The term “catechesis” is an ancient term to communicate the process of instruction and formation for people who want to understand the core of Christianity.
Particularly in North America, there is a dire need to catechize people, even those who were raised in the Church, but catechesis is more than distilling information or knowledge. It is about people being shaped or formed in the truths of Christianity in such a way that produces sustainable faith for all ages. Therefore, all of us need catechesis. We need to learn how to receive that which was passed down from the apostles in Holy Scripture, but also how to pass it on to others. This is why we believe in developing catechesis that shapes people from the cradle to the grave.
The very heart of catechesis is the Gospel. It is the announcement of Good News that God has acted on behalf of sinners in the world. This announcement is found all throughout Scripture, and culminates in Jesus Christ; His birth, life, atoning sacrifice, resurrection, ascension, and return. Our catechesis, the formational instruction for all ages, is grounded in this prevailing message of the Gospel.
What does this look like? As Anglicans, there is a deep relationship between our way of worship and what we believe. This makes catechesis all the more creative and winsome because we offer seasonal and experiential formation. Each season of the Church (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary) offers unique times for the Church to be catechized into the person and work of Christ for our mission of ministry in the world. Catechesis is not only internalized formation, but because it is grounded in the Gospel, it is fundamentally missional. The Gospel, when caught, cannot be contained but proclaimed and exchanged with all people around us because it is a word for them too.
In summary, catechesis, to quote J.I. Packer and Gary Parrett, “is the church’s ministry of grounding and growing God’s people in the Gospel and its implications for doctrine, devotion, duty, and delight.”
To learn more about catechesis and its role in our parish life please contact Joe Gasbarre, our Parish Catechist.