Nineteen catechists from parishes around Tasmania were formally instituted at St Mary’s Cathedral in Hobart recently, one of the first groups to be instituted in Australia. Source: Archdiocese of Hobart.
During Sunday Mass on March 26, the 16 women and three men were instituted by Archbishop Julian Porteous into the Ministry of Lay Catechists established by Pope Francis in May 2021 as a form of service to meet the pastoral needs of the local Church.
For the catechists, it was the culmination of two years of formation under the guidance of Christine Wood, Director of the Office of Evangelisation and Catechesis.
“This was an historic moment in the life of the Church in Tasmania,” Dr Wood said.
“It’s such a blessing that so many have heard God’s call to participate in catechetical ministry and showed great enthusiasm and endurance in completing the two-year formation program.
“It’s significant that lay people are now being instituted into this ‘stable’ catechetical ministry. Previously, the ministry was restricted to clergy and religious.”
Addressing the catechists in his homily, Archbishop Porteous emphasised the importance of their role.
“I am grateful for your offer of service and pray that God will bless your work and make it fruitful,” he said.
“You stand in a line of illustrious men and women over the ages who have dedicated themselves to handing on the faith.”
Catechist Lynelle Davis, who teaches at Star of the Sea Catholic School in George Town, said being instituted after two years of formation was an exciting moment.
“We’ve been chosen and we’re accepted and we’ve passed through what we needed to, and now we’re being acknowledged,” she said.
The catechists completed the Catechist Formation Program, which included an overview of the Catholic faith, study of Scripture, Catechetical Methodology, and courses in RCIA and Catechumenate, or Sacramental Preparation and Christian Discipleship.
Most are now equipped for ministry in RCIA, adult faith formation, children’s sacramental preparation, evangelisation, marriage preparation, baptismal preparation, Endow Women’s Groups, and bible studies.
History made as first lay catechists instituted (By Catherine Sheehan, Archdiocese of Hobart)