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In my 80’s I am just a few years younger than “Catechetical Sunday”. Although only recently established by Pope Francis, its roots go back to 1935.

In all those years, I never dreamed of connecting Catechetical Sunday with the lyrics of the Broadway musical song “Getting to know you.”

Getting to know you

Getting to know all about you.

…Suddenly I’m bright and breezy!

Because of all the beautiful and new

Things I’m learning about you

Day by day.

The lyrics are from a perennial Broadway and Hollywood favorite “The King and I”.

In this Vincentian Mindwalk I explore how these lyrics help me better understand Catechetical Sunday.

Getting to know “someone” rather than something

I doubt Pope John Paul II or Pope Francis made such a connection. Yet, listen to them!

John Paul II in 1979 wrote

The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ

… at the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth.

No wonder a headline in Our Sunday Visitor reads

The Catechism is not a dry textbook; it’s an invitation to relationship.

Pope Francis  said

Jesus never forgets the day we encountered Him for the first time; we should ask God for the “grace of memory” so that we can always remember it.

An encounter is the means chosen by Jesus to change lives.

Phases of getting to know someone

The words of Pope Francis triggered thoughts about the parallels of catechetics and stages of commitment to another person.

I suspect few truly committed persons have forgotten their first encounter with the person they have chosen to commit themselves to. Often, they will say to one another “remember when…?”

Then comes the “getting to know you“ phase. They spend time with each other getting to know each other “Day by day”.

Their relationship moves to a new phase when they commit to be together “for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health…”.

They spend the lives getting to know one another “day by day”.

Bingo!

Isn’t that the same process when “at the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth?”

Implications for Catechetical Sunday

Cardinal Fischella, introducing the document of Pope Francis writes

For too long catechesis has focused on making the contents of the faith known and on the best pedagogical methods by which to reach this end, omitting the most crucial moment which is the act of deciding for faith and the giving of one’s assent.

Catechesis is too important to be relegated to the classroom or limited to children.

As a Church, as God’s people, we are constantly being catechized during all times and seasons of life, as we are constantly being evangelized. This includes moments and opportunities not strictly on church grounds.

Pope Francis often has spoken of the importance of selecting, training and supporting catechists. Some are officially called to a ministry of leading people to a deeper relationship with Jesus, preparing them to receive the sacraments and educating them about Jesus’ life and example.

 At the same time isn’t that what parents, “God-parents” and Grandparents do?

Identifying the catechists in your life

  • How many of the people who “catechized” you made the connection with opening horizons to a deeper relationship to Christ?
  • Who have been the people that walked with you toward a deeper and more personal relationship with Christ?
  • Do you remember when you became conscious of being called to intimacy with Jesus?

Click below for an early audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk

Catechetical Sunday – getting to know something or someone?
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