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Catechist Development

Spirituality and the Catechist

By Dr. Gerard F. Baumbach
Dr. Gerard F. Baumbach

Dr. Baumbach is Director of the Center for Catechetical Initiatives, Institute for Church Life, and Concurrent Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He was Executive Vice President and Publisher at William H. Sadlier, Inc. and was the initiator of Sadlier's original We Believe program. Dr. Baumbach is an internationally known author and speaker.


Springtime is for many of us a time to delight in planting flowers or sprucing up a patch of property (well, really not our property, since God calls us to be stewards of the land and all creation). But for people whose livelihoods depend on the soil and the planting of corn, spring planting is a far more serious matter. Too much rain affects the quantity of corn to be planted, forcing farmers to hope for the best as they consider adjusting plans for seeding God's soil.

Near the end of the General Directory for Catechesis we read: "May patience and trust abide in the spirituality of the catechist, since it is God himself who sows, gives growth, and brings to fruition the seed of his word, planted in good soil and tended with love" (289).

The eternal Sower invites us to join in the plantings of the heart, tending with love what we are charged to protect. From deep within we experience movement toward the Source of life, the God and Father of all. We may be tempted to describe this movement as our spirituality, but, in reality, it is the Spirit's promptings of the heart that propel us forward. Of such stuff is "spirituality" made: sharing in God's bringing to fruition all that has been planted. We are good soil. As a people baptized in the Spirit of Christ, we are indeed good soil, rich in the word of God and saturated with a baptismal call that marks us for life. That is why it may be difficult sometimes to live what we profess: despite tendencies to seek temporary and ultimately unsatisfying relief in the midst of periodic pain and loss, we do not abandon the Sower but dig deeper, linking ourselves to the One who died once for all.

"The sower sows the word" (Mark 4:14). Remember, we are good soil.

Ways to Implement

In Class

Which child in my group needs "extra watering" this week? Some children may benefit from an "extra awareness" of the catecist's presence. Offer a smile, turn your head and give a quick and reassuring glance, or simply pause and pray with children whose hearts are sore but whose lives are rich in the love of God.

At Home

Explore with your children images of planting from your own life.

Begin with two or three words related to planting. (For example: Child: dirt flower; Adult: life, friendships, love) Then ask family members to add to the images. Combine your images into statements in a prayer of praise of God. For example: "God, our hands get dirty when we play and plant. But we know that under the dirt are seeds. Someday there will be flowers. We will not forget your love." Plant something together and pray your prayer.






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