Archdiocesan Catechetical Meeting


“He went up to the mountain and called his side
those he wanted. They were to him.

And Jesus instituted the Twelve to be

with him and to be sent out to preach … ”

(Mk 3: 13-14)



1. Mark’s text allows us to place ourselves in the context of the call.

Behind every catechist, each of you, there is a call, a choice, a vocation. This is a foundational truth of our identity: we are called by God, chosen by Him believe and confess the initiative of love that is at the root of what we are. We recognize it as a gift, as a grace …

And we are called to be with him why we say Christians, we recognize ourselves in close relationship with Christ … With the apostle Paul we can say, “… and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me … “(Gal 2: 20). That Christ is truly live a new life: the life of the Christian, and determines all that is and does. Hence every catechist must seek to remain in the Lord (Jn 15, 4) and care, prayer, his heart transformed by grace, because that is what it has to offer and where is his real “treasure” (cf. Lk 12,34).

2. Some perhaps are thinking inside, “but this is telling us it could be applied to every Christian.” Yes, it is. And it is precisely what I want to share with you this morning. Every catechist is primarily a Christian ..

It may be quite obvious … If however, one of the most serious problems for the Church and often mortgage their evangelizing is that pastoral workers, who tend to be more with the “things of God”, we are more embedded in the ecclesiastical world often we forget to be good Christians. Then begins the temptation absolutize spiritualities in the genitive: the spirituality of the laity, the catechist, the priest … and the serious danger of losing its originality and evangelical simplicity. And once lost the Christian common horizon, we run the temptation of the snob, as affected by that which entertains and feeds or fattening but helps them grow. The parties become peculiarities and particularities privileging easily we forget all that we are one people. Then begin centrifugal movements missionary who have nothing but the opposite: disperse us, distract us and paradoxically entangled us in our internal and “quintismos” pastoral. Do not forget: the whole is greater than the part.

It seems important to stress this because a subtle temptation of the Evil One is to make us forget our common membership whose source Baptism. And when we lose the identity of children, brothers and members of the People of God, we entertain ourselves in cultivating a “pseudo-spirituality” artificial, elitist … We stopped traffic for the fresh green grass to be corralled into a stun sophistry “Specimen Christianity”. We are not Christians but “enlightened elite” with Christian ideas.

Bearing this in mind as well, we can point to specific traits.

3. The catechist is the man of the Word. From the word capitalized. “It was with our Lord’s Word that won the hearts of the people. Came to listen to all sides (Mk 1, 45). were amazed drinking his teachings (Mk 6, 2). They felt that they spoke as one having authority (Mk 1, 27). The Word was with the apostles, who “instituted to be with him and to be sent out to preach” (Mk 3, 14), attracted to the bosom of the Church to all peoples (cf. Mk 16: 15 – 20) “[1]

This relationship of catechesis with the Word does not move much in the order of “do”, but rather “being”. There can be really true centrality and catechesis without actual reference to the Word of God to encourage, support and fertilize all your doing. The catechist is committed before the community to meditate and ruminate the Word of God so that your words echo. Therefore, the host with the joy of the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:6), the internalized and becomes flesh and act like Mary (Luke 2:19). Found in the word of wisdom from above which will allow you to make the necessary and keen discernment, both personal and communal.

“The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword: it penetrates to the roots of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart … “(Heb. 4:12)

The catechist is a servant of the Word, is left to raise her, and she has the quiet confidence of exceeding fertility forces “… She did not come back to me sterile, but does everything I want and accomplish the mission that I prayed “(Is 55, 10-11). The catechist can own what John Paul II writes about the priest: “… should be the first <creyente> of the Word with the full awareness that the words of his ministry are not <suyas>, but his that sent it. He is not the owner of this word is his servant … “(Pastores Dabo Vobis 26)

To be able to listen to the Word that, catechist should be man and woman who likes silence. Yes, the catechist, because he is the man of the Word, must also be the man of silence … Contemplative silence, allowing you to get rid of inflation of words that reduce and impoverish their ministry to a hollow verbiage, like many offered by the society. Dialogical Silence, which will be the other and respectful listening and beautify the church with the word diakonia offered in response. Silence brimming projimidad, complementing gestures word game makers that facilitate and enable the “theophany of us.” So I encourage you to invite you, you men and women of the Word: love the silence, seek silence, making his ministry fruitful in silence!

4. But if something unusual should characterize the catechist is its look. The catechist, says the General Catechetical Directory, is a man skilled in the art of communication. “The top and center of the formation of catechists is fitness and ability to communicate the Gospel message.” (235). The catechist is called to be a teacher of communication. Wants and seeks that the message becomes life. And this without despising all current science insights on communication. In Jesus we have provided the model, the way of life. As the Master Well, every catechist must make present the “look of love” it’s inception and provided everything truly human encounter. The Gospels have spared verses to document the profound mark left in the first disciples, Jesus’ gaze. Do not tire of looking through the eyes of God!

In a civilization paradoxically wound anonymity while, impudorosamente sick of morbid curiosity on the other, the Church needs the catechist close look to see, moved and stop as often as necessary to give our walking pace of sanante projimidad [2]. In this world precisely the catechist must make present the fragrance of the gaze of the heart of Jesus. And you need to start your brothers in this “art of accompaniment” so that children and adults learn always to remove his shoes before the sacred land of another (cf. Ex 3, 5). Respectful look, look healer, compassionate look also at the spectacle manipulative Shady omnipotence of the media, the arrogant and disrespectful way of thinking gurus who like unique, even from government offices, we want to give up on defending dignity of the person, contagiándonos an inability to love.

So I ask you catechists: take care of your eyes!. No dignifying claudiquen in that look. It never closes its eyes to the face of a child who does not know Jesus. Do not divert your eyes, do not get the distracted. God puts them, sends them to love, look, caress, teach … And God gives faces are not only in the halls of the parish, in the temple … Beyond: be open to new crossroads where loyalty takes the name of creativity. You may recall that the General Catechetical Directory in the Introduction we proposed the parable the sower [3]. With this biblical horizon do not lose your identity look catechists. Because there are ways and ways of looking … There are those who look with the eyes of statistics … and often only see numbers, only know how to count … There are those who look with the eyes of results … and often only see failures … There are those who look with eyes of impatience … wait and see just useless …

Let us ask who got us into this planting, make us share in his eyes, the sower of good and “spendthrift” tenderness. To be,

q confident and look long-term, not to give in to the temptation of wanting sterile seeding browse every day because he knows well that, whether he sleeps or ensure the seed grows by itself.

q a look hopeful and loving it, when you see the break of weeds among wheat, no complaining or alarmist reactions, because he knows and has memory free fertility charity [4].

5. But if something is proper catechist is recognized as the man and woman who “advertised”. While it is true that all Christians should participate in the prophetic mission of the Church, the catechist makes a special way.

What is advertising? It is more to say something, say something. It’s more than just teaching. Advertising is say, shout, communicate, is to convey to all life. Are you closer to another his own act of faith-that-be is totalizer gesture, word, look, communion … And proclaim a message not a simple cold or doctrinal body. Announcing foremost a person, an event: Christ loved us and gave his life for us (cf. Eph 2: 1-9. Catechists as every Christian. Proclaims and testifies certainty that Christ is risen and is alive in the midst of us (cf. Acts 10: 34-44). Catechists offer their time, their hearts, their gifts and creativity to make this certainty that life on the other, so that God’s plan will make history on the other. It catechist also own announcement that its center is a person, Christ becomes also announced his message, his teaching, his teaching. Catechesis is teaching. needs to be said without complex. Do not forget that you as catechists complete the Church’s missionary activity. Without a systematic presentation of the faith our following Christ will be incomplete, we will make it difficult to account for what we believe, we will be complicit in that many do not come to maturity of faith.

And while some point in the history of the Church spread too Kerygma and Catechesis, today should be united but not identified. Catechesis must in these times of widespread disbelief and indifference kerygmatic have a strong imprint. But it should be only Kerygma, if not eventually cease to be Catechesis. Should shout and proclaim: Jesus is Lord, but will also lead to gradual and pedagogically catechumen to know and love God, to enter into their lives, to start in the sacraments and the disciple’s life …

Do not fail to proclaim that Jesus is Lord … help just to make it really “Lord” of their catechized … To help them to pray that in depth, to delve into its mysteries, to like his presence … Content No empty catechesis, but neither leave reduced to simple ideas, which, when they leave their human linker, its roots in the person, in the People of God in the history of the Church, carry disease. The ideas, thus understood, end up words that say nothing, and can transform into modern nominalist in “enlightened elite”.

6. In this context becomes very important witness. Catechesis, and education in the faith, as transmission of a doctrine always requires a living testimonial. This is common to all Christians, but in the catechist acquires a special dimension. Because it recognizes called and called by the Church to bear witness. The witness is one who having seen something, you want to count, recount, report … In the catechist personal encounter with the Lord not only gives credibility to his words, but gives credence to his ministry, which is already making.

If the catechist has not contemplated the Face of the Word made flesh, does not deserve to be called catechist. Moreover, you can get to be called impostor, because he is deceiving his catechized.

7. Something else: you are catechists of this time, this stunning city that is Buenos Aires, in this diocesan church that is walking in assembly … And this time catechists be marked by crises and changes are not ashamed to propose certainties … Not everything is in hand, not everything is unstable, not everything is a product of culture or consensus. There is something that we have been given as a gift, which is beyond our capabilities, which exceeds anything we can imagine or think. The catechist must live as ministry itself what the Evangelist John says :: “… We have known the love God has for us and to believe in him …” (I Jn 4, 16). We are certainly facing a difficult time, many changes, we even have to talk about change of time [5]. The catechist, with this new and challenging cultural horizon, will be felt more than once questioned, puzzled, but never beaten. From memory the act of God in our lives, we can say with the apostle. “I know whom I have believed” (2 Tim. 1.12). In these times of great historical crossroads and crisis, the Church needs the strength and perseverance of the catechist, with humble faith but surely helping younger generations to say with the Psalmist: “… With my God I can scale any wall … “(Ps 17, 31)” … While crossing dark ravines, I will fear no evil, for You are with me … “(Ps 22, 4)

Work of catechists, in your case, is done here in Buenos Aires, in this great city with its complexity makes it very unique in some way. Catechists are locals! and, in this sense, which leads to a big city, the catechist must differentiate elsewhere.

8. Every great city has great riches, many possibilities, but there are also many dangers. One is that of exclusion. Sometimes I wonder if we are as a diocesan Church complicit in a culture of exclusion in which there is no room for the old, the child upset, no time to stop at the side of the road. The temptation is great, especially because it is based in the new modern dogmas as efficiency and pragmatism. Therefore, It takes courage to go against the grain, to not give up the utopia that is precisely possible inclusion, which mark the style and rhythm of our steps [6].

Be encouraged to think ministry and catechesis from the periphery, from those who are further away, those usually do not go to the Parish. They are also invited to the wedding of the Lamb. A few years ago I said in an RCT: out of the caves!. Today they are again: leave the sacristy of the parish secretary, of the lounges!, Go!. Make this the pastoral of the court, the doors of the houses, on the street. Do not wait, go!. Above all make this a catechesis that does not exclude, who knows different rates, open to new challenges of this complex world. Officials do not become rigid, fundamentalist excluding planning.

God has called them to be his catechists. In this Church of Buenos Aires who is traveling times of the Spirit, and actors are part of the diocesan, not manijear, or impose, but to do together discern the exciting experience with others, who let God write the story .

9. Every year you meet as catechists in the EAC. And the EAC is synonymous with communion. They leave for a day’s work in the parish to experience the richness of communion, beautiful symphony of common and what is different. It is a day to share, to enrich the other, to make the experience of living in the courtyard of La Salle “tent of meeting” of those every week, large and small, proclaim Jesus. Live this communion also with other pastoral, with other members of the faithful. Contribution and commitment to the time of grace that will be for all the Diocesan Assembly. Sean deacons, ie almost obsessive servers communion. Check out the link to the breath of the Spirit that invites us to overcome our individualism porteño canonized “not get involved”. Banish awhile nostalgic tango mentality of “will not go” to defeat the prophets of misfortune and find the way the old and tired …

In today’s world, and there is too much pain and saddened faces to those who believe in the Good News of the Gospel we hide Easter joy. So joyfully proclaim that Jesus is Lord … That deep joy that is caused precisely in the Lord.

With nationwide catechists ask God for this grace for this year’s ENAC. So march together with the catechists of Buenos Aires on April 24, to care for and preserve the ability of party, the joy of the journey with another, the joy of knowing twinned in this beautiful vocation of catechists. They will light luggage, with a heart full of fervor … And they will in Luján, alongside the faithful mother, so she helps them to meet his son, and in him with all the people of God in pilgrimage on this earth Argentina …

Renew their vocation, confirmed his mission. They will ask for the grace to be instruments of communion, to making the Church a House of all, to make present God’s tenderness in the painful situations of life, even in times of conflicts that are looming in the not far away.

May Mary Lujan grant them what they ask with catechists from across the country: “Make your ministry places of listening, listing and joy”. [7]

Buenos Aires, March 12, 2005.

Card. Jorge Mario Bergoglio S.J.

Posted in 2005

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