Educate the Educators; Catechize the CatechistsVANCOUVER SYNOD STUDY COMMISSION ON TEACHING THE FAITH
5/ Educate the educators;
catechize the catechists
situation today points to an ever increasing urgency for a doctrinal formation
of the lay faithful, not simply in better understanding which is natural to Faith's
dynamism, but also in enabling them to 'give reason for their hope' in the view
of the world and its grave and complex problems (Vatican II, On the Apostolate
of Lay People, 60).Catechesis, at all levels — in our homes, in our
parishes, in our schools, colleges, and universities — will become a dynamic and
effective reality in the degree to which our laity, whether parents, catechists,
teachers or others, are well formed in the Church's teaching and willing to bear
witness to the person of Jesus Christ in their own lives. When those responsible
for passing on the faith are committed to living out their vocation to holiness,
based on a sound understanding and solid personal spirituality, then our teaching
efforts become a real "school of faith" bearing fruit in a deepening of Christian
life for all the faithful.
To assist them in their work and in their
own formation, it is recommended that:
Catechism of the Catholic Church forms the basis for all catechetical programs
in our schools and parishes and that regular workshops on the Catechism be offered
throughout the archdiocese. It is further recommended that a copy of the Catechism
be given to every Catholic at the time they enter into full communion with the
Church, i.e. confirmation, along with instruction in its importance and practice
in its use. The Catechism should be a standard text, taught from, referred to,
and used regularly by students throughout their years of Catholic secondary and
work to ensure that Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) and Parish Religious Education
Programs (PREP) teachers have fulfilled at least the equivalent of a basics of
the faith course, that they be strong committed Christians with a developed personal
spirituality, and that they have had some instruction in proper teaching methodology.
These goals could be adopted as a model for all who are engaged in catechesis.
the face of the pervasive negative influences today affecting our society, we
meet the challenge of rising secularism, materialism, and moral relativism through
the teaching ministry of the archdiocese. We recommend that dynamic and faith-filled
speakers be recruited for the annual Catholic Educator's Conference and for the
annual Religious Education Congress. These speakers should be able to engage and
challenge our teachers and catechists on the critically important and often highly
controversial issues of our day.
of where they received their post-secondary education all Catholic teachers require
resources and understandings necessary to represent the positive religious, historical,
and cultural impact of Catholicism to their students. The ongoing spiritual formation
and intellectual education of our teachers in the meaning of Catholic faith and
culture and in the unique character of an authentic Catholic education is at the
very heart of our efforts to preserve and deepen the Catholic identity of our
schools. A main focus of the annual Catholic Educator's Conference should therefore
be to provide advanced instruction in Catholic faith and culture. It is further
recommended that we work to establish an academically outstanding Catholic teachers'
college in the archdiocese at the earliest opportunity.
be a more developed chaplaincy presence in our Catholic high schools in order
to enhance catechesis within the school environment (i.e. with students, teachers,
develop sound parish programs to help parents prepare their children for the reception
of the sacraments.
retreats and parish missions be encouraged throughout the archdiocese.
- We support
and promote Catholic colleges and universities that show themselves to be dynamic
and authentic representatives of the Church's teaching ministry.
These recommendations are taken from the "Synod Study Paper on Teaching the Faith", prepared for the Vancouver Archdiocesan Synod in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. This document was the working paper and formed the basis for one of the final documents of the Synod, "Teaching the Faith".
& final installment: Breaking
Open the Word of God