The second task of Catechesis is to promote a knowledge of the meaning of the liturgy and the sacraments. It is the in the highest form of liturgy – the Liturgical celebration of the Mass where we encounter the source and summit of our faith – Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharist is the sacrament of sacraments becuase it is Christ Himself we receive. In the liturgy the people of God gather and the human and divine have what has often been called a “divine exchange”.
The liturgy according to the Catechism is “The participation of the People of God in the work of God” (CCC 1069). Therefore, in all places where children, youth and adults are catechized (taught the faith) it is important that catechists share how the liturgy gives us the ability to participate in the work of God.
A Sacrament is a sign instituted by Christ to give grace. In each of the sacraments there is a rite that is celebrated. This too is a part of liturgy where when we receive a sacrament we participate in the work of God and we actually encounter and receive God’s divine life. The sacraments perpetuate Christ’s promise to always be with us (cf. Mt. 28:20).
Why Is This Task So Important For Catechists?
The National Directory for Catechesis says that “Christ’s saving action in the Paschal Mystery is celebrated in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, where the closest communion with Jesus on earth is possible as Catholics are able to receive his living Flesh and his Precious Blood in Holy Communion. Catechesis should promote ‘an active, conscious genuine participation in the liturgy of the Church, not merely by explaining the meaning of the ceremonies, but also by forming the minds of the faithful for prayer, for thanksgiving, for repentance, for praying with confidence, for a community spirit, and for understanding correctly the meaning of the creeds’“(pg. 60 & cf. GDC no. 25).
Catechists are to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ and help those they catechize know what we believe and why we believe it. It is more than passing on information but it is also helping form and mold the faithful into the people God has created them to be. That is why it is so important to help the faithful come to know how to pray and to give thanks, to be repentant and have confidence that God hears their prayers. In addition, the liturgy is the place where the faithful gather to worship God and encounter Him. It is essential that catechists link what we believe with an ability to come into greater communion with God through our “active, conscience participation” in the liturgy and the sacraments.