Glory be to Jesus Christ!
“PASS IT ON”
I greet all of you as we begin a new Catechetical Year! And I express my gratitude to you on behalf of all the pastors of the Church for your beautiful ministry!
Imagine, Jesus’ last words as he returns to the Father are addressed directly to catechists. Following his Resurrection, he says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age”(Matthew 28: 18-20).
With this, Jesus commissions his disciples, and not only his disciples, but all of us, to be catechists.
To be a catechist means to “pass it on.”
Let me explain.
My Grade 3 teacher was Mrs. James. Among the many lessons she taught us was how important is listening. She did so through a game known as the Telephone Game. In this popular children’s game, the players stand in a circle, and the first player thinks up a short phrase and whispers it into the ear of the next player. The second player repeats the phrase into the ear of the next player, and so on. The last player says the phrase out load. The fun in the game is to see whether or not the last phrase resembles the first, which can be quite funny when it doesn’t (either through poor listening skills or when one of the players deliberately changes the phrase half-way through the game!)
Some common phrases in playing the game today are: “When I grow up, I want to be an elevator;” or“The best chips are chocolate chips;” or “Wouldn’t the Minions look funny in contact lenses.”
If we play the game using Bible phrases, some popular phrases might be: “God is love;” or “Without Jesus, we can do nothing;” or, for the more adventurous,“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (which is the very first “big” Bible verse that I learned as a youth!).
Our faith is intended to be passed on, from one generation to the next. Indeed, we can judge what makes a parish successful (or a family for that matter, which is the domestic Church) is its ability to pass on the faith from one generation of parishioners to the next, that is from parents to their children, and then to their grandchildren.
Catechists, as begin a new Catechetical Year, I pray that the Holy Spirit blesses you and your ministry in passing on our faith in Jesus Christ – who loves and cares for us – to our children, youth, and adults whom you teach, but also to your own children, family, and friends.
God bless you!
Bishop David Motiuk
Chair, Patriarchal Catechetical Commission
Eparchy of Edmonton