This text was originally published on our blog on 8/11/2014.
Getting Your Ducks in a Row is about ordering of our priorities for success in our efforts at evangelization. Tackling this may not satisfy our urge “to do” but it will uncover a path for a parish to follow. The USCCB document Disciples Called to Witness addresses a “culture of witness” in Section IV. Here our bishops suggest specific catechetical methodologies that “should guide pastoral programs aimed at renewing the faith of all Catholics, including our missing brothers and sisters.”
Here are the seven methodologies outlined in Disciples, along with a question to help us get this “ducks” all lined up!
Discipleship. “One (who is) seeking to learn how to be a disciple of Christ does so through apprenticeship. . . Apprenticeship is an essential element in witnessing to the Gospel message.” Where do we intentionally provide opportunities for growth in discipleship through apprenticeship?
A commitment to the Christian life. “Social justice and direct service opportunities provide powerful experiences with the person of Jesus.” How do we intentionally promote service as a normative part of a commitment to living a Christian life?
Parish life. “Evangelization must remain rooted in the parish. Successful evangelization and catechetical initiatives must be focused on the parish and parish life.” Do our initiatives have as their goal the changing of the quality of parish life?
The liturgical life of the Church: popular devotions and piety. “The desire of returning Catholics to reconnect with their cultural devotional practices should be encouraged and fostered, as it presents an opportunity to invite them into a prayerful relationship with God.” How do we nurture the liturgical and devotional life of our parishioners?
The Christian family. ”It is vital that multiple generations, including grandparents, are engaged with the faith formation of younger family members.” Are we open to the possibility of providing multi-generational opportunities for faith formation?
Catechists and teachers of the faith. “Catechists . . . are entrusted with the duties of teaching the faith, overseeing sacramental preparation, supporting the formation of consciences, and developing a love of prayer in those they catechize.” What ongoing formation do we provide for catechists-as-disciples?
Religious experience. “ . . . human experience provides the “sensible signs” that help us come to know ourselves, one another, and God. These sensible signs are . . . the concrete actions of the Holy Spirit present in the Christian’s everyday life. . . Some common examples are retreats, direct service opportunities, parish prayer groups, Bible study program.” How and when do we provide intentional “concrete” opportunities to open people to “the promptings of the Holy Spirit”?