“I call us to be servant leaders who are people of the WORD, preaching, teaching, evangelizing and cherishing the Gospel message throughout our entire lives.”
In his Pastoral Letter, Wounded and Loved, Regathering the Scattered, Bishop Bambera outlines his vision for catechesis in the Diocese of Scranton:
“The parish as the local community of faith constitutes a primary environment in which faith is shared and formation takes place. Educational efforts in the parish are intended to provide formation for Christian life. Before ascending to the Father, Christ gave the apostles a final command – to make disciples of all nations and to teach and observe all that he has commanded. (Mt.28:18-20) The process of forming disciples very soon received the name of catechesis. ‘Catechesis further specifies evangelization. It is a moment in the evangelization/conversion process. Being a form of the ministry of the Word, catechesis aims at developing an understanding of the mystery of Christ in light of God’s word.’ (The Relationship between Evangelization and Catechesis, NCDD Study Paper, page 2)
Thus, from the earliest days of the Church until now, we find a consistent and continuing call to include the four-fold dimension of parish life: word, worship, community and service, in all our ongoing faith formation efforts just as in all of evangelization. The challenge for Catholic formation in our parishes is to make the baptized aware of the universality of Christ’s mission. We must educate the faithful to their responsibility for justice and ecumenism; we must facilitate the development of moral judgments and Christian decision-making; and we need to offer opportunities for the study of Scripture, and ways to grow in prayer and service to others.”
Meeting this challenge calls for reflection and study around the following practical considerations:
- Promote on-going family-centered Christian formation through cooperative catechetical programs for all ages and groups with the special needs of individuals and families in mind;
- Use the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults in all parishes as a primary means of fulfilling our mission to evangelize;
- Promote full incorporation of youth and young adults into the life of the parish through ministry programs and the inclusion of young people in parish activities, organizations, and structures;
- Develop and support teachers, catechists and others involved in Christian formation;
- Provide the opportunity for all the faithful to participate in ongoing programs of catechesis with special attention to lectionary based methods of learning in order to develop a greater understating of Scripture and its application in our lives and world;
- Engage a life-long Faith-Formation Minister to coordinate religious education and or youth ministry for the parish or regional partnership;
- Incorporate Catholic colleges and universities more fully into the life of the diocesan parishes; H. Impress upon all of the faithful our membership in the domestic, parish, diocesan and universal Church through catechetical initiatives;
- Re-focus our educational ministry or catechesis on events such as birth, marriage, death or other personal celebrations of joy and loss.
- Promote an ecumenical attitude by encouraging prayer and cooperation among various religious traditions.