Catechists gather for lunch. More than 600 catechists gathered for the annual congress held at The Lantana in Randolph. Pilot photo/ Neil W. McCabe
RANDOLPH -- Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley delivered the keynote address Oct. 25 to more than 600 religious educators from both Spanish and English communities of the archdiocese at the 2008 Catechetical Congress.
In his keynote address to the English speaking catechists, the cardinal said if Catholics truly believed that Christ was the key to salvation, teaching the faith to our youth would be an imperative, not a choice.
“Evangelization is the mission of the Church, which is itself an extension of Christ, who is the ‘magister,’ the teacher,” he said.
“The mission of the Church is about making disciples and helping people respond to the call of holiness by being part of a faith-filled, worshiping community struggling to be faithful to the Gospel,” he said.
The cardinal called on the catechists to reach out to both committed Catholics and the un-churched to help them grow and develop their faith. But, he made a special plea for catechists to reach out to fallen-away Catholics on those occasions that they find themselves in church, such as Christmas, Easter, weddings and funerals.
The cardinal said catechists need to welcome home inactive Catholics who have stormed off, dozed off or fallen through the cracks.
“There are 17 million people in the witness protection program of the Catholic Church,” he said.