By Zoe Cannon
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
Created in the image and likeness of God, we have an inherent desire to know, love and serve Him. This is basic catechesis and very simply put, our purpose for living. There has never been a time in salvation history when it was easy to follow the teachings of Christ. How do you share your faith with others in this challenging culture? We are never finished learning about the teachings and traditions of our Catholic Church. Faith is much more than participating in religious practices, it is engaging in a relationship with Jesus on a daily basis.
I attended 12 years of Catholic education, but my genuine faith journey began in 1987, with an invitation to attend a bible study in the parish. I was a young mom with four children, and I had much to learn. In 1997, I began volunteering at Wabash Correctional Facility with a Catholic Studies Program, and I continued facilitating there until we moved away from the area in 2014. Every Tuesday night we shared our faith with men in a maximum-security prison. This commitment challenged me to study, read and intentionally learn more about the Catholic faith. I was amazed at the available resources, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church became my best friend. Those who participated in our evening study had questions, and I needed to be prepared with answers. The more I studied Scripture and researched information in the catechism, the more I wanted to know. I am still learning!
Catechetical Sunday is celebrated the weekend of Sept. 14-15, 2019. It is an important time to honor the people who provide religious education to children and adults. As baptized Catholics, we all share in the responsibility of teaching the faith. We are modern-day evangelists and soldiers of Christ in a changing society, where there is truly a battle for souls. The infusion of grace in our baptism provides the hope and encouragement we need for the journey.
My husband and I are beginning our fourth year as facilitators for an Adult Formation Course in our parish. We meet on Wednesday evenings with a new topic each session, so no one will feel left behind if they cannot come every week. The first three years we revised an RCIA – Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults – program, which created a review of information for baptized Catholics. We covered 150 topics and over 300 subtopics with everything from the Five Precepts of the Church to The End Times, and many teachings in between. Our best resource was the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
This year we are using a program titled “Catholic Biblical Apologetics.’ We will cover the teachings of the Early Church in Scripture with over 75 different topics. Our hope is to study Roman Catholic teachings in a way that becomes easier to discuss and share with all faith communities. Scripture and Church documents are used to illustrate and verify the foundation of our faith. There is still so much to know, but the goal is to empower the faithful with enough information to enhance their faith experience and share the good news with others. Christianity is more about relationship than knowledge, and understanding Roman Catholicism is formation, as well as education. The fellowship creates a relationship in Christ with one another and therefore generates an active faith community. This partnership and encouragement provide great hope for the future Church. Ask for God’s blessing in all that you do to bring others to Him! Amen!