Catechists throughout the country were united and recognized on Catechetical Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, for the important role they play in the mission of the Catholic Church.
These catechists impart the Faith on people of all ages, whether it is in Parish religious education programs or in Catholic schools. The fact is all faithful Catholics are called to be catechists, Father Ricky Varner, Administrator of St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral, stressed this point during Mass.
Father Varner, like priests across the Diocese and country, commissioned those who are designated as Parish religious education teachers with a special blessing. In addition, recognizing the role of the entire Catholic community, in particular families, in handing on the Faith and being a witness to the Gospel, Father Varner imparted an additional blessing on everyone present.
“Part of our call is to serve as magnifying the message of the Gospel,” Father Varner said. “Live in a way that we know God is always present but not always apparent.”
The commissioning and blessing ceremony were powerful for Kristin Puzder, a catechist at St. Katharine Drexel for many years who teaches first grade and helps with the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) program. She started teaching religious education classes to young children when her son was in first grade.
The focus in teaching the first graders is to show that God is good, the Creator, and He loves everyone. She also helps her students learn the basic prayers and to find wonder in God’s creation while she tries to be an example for them in her own life.
“I feel blessed to be able to do what I do because I get more out of it than the children,” Puzder explained. “It is a privilege to teach children about God and the Faith.”
The theme for Catechetical Sunday is taken from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you.” The theme focuses on the primary substance of catechesis, which is an invitation to a whole new life given by Christ Himself. It emphasizes that living Faith necessitates movement, inspiring all those who hear the Word to share it as witnesses of the true and living God.
Rose Talbot-Babey, St. Katharine Drexel Director of Religious Education, said the blessing of the catechists and all the faithful took place at two Masses to accommodate the need for social distancing.
Religious education programs across the Diocese are either already running or starting by mid-October for the faithful of all ages. Some classes are working on requirements necessary to receive the various Sacraments, while others are continuing their religious education, which never formally concludes.
Because of the pandemic, there are limited class sizes where in-person instruction is taking place. To accommodate families who prefer distance learning, that option is also available. In such cases, relevant materials are sent home and the classes meet virtually.
Talbot-Babey said everything is being done to ensure each family and student is comfortable in the process while at the same time being confident that all religious education requirements are met.