The essential truths of our Roman Catholic faith and tradition must be known, shared and lived. (from The Catechist in the Third Millennium) Parents and the parish are in partnership in sharing the responsibility of educating the children in the faith.
“Parents are the first and foremost catechists who plant the seeds of faith long before participation in any formal catechetical programs. This childhood religious awakening which takes place in the family is irreplaceable. . . . Parents teach powerfully by the way they live and practice their Catholic Christian Faith. It is within the family setting more than anywhere else that faith formation takes place. It is here that attitudes toward God, the Church, self and others are first learned. . . . The family is the place where Christian education is more witnessed to than taught, more occasional than systematic, more on-going than structured . . .”
During the Religious Education classes, the children learn about the teachings of Jesus and about our Catholic faith through lessons given by catechists. All catechists dedicate their time and talents, voluntarily, and witness the Gospel by practicing what they teach. A catechist is at once a teacher and a minister who seeks to make the faith a living, conscious and active faith. “Catechists are those who are called to serve through teaching, witness, prayer, service and building community. . . . They . . . take seriously their responsibility to support parents as the primary catechists . . .”
(All quotes are from The Catechist in the Third Millennium published by the New York State Catholic Conference.)
The catechists are the backbone of the Religious Education Program. Each of these women and men give more than an hour’s time each week to serving the children. In addition to the lesson and its preparation, they take a very real interest in the children and their faith lives, doing all they can to share the Good News of Jesus.
The Safe Environment Program of the Diocese of Brooklyn mandates that all volunteers who serve children attend the Protecting God’s Children child sexual abuse awareness training, as well as undergo background checks. All of St. Andrew’s catechists have done so.