“Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary use words.” Often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, these words can be used to emphasize the importance of the silent witness, the implicit or wordless sharing of faith that Catholics can give to others by living Jesus’ love in everyday life. Church teaching affirms this aspect of sharing our faith: “Through this wordless witness these Christians stir up irresistible questions in the hearts of those who see how they live… Here we have an initial act of evangelization….” (Pope Paul VI, Evangelization in the Modern World, 21)
As a parish catechetical leader I am responsible for the formation of catechists. I used to focus primarily on methodology and classroom management because the catechists seemed to have the most questions in these areas. Now, however, I have a different perspective.
One of the catalysts for my changed focus is Pope Francis’ address to catechists in September 2013 during the International Congress on Catechesis. He called catechists to view their ministry not as work, but rather as a vocation.