Wednesday of the month. The first class will be on October 6th at 5 pm or 7 pm at Padua Center. We have two sessions to accommodate everyone. For some, 5 pm will be too early, for others, 7 pm will be too late. Please mark your calendar every first Wednesday of the month whatever time fits in your schedule. Let us learn together, so we will be able to share our faith with our children, grandchildren, family, or other people. We will have different speakers every Wednesday of the month to make it more attractive. Please bring a friend with you. Some of your family or friends may not practice the faith, invite them to learn faith with you. So you can learn, at the same time you get the opportunity to evangelize. New Evangelization invites each Catholic to renew our relationship with Jesus Christ.