Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Parish Priest Seen as Premier Catechist

MADRID, Spain, FEB. 25, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The priest is the premier catechist of a parish, and catechists need the presence of the parish priest to maintain their motivation, said the prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.

Cardinal Cláudio Hummes said this today while speaking at the Faculty of Theology San Dámaso in Madrid on "The Priest and the Ministry of Catechesis."

The priest is "the premier catechist of the parish," he said, adding that "catechists need the presence of the parish priest to be motivated."

"Many parish priests don't accompany their catechists," said the cardinal. He said that the work of the priest is "to watch the fundamental orientation of the catechesis."

The cardinal said that a "unity between faith and life" is necessary, underlining that the finality of catechesis is "to open the heart and prepare it for a total cohesion with Jesus Christ."

The prelate gave several characteristics for the work of a catechist, which should be "a process of initiation into the life of faith." He said catechists foster "a life of faith in community," that catechesis is a "permanent process in faith education," and "the connection that leads to Jesus Christ."

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