Each day began with praise and worship, opportunities for prayer, a retreat, Eucharistic adoration, and reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The topics of “Evangelization,” “Meeting Jesus,” and “Sacred Scripture,” led the schedule and were followed by topics which addressed the missionary call of the catechist, the Church, sacraments, morality, and prayer.
The catechist formation is based on the Archbishop of Detroit, the Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron’s call for evangelization. As he wrote in his pastoral letter Unleash the Gospel, “For Christ’s disciples in the Church of Detroit to be able to answer his call to evangelize, they need to have the appropriate formation. As Paul shows in this passage in Ephesians, the role of leaders in the Church is not to do all the ministry but to ‘equip the holy ones for the work of ministry’—that is, to mobilize, form and train all the members for carrying out their mission of building up the Church (Guidepost 4).”
Lizandro Barba, a catechist at St. Alfred Parish in Taylor, Michigan, had his faith deepened through the stories shared by the people at his table. “I struggled with not knowing why we did certain things,” Barba said. “I gained a sense of meaning and fulfillment in doing the work of Jesus, so that as a catechist I can teach little kids and others.”
The participants also learned more about the certificate and degree programs offered by the Institute for Lay Ministry, and the generous financial assistance opportunities. Many attendees enrolled in other programs at Sacred Heart to continue the education gained from the catechetical training.
Laurie Weber, a catechist at St. Joseph Parish in Trenton, Michigan, shared that although she has been Catholic all her life, she was deeply moved by the depth of the teaching—particularly about using lectio divina, a form of meditation—to help her young students hear God speak to them through Sacred Scripture. “It was one of the best experiences of my life,” she said. “Anyone who wants to know more about their Catholic faith should just come. Your faith is going to blossom like never before. I know mine has.”
For more information or to register for future catechist formation topics or other catechetical education opportunities in the Archdiocese of Detroit, visit aod.org/catechist.