Part of the call of the Year of Faith is to renew our knowledge of and commitment to the faith that was gifted to us at baptism. Veritas is therefore happy to offer a Year of Faith: Book of the Month. These books are intended to inform readers on a wide variety of faith topics. As an initiative for the Year of Faith, you might like to start a Year of Faith Book Club in your work, school or parish community, where these publications can be discussed and shared.
Book of the Month for March: Share the Good News: National Directory for Catechesis in Ireland
Share the Good News is the National Directory for Catechesis in Ireland. It was published in 2011 and is a ten-year plan for evangelisation, for catechesis and for religious education in Ireland from the perspective of the Catholic Church.
The Introduction to the Directory explains its context:
The years since the Second Vatican Council have seen a tremendous effort in the Church worldwide to express for our times the centrality of evangelisation and catechesis in the life and mission of all members of the Church. Gravissimum educationis (1965), the Council’s Declaration on Christian Education, together with its other documents, set the scene for this reflection. The General Catechetical Directory (1971), called for at Vatican II, The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (1972), Pope Paul VI’s Evangelii nuntiandi (1975), and Pope John Paul II’s Catechesi tradendae (1979) and Redemptoris missio (1990), all contributed enormously to a renewal in understanding of how we proclaim the faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) added a rich and comprehensive exposition of the content of Christian faith. In its wake, the new General Directory for Catechesis (1997), bringing the original 1971 document up to date, created a synthesis of all that had been achieved.
The value of the local Church providing a National Directory for Catechesis has been stated repeatedly. A national Directory of this kind spells out the vision, organisation and planning involved in evangelisation and catechesis within the particular situation of the local Church. It applies the principles and foundations highlighted in the General Directory for Catechesis to the local context or contexts. It addresses the specific issues arising in that situation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes it clear that those who seek to deepen the understanding of Christian faith must develop ‘catechetical methods required of different cultures, age, spiritual maturity, and social and ecclesial condition’. The General Directory for Catechesis calls for local catechetical directories as well as local catechisms, and the formulation of a ‘programme of action’ to determine the objectives, the means of pastoral catechesis and the norms governing it. This process, it notes, should be completed with reference to local needs, while remaining in harmony with the universal Church.
This National Directory for Catechesis in Ireland seeks to lay down a framework and principles, suited to local needs in Ireland, for the presentation of the Good News of Jesus Christ. It does so with enthusiasm and joy, for to know Christ and to experience in him the love of God, revealed to us in our time by the kindness of the Holy Spirit, is to come to a whole new way of life, lived in faith, hope and love. This National Directory for Catechesis is not a catechism, a programme or a theological explanation of all that might be contained in a catechism. It does not seek to offer a particular catechesis on the many and varied themes uncovered here. It contents itself, instead, in pointing to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the complete statement of the Catholic Faith, and searching out sure ways of making the treasures to be found there more readily available to people in Ireland today.
This is an opportune time to encourage members of the Catholic Church in Ireland to become engaged in renewed reflection, leading to a reinvigorated approach to teaching the Faith and sharing the Gospel. The preparation of this Irish National Directory for Catechesis is only the beginning of this process. It follows the model and principles laid out by the General Directory for Catechesis, seeking to establish guidelines upon which catechesis and all forms of faith development can best be pursued by the Church in Ireland. As a result of various consultation processes undertaken in its preparation, it hopes to reflect and encourage good practice at all levels of evangelising action within the Catholic Church in Ireland. It seeks to help members of the Church to speak confidently of the Gospel message, which we have always cherished in Ireland and yet are still only coming to know. It sets us on a journey as a pilgrim Church, searching for new ways to encourage all to seek Christ. It entices us to pause with him awhile, to come to understand more fully the power of his love, and to meet him face to face.
How to get involved in Share the Good News: Advice from the Catechetics Council of the Irish Episcopal Conference
- Obtain your own copy of Share the Good News
- Using the index at the back of the Directory familiarise yourself with the areas that address your current situation
- Read the remainder of the Directory in order to provide background and context
- Consult the relevant section/s of chapter 7 which details the plans for Faith Development in areas which might impinge on you
- Don’t presume that someone else is going to take the initiative – get busy taking the initiative yourself!
Previous Books of the Month:
October 2012: Heaven Sent: My Life Through the Rosary by Fr Gabriel Harty
November 2012: Sacred Space: The Prayer Book 2013, from www.sacredspace.ie
December 2012: The Illustrated Bible: Story by Story by Michael Collins
January 2013: Will there be Faith? Depends on Every Christian by Thomas H. Groome
February 2013: Take the Plunge by Timothy Radcliffe