Whole Community Catechesis in Plain English Huebsch

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Title: Whole Community Catechesis in Plain English


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Section 1: The new framework

    • GDC says "In giving attention to the individual, it should not be overlooked that the recipient of catechesis is the whole Christian community and every person in it. (Article 168)"
    • Writing in 1995, Francoise Darcy-Berube laid the ground on which a new framework within which to approach catechesis could be built. In Religious Education at a Crossroads, she asked this question:
    • There will be three main ingredients in doing this, she went on to write: 1) A truly personalized educational care for each child and adolescent through a variety of small groups concerned with catechesis, spiritual life, and apprenticeship in Christian life. 2) A much closer, personalized, diversified, and lasting cooperation with the families of these youngsters. 3) A more efficient support network made up of meaningful, personal, inter-generational relationships and of a variety of small intentional communities within the larger community. (from pages 20-21)
    • Maria Harris, Gabe Moran, Tom Groome, Peter Phan, Kate Dooley OP, John Westerhoff, John Roberto, Berard Marthaler OFM, Maureen Shaughnessy SC, and countless others (this list leaves many unmentioned) are 2 all pointing to the need for new language, models, structures, and goals.
    • I doubt we will see one model or one program style emerge. (6)

Chapter 1 The Schoolhouse Framework

  • What's not working in the schoolhouse framework?
    • First and foremost, what's missing is the essential link between catechesis and the Sunday assembly for Mass.
    • But ministry is a seamless garment.
    • The liturgy is the source and summit
    • Second, in the schoolhouse framework the participation of the whole community is very often lacking.
    • Regardless of their age, members of every household have their most profound formation right in the living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms of their home.
    • Second, faith-sharing (which is "natural" catechesis and a rich avenue toward ongoing conversion) is not being done very often, even at the parish level itself.
    • Religion can become merely an object to study
    • The problem of graduation is critical
    • The classroom format resists spontaneity
    • Teaching is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Not all volunteers have the gift.
    • Whole community catechesis, in most cases, surfaces lead or master catechists who genuinely do experience the gift of teaching their lives.

Chapter 2 - An overview of Whole Community Catechesis

  • A new framework
    • Whole community catechesis, in sum, is a new framework within which we can provide religious education at the parish level.
    • Plank #1: A link to the whole community and the Sunday assembly. The first plank of this new framework is that in whole community catechesis, the total parish is involved in learning and sharing about the faith. Every Christian of every age in the parish is involved, not just children. The Sunday assembly at Mass is the font from which all this flows.'.
    • Plank #2: Christian households of faith and the parish as resource center. it the households of the parish become the main focus of redesigned parish programs.
      • The parish programs don't go away, of course.
      • The church is the people of God, gathered and living wherever they are. The parish is actually a resource to the church!
    • Plank #3: A constitutive part of Christian life - Whole community catechesis starts with the premise that faith formation or learning about the faith is part and parcel of being Christian.
      • Sharing one's faith is catechesis.
    • plank #4: A movement within God's people and the vision of the leaders it is more like a movement within the parish than a program.
      • Everyone is welcome here. Everyone is offered a place at the table.
      • the framework of whole community catechesis serves to tie together (1) all the formal instruction which the parish provides (homilies, children's instructional programs, sacra- mental preparation, leadership training, preparation for various pastoral care and liturgical ministries, biblical study, and spiritual growth opportunities) with (2) the informal sharing of faith which whole community catechesis implants into everything else, especially every- day household and parish life.
      • The single factor which makes renewal movements (such as TEC, Search, Marriage or Engaged Encounter, Cursillo, RENEW, AA, Al Anon, ana others) work is that the people involved in these movements share their lives of faith together.

Summary - In whole community catechesis, he says, the new goal outcome is "adult Christians of mature faith," wing the Way of Christ, sharing supper and Eucharist, working hard for justice and peace, and turning their hearts to Christ over and over again through their lives

  • Section 2 Nuts and Bolts

Chapter 3 Step One: Linking Liturgy and Catechesis

  • Re-joining liturgy and catechesis in your parish is the first necessary step in implementing whole community catechesis. s necessary to make the Sunday assembly the single most important focus of the parish week.
  • One: Parish-wide faith sharing - One solution to this is to organize a weeklong period of f reflection on the Word of God shared at Sunday Mass. i.e. mystagogia i.e. "reflecting on the mysteries of the faith."
    • Here's how it works In the Liturgy of the Word at Mass, the homilist leads everyone, including him or herself, to ask a single, well-focused, real-life, and significant question, prompted by the scriptural text of the day.
    • During the following week, the Question of the Week is used throughout the parish for faith-sharing at the beginning of each gathering:
    • Develop a question of the week.
  • Two: Who feels welcome at your Sunday assembly? Catechesis assumes participation in the whole life of the church.
  • Three: Raising the status of baptism: The success of whole community catechesis is directly linked to the place baptism holds in parish life.
    • Baptism is a central Christian sacrament and ought to have a program of catechesis that is appropriate to that.

Chapter 4 Making Christ Jesus (more) the Center of Catechesis

  • CCC - The first and last point of reference of this catechesis will always be Jesus Christ himself, who is "the way, and the truth, e." (article 1698)
    • One: Christ is the center
    • Two: Conversion (turning our hearts to Christ) precedes catechesis. Baptism is no guarantee
    • This isn't to say that there is no place for textbook learning in helping people to understand religion and become solid Christians. The bishops of the church rightly expect us to provide a comprehensive instruction in the faith at every level of catechesis.
  • Three: How does a learner of any age meet Christ? All we are saying here flows directly from the spirituality of the RCIA.
    • faith-sharing happens in two ways. First, there is faith-sharing that lows from the Liturgy of the Word in the Sunday assembly for Mass. The second sort of faith-sharing flows from another, similar inspiration, the everyday experiences of being
    • Here is the bottom line on this: God is acting in your life. When you can identity that and be grateful for it, then you grow closer and closer to God. And when you share that with others, a natural sort of catechesis occurs.
    • Two questions - Who or what made a difference in your life? Where is God's hand in that or why does God seem absent?

Chapter 5 Making the Household the Focus of Catechesis

  • whole community catechesis does rely on a certain level of Christian homemaking.
    • Four Steps - a. First, employ a method to involve the households of the parish on at least a 50-50 basis. Second, establish a process whereby the leaders in the parish formally listen to the needs of the households. Third, begin to teach Christian homemaking as part of parish life. And finally, shift away from the schoolhouse framework within which religious instruction is offered, a work more friendly to parents, grandparents, older siblings, hangers on, and all other parishioners.
    • Whole community catechesis provides us a chance "start over" on new ground in how we provide catechesis. The new is that, no matter what, catechesis is always done on a 50-50 an, household and parish. It's never the duty of just one or the other.
    • A note of caution. What is a household? In today's culture, it can be difficult and harmful to use f family life as the only example of divine life. There simply aren't that many families today in which there are two Catholic parents, both in good standing with the church, both living at home, and both raising the children.
    • Step 2: Learning to listen:
    • Step Three: Christian homemaking Teach about homemaking. The finest form of Christian adult formation is that which coaches, teaches, and shows by example how to "make home." rather than more classes on church doctrine, practices, and traditions, why not offer classes on homemaking instead?

Chapter 6 Catechesis Assemblies and other Fine Ideas

  • Our goal is to make the experience of catechesis enjoyable, to make it a magnet for people young and old.
  • Catechesis assemblies. Join several small groups together Invite more people to participate. Of course, our secret plan here is to have more adults participate by shifting to these catechesis assemblies for the children's program.

Other facts

  • Purchased: September 2015

Bibliographic info

Personal name Huebsch, Bill. Main title: Whole community catechesis in plain English / Bill Huebsch. Published/Created : Mystic, CT : Twenty-Third Publications, c2002. ISBN 1585951846 LC classification (full) BX1968 .H84 2002 Dewey class no.: 268/.82