Some 40 catechists gathered together at the cathedral on the evening of Wednesday 26 September on completion of their year-long Diocesan Catechists’ Course. The evening began with a celebration of Evening Prayer led by Fr Christopher Whitehead, Director of the Department of Adult Education and Evangelisation, and, in his homily, he reminded the catechists that their task now was to go out and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to our world, walking with others and ‘keeping the memory of God alive’. As Pope Francis said ‘catechists…keep it alive in themselves and are able to revive it in others.’
Each of the participants received a certificate, signed by both Bishop Declan and Fr Christopher, after which they joined together in the Apostle Room for refreshments and an opportunity to share with each other what they learned and taken from the course.
The course itself catered for both new catechists and ‘seasoned travellers’, exposing them to a rich variety of speakers, all of whom were experienced practitioners in their own field – speakers such as Fr Jonathan Stewart, Dr Carmody Grey, Prof Gavin D’Costa, Fr Michael McAndrew and, of course, the Course Director Fr Christopher – and a rich variety of topics. The course itself also included attendance the Diocesan Day at the end of June in which participants could choose from a number of different workshops in addition to listening to the Keynote talk by Hannah Vaughan-Spruce from Divine Renovation.
The catechists themselves were vocal in their appreciation of the course and went back to their parishes and communities feeling more confident in, and better equipped for, their role as catechists – those who ‘keep the memory of God alive’.
Below you can hear a podcast Phil Gibbons made when he attended the final session at the Cathedral. Phil asked several attendees why they came on the course and what they thought of it: