I had an extremely shoddy upbringing in the Catholic faith, beginning with my own family. I wasn’t taught to treat the faith seriously, and therefore never took my education in the faith seriously. My only requirements were doing what I needed to do to finish my Holy Communion classes. This continued right up to receiving Confirmation. Only recently have I truly learned about and loved Catholicism. I brought these up because I’ve been feeling a call to try teaching the faith. I look at my own education in the faith growing up, and I feel a strong need to try and improve it for the next generation of Catholics. But I have no idea of even how to get started, and I’m afraid of leading souls down the wrong path if I try. But my CCD past as a child was so poor that I feel like not trying to improve it significantly would be equally as dangerous. Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated.
Call your parish and talk to the pastor and/or the DRE…I’m sure that they can help direct you.
Depending on where you live in relation to the home of your diocese or to a Catholic college, there may be educational programs available for you. A lot of seminaries and probably all colleges offer programs in “adult religious education” or you could take a regular class or two at a school. As ***JRKH ***said, your parish DRE should be able to direct you, or contact your diocese (check out their website for info on what programs are available and who to contact).
And I don’t think you are that different from many Catholics. Catholic Religious formation for lay people is generally not good. Most people enter into life as adult Catholics with no more than a basic grade school understanding of their faith, if that. Many people say that religious formation is primarily the responsibility of the parents, but that is a huge problem if the religious knowledge of the parents is poor, which it usually is. Most parishes that I have been familiar with have had little or no religious formation offerings after Confirmation, as if we have a fully formed faith and complete understanding at the age of 12 or 14. This has been a sad deficiency within the Church for a long time, and needs to be remedied. I hear talk about it from time to time, but little actual action (of course, many have told me that they offer such programs for adults, but few bite).
P.S. - I just noticed your location, Guam, which may be a problem, since they are unlikely to have a Catholic college or seminary, or one that offers programs for lay students. But that’s where the internet is valuable.
Try reading a section of the Catechism each day. I believe it is online for free.
We actually do have a seminary. Guam is predominantly Catholic. The Church is a big part of our culture. We have Catholic schools all over the island, but my family could not afford tuition, so we relied on getting our religious education from CCD. But I always thought seminaries are for prospective priests. Am I wrong?
My word, if every Catholic had a heart like yours our church would convert the whole world! Thank you for sharing your OP.
I would first recommend studying the faith for a little while. You cannot pass on what you don’t know…yet Beyond that, you can get yourself into a situation where you are teaching something and questions are asked of you that you don’t know the answer to nor do you know where to find the answer. It can be frustrating. Best to get acquainted with your faith before following this call to catechize.
Beyond study, keep praying and frequenting the sacraments of penance and communion. While it is easy to try to be Robo-Catholic the superhero, you can fall into the trap of early burn-out. Grace is a big part of this, because it is all for God’s glory. I find that if I try to do something on my own, God tends to gently remind me that it’s He who is in control.:rolleyes:
Thanks for the inspiring post!
Yes, but some, if not many, in the U.S. have opened their doors to people not preparing for the priesthood, and are offering graduate degrees (Masters) in various church related fields, such as pastoral ministry or theology. Even if the seminary in your area does not, you could contact them about any adult education programs they may have.
My other suggestion would be to organize a study group in your parish or community with a priest, seminarian or someone with expertise to assist and guide you. Hopefully there are others like you who want to grow in their understanding of their faith. You could contact the diocese office to see if anyone there could assist you.
Reading the Catechism is fine, but having someone to discuss it with and to ask questions of is very helpful.
I am glad you have taken a deeper interest in your faith and the Catholic Church - that is great news!!
I experienced a similar awakening a few years ago. I began with the obvious issues I didn’t understand - why do Catholics follow the pope? Where does the Eucharist come from? Catholics pray to saints?
Sometimes, especially cradel Catholics, take knowledge about the Catholic Church for granted. It’s easy to attend CCD classes or even Catholic school and still walk away without a true and vivid understanding.
I always followed the policy “If I can’t explain it to someone, then I don’t understand it”. For example, if I can’t explain to someone about how Jesus established the papacy, then I need to keep reading until I can.
Right now it probably seems so overwhelming, but pretty soon you’ll begin to feel more confident! Dig into Scripture and the CCC! Truly powerful!
Best of luck. I am glad you have taken an interest and really understand exactly what you’re saying about wanting to make sure the next generation knows their faith!
Catholic Education Institutions conduct paid courses (there should be one available online) for starters and your local Priest should point you in the right direction initially.
Windmill thank you for your words - God has worked through you at the right time for me - experienced last week a couple of callings that half back fired, they were obviously delivered not quite the way God, Jesus and Our Lady Mary had wanted leaving me with a rosy face!
Love, light and peace to all
These sites will help you to study on your own.
This site is good for reviewing your faith.
Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 1974- basic review of doctrine- outline
Catechism of Catholic Church
I, along with millions of other people are learning a great deal from you Fred Conty, may God bless you in all of your life, giving to so many others and selflessness.