The Way of Catechesis: Exploring Our History, Renewing Our Ministry
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Drawing on more than forty years of experience as a catechist, parish DRE, textbook publisher, and founding director of the Echo Program at the University of Notre Dame, Gerard F. Baumbach explores contemporary catechesis in light of its history. This landmark book is an essential resource for every catechetical leader and will spur a new appreciation of the opportunities and challenges of catechesis in the Church today.
The Way of Catechesis offers a new and timely perspective on the vital ministry of catechesis at a pivotal moment in the work of New Evangelization. Gerard F. Baumbach shows how today’s catechists can follow the pedagogy of Jesus, “the way, the truth, and the life,” and he invites readers to an understanding of essential dimensions for handing on the faith and living in union with Christ the Teacher.
Baumbach asks readers to consider how key issues and questions throughout the Church’s history shed light on today’s questions and concerns. Numerous reflection questions help the reader prayerfully reflect upon and personally integrate the lessons in their own lives. For example:
- What is Jesus teaching you through the Beatitudes about the need for a new evangelization in your life as you seek to promote the Church’s mission to evangelize?
- What does our history teach us about inviting Catholics who are distant from the Church to find the way back to this community of faith?
- What is your earliest memory of hearing about the Second Vatican Council? What questions did you have? What questions about Vatican II do you have now?
Drawing from his own experience, study, and implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Baumbach highlights four characteristics—belonging, believing, discerning, and living—that help the reader connect the history of catechesis with their own faith and practice in the Church today.
Each chapter also includes a broad look at highlights of some important dimensions of the catechetical climate, weaving together influences that affected the era. In addition, Baumbach explains the role of key thinkers throughout the history of catechesis, including Cyril of Jerusalem, Augustine, Peter Canisius, Charles Borromeo, and Josef Jungmann.
Those engaged in catechesis and evangelization at every level will find much to enrich their ministry and deepen their commitment to the Church in this extraordinary book.