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Catechesis on the Priesthood – Part 2

October 25, 2009

Well, I have my second Breaking Open the Word session under my belt. I prepared three pages for discussion and it didn’t seem like enough at first, but in the end it turned out to be just right.

Like I said in my last post, a lot of the content came directly from the catechist guidelines, but I enhanced the discussion for the first reading from Jeremiah 31:7-9, explaining why the Jewish people were in exile, and this turned out to be helpful for the catechumens and candidates. This reading focused on the prophecy of future joy of returning from exile, but what is the background of the exile? Once again the nation of Israel had been conquered by another nation, and the people had been scattered. God will go to the ends of the earth to bring his people home.

In the Letter to the Hebrews, Aaron and Melchizedek were mentioned. Again, they needed some background on who these priests were. Not that I am a Biblical scholar by any stretch, but our candidates and catechumens are coming to us with a clean slate so to speak as far as faith and religious/Christian history goes. Everything is new to them!

And finally, we discussed the three tiers of the priestly ministry, bishop, priest and deacon. They did have quite a few questions here. I brought up apostolic succession without having prepared for it and I basically fumbled through that, trying to find the right words even though I understand it for myself. But in the end they had some sense of the differences between the three layers of holy orders. One asked how many bishops are there, and while I couldn’t give her an exact count, I explained that we are in the archdiocese of Detroit with an archbishop and several auxiliary bishops, and then there are the near by dioceses of Lansing and Saginaw and Grand Rapids, and that’s just part of the state of Michigan. They also asked how does one go about becoming a priest. I gave a little explanation about the calling, and then attending seminary.

The guidelines say to prepare for an hour and a half, but based on the timing of the youth catechist joining us the last two times, just over an hour of material is more in line with what is happening in the sessions that I have been participating in. It’s probably better for the participants anyway, to get smaller bites of information. I am on the schedule for next Sunday, which is All Saints. I have a lot of information about saints so preparing should be easier, but I have the kids next week, an 11 year old and a 14 year old, so I will have to modify what I do to fit discussion for kids.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2009 9:36 am

    Wow, you’ve jumped right in….most people in your situation are much more tentative. Thanks for the post.

    • catholicwideweb permalink
      October 26, 2009 12:04 pm

      thank you too. as for the tenativeness, i know i should be too, but something’s different this time, i mean for this activity. the only thing i can figure is i ask the Lord to stay beside me and he is!

      • October 26, 2009 8:51 pm

        I mean that it’s good that you are not tentative, but are jumping right in! I was telling my wife today that you are really showing good initiative in this course, more like what someone in their second year would have, rather than someone who is just starting out.

      • catholicwideweb permalink
        October 26, 2009 9:07 pm

        hehe, we’re saying the same thing. i am shocked at myself, that i am even doing this, let alone showing good initiative!! question for you, christian (or anyone else), i’m not glum in the sessions, but i have read that we have to be very welcoming and encouraging and etc. to help keep the catechumens at ease. i am so focused on trying to say the right thing that i don’t always have the correct social graces for this activity. any pointers? thanks.

  2. October 26, 2009 9:40 am

    Here in S.C. it’s always useful to say that the offices of priest, deacon, and bishop are all found in the Epistles & Acts.

    • catholicwideweb permalink
      October 26, 2009 12:04 pm

      very good addition. i will add it to my notes. thanks!

  3. October 27, 2009 1:56 pm

    “very welcoming and encouraging and etc. to help keep the catechumens at ease.”
    My opinion is that’s mostly important the first meeting or two, but then the emphasis shifts to learning about the Cathoic faith. I mean, they’re choosing to be there, it’s not like you’re trying to sell them timeshares or something!

    • catholicwideweb permalink
      October 27, 2009 3:33 pm

      sounds good, thanks.

  4. October 29, 2009 9:38 am

    Do you know Carlos at He just started teaching 6th grade this year and now is also on his parish RCIA team.

    He’s like you, jumped in the deep end right off the bat!

    • catholicwideweb permalink
      October 29, 2009 9:46 am

      no, i’m not familiar with him, i’ll check out his website. thanks.

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