By Susan Gately - 11 July, 2015
We have to be careful not to have a privatised idea of ‘our Christ’ – a Christ who speaks to us in a complete personal way but not a Christ who goes beyond our own perception, the papal nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown has said.
This is why the study of the Catechism is so important, because it helps us to see the Lord in all his transfigured beauty, he told over 250 members of catechism study groups at the Third Annual Gathering of Catechism Studies in St Patrick’s College Maynooth earlier this week.
“By studying the catechism as you are doing in groups all over Ireland, we come in contact with the person of Jesus Christ. There’s no contradiction at all between studying the truths of our faith in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and knowing Jesus – it is the same thing,” the Nuncio said.
Archbishop Eamon Martin paid tribute to the people all over Ireland who are “committed to the study of the catechism” and in particular to Máirín Ní Shúilleabháin and the steering committee of the ‘Adult Studies of the Catechism of the Catholic Church’.
“The valuable work you are doing is truly a blessing on the life of the Church in this country. It is a blessing that is felt in our parishes, communities, homes and your local groups.”
Effective evangelisation involved being “wholly faithful to the deposit of faith”, he said.
“Never lose sight of the pearl of great price in the one holy Catholic Church. Your study of the catechism is a very effective way of helping all of us remain faithful to and nourish our apostolic mission.”
The Primate of All Ireland said the Holy Spirit was enriching the Church with charisms given to many people.
“We have to be able to recognise them, indentify and nourish them and give them space.” The initiative of studying the catechism in groups was a great example of this.
He recommended identifying “good people in the parish or diocese” and allowing them to “do the Spirit’s work”.
Among those present at the one day gathering in Maynooth was Gillian Doherty a young mother from Cork who shared what the effect of studying the catechism has been for her and her group.
“The Holy Spirit is guiding us, helping us discern what is asked of us,” she said.
Some had been drawn to work with young people, others in the world of business, others in pastoral councils, “drawing people not just to activities but to prayer”.
Gillian joined a group to “find solidarity with other young families” after her 3-year-old son complained about going to mass as his friends weren’t there.”
“They began to take children to Adoration on Saturdays. There were ten to start, now we have 30. It has helped my children in forming faith friendships.”