This past Saturday our diocesan Formation for Mission hosted our annual Day for Catechists at Portsmouth Cathedral.  Here's a special report of the day from our Sr. Veronica with photos from the talented Ana Dobson:

The Formation for Mission team welcomed over 140 catechists (our largest gathering yet!) to Portsmouth Cathedral on Saturday 20th October.

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The theme for the day chosen by the FFM team was “The mission of the catechist”. We began the day in the cathedral with a short time of prayer before returning to the hall to listen to our guest speakers. It was with great joy we welcomed back to the diocese Hannah Vaughan Spruce who is now working to promote “Divine Renovation” throughout the UK. She gave us a very informative and helpful reflection on the mission of catechists. It is very much a calling from the Lord to proclaim the Message of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ. She left us with three very helpful thoughts to put into action:

“Divert daily, withdraw weekly and abandon annually!”

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As busy catechists Hannah reminded us that we need to make time to rest and pray –each day we should find time to pray in the midst of our busy lives – each week we should withdraw from being overactive and give time to worship and praise the Lord – each year we should try to give a dedicated time away, perhaps in retreat to spend time with the Lord to allow him to refresh us in our work. Some very wise thoughts if we are to avoid burn out! We need to grow in the strength of God himself who will fill us with graces we need for the mission of being a catechist.

Fr John O’Shea the Chaplain to the Called and Gifted team assisted by Anne Marie Fletcher helped us to understand that in calling us to be Catechists the Holy Spirit gifts us with the necessary charisms to carry out the mission of being a catechist. This may take a variety of forms often in very ordinary ways. It not only in the teaching charism that we operate as a catechist. All the charisms assist us in this task in many different ways. Catechetical work needs evangelists, encouragers, administrators, helpers, intercessors, hospitality teams, wisdom, creative giftedness as well as teachers.

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Just before Mass we had the awards ceremony which acknowledges the wonderful work of individual parishes who have participated in the Essential Catechist Training course run by Sr. Hyacinthe. We also had the Awards from Maryvale Institute for the MCC (Maryvale Certificate in Catechesis), the Certificate in Parish Mission and Ministry and the deacon’s Catechetical studies course. Nine students graduated from these courses this year, many having persevered (some for 4 years!) to finish in spite of very busy schedules. Congratulations to all who have taken the time to attend these course offered by FFM. Our morning finished with a commissioning of all the catechists present by Bishop Philip and then a beautiful celebration of the Eucharist with a very inspiring and affirming homily by Bishop Philip.

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After a wonderful lunch with time to socialise and network we had time to work in smaller discussion groups sharing with one another examples of good catechetical practice from around the diocese.

Our day finished with a time of Adoration with the Blessed Sacrament. Grateful thank to Deacon Craig Aburn for celebrating leading us in Benediction to close our day in Portsmouth. As catechists left they received a personal piece of scripture to take away and reflect upon during the coming year.

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Many thanks to all who came and all those who assisted with the day. Looking forward to meeting you all again next year. (21st October 2019)


For more of Ana's photos, click HERE.

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