Waiting for an Encounter with Christ
by Magdalena Gutierrez
With Teresa, the Director of Religious Education in a parish with a 90% Hispanic population, I recently gave a two-hour workshop to a group of catechists in Maryland. This was Teresa’s invitation to me: “Maggie, my catechists have long complained that they need new ways to carry out the class, but I would like you to talk to them about prayer and the different ways of praying before and after class because if you pray before, it prepares you well.” I began by praying that the Lord would grant Teresa her desire to help her catechists grow.
More important than curricula is the person of the catechist. Our goal was to help them discover once more the importance of prayer as part of the preparation process, and even more, to experience in prayer that Christ Jesus comes and encounters us to renew our vocation and give us the grace necessary to respond with faith. We prepared for them a moment of prayer – an encounter with the Lord and an activity to put into practice the change of life they would need.
This schedule was as follows:
3:00 – Preparing the Environment –
We begin with a word of welcome. All of them were immigrants so we quickly established rapport. As we recently had our first earthquake in Maryland, it was very easy to strike up a conversation in which everyone participated. The participants were mostly young adults.
3:28 – Prayer –
Short and easy to get in the hands of God as a group. Material taken from the bishops for Catechetical Sunday 2011.
3:30 – Introduction –
3:35 – Dialogue with Participants-
3:45 – Gospel reading and silent reflection-
3:50 – Witness-
3:55 – Invitation to faith-
4:00 – Expression of Faith-
4:40 – Thanksgiving-
4:55 – Prayer and farewell-
The Pope, during the Angelus of September 18 said “Let us turn in prayer to the Virgin Mary, that throughout the Church the vocations to the priesthood, religious life and the laity will mature in the service to the new evangelization…vast horizons open to the proclamation of Gospel…” Who are the agents of the new evangelization? “…Humble and generous workers who do not ask any other recompense than participating in the mission of Jesus and the Church …the gospel has transformed the world, and still is changing it…”