Catechists are faithful witnesses and true disciples of Jesus, says Archbishop Costelloe
New candidates receiving a blessing from Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB during the annual Catechist Commissioning Mass held on Thursday 14 November at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan.
By Amanda Murthy
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB commended Archdiocesan catechists willingness to say “yes” to the invitation to take up their challenging role and for recognising that “faith is not a possession to be jealously guarded but rather a gift be shared”.
Speaking at the annual 2019 Catechist Commissioning Mass on Thursday 14 November at St Mary’s Cathedral, the celebration is a collaborative effort between the Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) Catechist Service, Office of Christian Initiation, and Personal Advocacy Service.
The celebration was attended by more than 450 people, including catechists, their families, Archdiocesan agency staff, and concelebrated by more than 20 Parish Priests.
The Catechist Commissioning Mass held on 14 November, was attended by more than 450 people, including catechists, their families, Archdiocesan agency staff, and concelebrated by more than 20 Parish Priests. Photo: Ron Tan.
This year, the liturgy was preceded with a quadrennial commissioning ceremony, to acknowledge the achievements of those who have attained important milestones in their formation and their journey as Catechists. 86 new catechists were commissioned, 28 received the special Archbishop’s Award and 38 received the highest recognition – in the form of a Papal Blessing for 10 or more years of service as Catechists and fulfilling the requirements of ongoing formation.
During his homily, Archbishop Costelloe thanked the catechists present, for being open to accepting their vocation to teach the faith in the Archdiocese, despite the fears and doubts they may encounter or poses.
“’The Kingdom of God is among you’ are important words for every Christian disciple, and especially significant for those who, through God’s grace, have come to understand more deeply how important our Catholic faith is,” Archbishop Costelloe explained.
Archbishop Costelloe stands with some Perth Archdiocese Agency staff at the conclusion of the Catechist Commissioning Mass held on 14 November at St Marys Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan.
Archbishop Costelloe went on to admit that the role of a catechist today is much more challenging, because in today’s society, it is no longer obvious to many people that the Kingdom of God exists or indeed, that God exists.
“While many people profess to be believers in one way or another, or in one thing or another, so many people including, I am sure, the families of some of the children you teach, live lives of what we might call practical atheism,” Archbishop Costelloe cited.
“They believe in God, and may well turn to God in times of crisis, but they live their day-to-day lives with little or no thought of God, and often make major life-decisions with no reference to God.”
Despite this fact, Archbishop Costelloe stated that as a Christian community, we are a people of hope.
“In the midst of the challenges we will inevitably face, that sharing in the passion of Jesus which is part of the life of every disciple, it is good for us to remember this: as Jesus said to his first disciples, so he says to you tonight: You did not choose me; I chose you and I commissioned you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last (John 5:16).
“And because he has chosen you, you can be sure that just as Peter and the disciples encountered Jesus in the midst of the storm on the lake of Galilee, so Jesus will come to you and say to you the same words he spoke to them: Have courage, I am with you. Do not be afraid (Matt 14:27).
“Thank you for being faithful witnesses and true disciples of Jesus. May you continue to experience the strength of his grace and the gift of courage and wisdom given by the Holy Spirit,” Archbishop Costelloe concluded.
CEWA Catechist Service Team Leader Pina Ford addressed the congregation at the conclusion of Mass, thanking all those involved for contributing to such a joyful celebration.