Adult Faith Formation is perhaps the most fundamentally vital type of catechesis. St. John Paul II went as far as to call it the “principal form of catechesis” because “it is addressed to persons who have the greatest responsibilities and the capacity to live the Christian message in its fully developed form”. (John Paul II, Catechesi Tradendae 43). With this in mind, we must strive to give this vital ministry pride of place and never be content to allow it to remain a mere afterthought. The General Directory for Catechesis reminds us of what such formation should look like and the essential role that catechists play in this ministry:
“Adult catechesis concerns persons who have a right and a duty to bring to maturity the seed of faith sown in them by God. It is addressed to individuals who are charged to fulfill social responsibilities of various types and to those who are also prey to all kinds of changes and crises, sometimes profound. The faith of adults, therefore, must be continually enlightened, developed and protected, so that it may acquire that Christian wisdom which gives sense, unity, and hope to the many experiences of personal, social, and spiritual life. Adult catechesis requires the accurate identification of the typical characteristics of Christian adults. It must translate them into objectives and content, and determine certain constants of presentation. It must establish the most effective methodological approaches and choose formats and models. The role and identity of the catechists who work with adults and their formation—the people who are responsible for the catechesis of adults in the community—are vitally important” (GDC 173).
Across the Diocese of Charleston, there are many and varied opportunities for adult religious education and faith formation. A parish that takes seriously adult faith formation generally offers numerous opportunities with great frequency. These can include bible studies, book clubs, parish missions, series with speakers, prayer groups, small Christian communities, retreats, service opportunities, online formation, etc. In addition, we invite all of the faithful to join us for any formational opportunities for catechists offered on the parish, deanery, and diocesan levels, including our webinar series. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further developing adult faith formation strategies in your parish.