Segment 1: The Church Calls Us to Teach Christocentrically
Video Length: 9:41 (8:33 of actual instruction)
In the encyclical On Catechesis in Our Time #5, St. John Paul II says, “at the heart of catechesis we find . . . a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth.” Think about these words for a moment. What does it really mean that at the heart of catechesis we “find a Person”?
The centrality of Jesus to catechesis is a vital principle of catechetical methodology. Teaching the faith is more than passing on truths, tenets and stories. It is about a Person, Who abides with us and bringing people into intimacy and communion with him. We often describe the work of catechesis as “teaching the faith,” or doing “religion classes.” Though not wrong, this doesn’t speak about the real heart and center of catechesis because we seldom mention the Person of Jesus, or we mention Him as merely one “topic” among many.
Reflect on what you normally say when someone asks you what you do or what a catechist does. Now think of how you might describe it differently. For example, you might say, “Each week we seek and encounter the Person of Jesus,” or even “The children and I have an appointment with the Holy Spirit, Who takes us into the Heart of Jesus.” Discuss with the group.
Segment 2: Refer All Topics to Christ
Video Length: 11:33
Read the following Catechism paragraphs:
- 966 (in the section about Mary’s Assumption into Heaven)
- 1127 (in the section about the sacraments)
- 1214 (in the section about the sacrament of Baptism).
After reading each one, discuss how Christ is central to that doctrine. Then, explain what you learn in that paragraph about the Person of Christ Himself.
Segment 3: Introduce Christ Himself
Video Length: 11:12
Read the opening of each of the four Gospels in the New Testament to see what each Gospel author wants us to know first about Jesus.
- St. Matthew Chapter 1
- St. Mark 1:1–11
- St. Luke 1:1–4
- St. John 1:1-28
As you read each section, take note of 2-3 key points about Jesus presented in that Gospel. Then, discuss how the Gospel writer is introducing Jesus to the reader and what truths he’s trying to convey about Jesus.
Segment 4: Make the Gospels Central
Video Length: 13:48
Read Mark 1:30–31. In order to ponder this passage slowly, make a note of each of the persons present and each of the verbs used, to find out what the persons are doing. Discuss what you learn about Christ from this passage. What is your spiritual take away?
Have you ever noticed you can read the same passage of Scripture numerous times over the course of many years and still receive something fresh, insightful and inspiring? That’s because Scriptures are alive with the Holy Spirit’s power and inspiration. They are the central place we find the Person of Jesus and what he taught.
Frequent exposure to the Gospels will help you know them well enough to teach from them regularly and will aid the fostering of a Christocentric mind, heart and catechesis. The Gospel also gradually becomes the lens through which you see your own life and grow from your past. Share ways you get regular exposure to the Gospels besides Mass–examples include reading the daily readings or signing up for the “Gospels in a Year” email program from Flocknote.com.
Segment 5: Christ is Central to God’s Whole Plan
Video Length: 8:44
Read CCC 309–314, the “Providence of God and the Scandal of Evil.” If God is truly the Lord of all time and history, if He is ceaselessly redeeming His people, why are there evil and painful elements to endure? Discuss your thoughts with the group.
Note in CCC 312 that God can always “bring a good from the consequences of an evil.” In CCC 313 we are given St Paul’s words from his Letter to the Romans, “We know that in everything God works for good for those who love him”.
Share with the group something from your own past that at the time you considered painful or bad, but later realized God drew good out of the circumstances. Or find an occasion where you can honestly say, he or she “. . . meant evil against me; but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20).
Segment 6: Christ is the Central Reality of Every Person
Video Length: 9:03
Read CCC 705. What does it mean for mankind to have the “image” of God but not the “likeness” of God? How does Christ change this?
Read CCC 1710. Discuss what it means that Christ fully manifests man, or shows mankind to himself? What is the exalted vocation Jesus Christ brings to light? What this say about who we are and who we’re meant to be?
Read CCC 1698, especially the quotation from St. John Eudes. Take some quiet time to consider the implications of belonging to Christ as one of his “members.”
Segment 7: All Dimensions of Life Center on Christ
Video Length: 7:46
As we have seen over and again in this workshop, everything revolves around Christ. Practice writing and speaking about topics from each dimension of the faith as a truth and as a teaching about Him.
Re-phrase each of the following sentences with “Christ” (or “Jesus,” “Son,” “Lord” and so on) as central to the statement. The sentences, as they are currently written, are not wrong but they are lacking, because they do not include the fact that these things are only possible and real by the grace and presence of Christ:
- At Baptism we come to live in God’s family (the Church) (see Romans 6:3–4 to help you).In the sacrament of Reconciliation we confess our sins and say sorry to God (see Colossians 1:13–14 to help you).
- We must strive to do good in our lives (see Ephesians 2:10 to help you).
- It is good to pray in any way you can (see CCC 2664 to help you).
When finished, share your sentences with the group and discuss.