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Imitate Christ in service to others, Pope urges catechists

Catholic World News - September 30, 2013

Pope Francis warned against the dangers of “complacency, comfort, worldliness in our lifestyles and in our hearts,” as he celebrated Mass on September 29 for catechists concluding a pilgrimage for the Year of Faith.

Over 100,000 people filled St. Peter’s Square, and spilled out onto the Via della Conciliazione, as the Pope celebrated the Sunday Mass. Reflecting on the Gospel story of Lazarus and the rich man, the Pope said that a reliance on material good can “ultimate rob us of our face, our human face.”

Catechists, the Pope said, can counteract this temptation if they can “keep the memory of God alive; they keep it alive in themselves and they are able to revive it in others.” He proposed the Virgin Mary as a model for catechists, since when she sees God’s miraculous work in her own life, she responds by going to help her elderly relative Elizabeth.

“A Catechist,” the Pope said, “is a Christian who puts this remembrance at the service of proclamation, not to seem important, not to talk about himself or herself, but to talk about God.”

The Pope had spoken on the same theme the previous day, when he held an audience with participants in an International Congress on Catechesis, organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. “Catechesis is a pillar for education in faith,” he told them.

The Pope told the Saturday audience that there are three fundamental aspects to effective catechesis: being familiar with Jesus in the sacraments and in prayer; imitating Christ by serving others; and “not being afraid to go with Him to the peripheries.” He added that those who teach the faith should always have confidence that the Lord will support them. “Jesus did not say, Go out and get by,’” the Pontiff observed. “Jesus said, Go, I am with you!’”

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