Susan Barylo

Susan Barylo

May 2, 2016

Catechesis, or the teaching of the faith, is a life-long process of initial conversion, formation, education, growing, reflecting, praying, learning, pondering and ongoing conversation.

Its aim is to lead all God's people to an ever-deepening relationship with God.

So says Susan Barylo, director of catechesis and faith formation for the Edmonton Archdiocese. She along with Kathleen Nguyen, director of sacramental education, led a catechist in-service at the Pastoral and Administration Offices April 23. Almost 50 catechists from across the archdiocese attended the day-long event.

Barylo quoted extensively from the General Directory for Catechesis during her presentation.

Catechesis, she said, includes the initiation of adults, youth and children as well as the intentional and systematic effort to enable Catholics of all ages and states of life to grow in faith and discipleship.


"The definite aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but also in communion and intimacy with Jesus Christ."

Catechists have six definite tasks, the first of which is to promote knowledge of the faith by introducing and deepening knowledge of Scripture and tradition "in order to grasp the whole truth concerning God's saving plan in Jesus Christ," she said.

Catechists are also called to impart liturgical education, moral education, formation in prayer, education for community life and missionary initiation.

The reason the Church calls catechists to focus on forming adults is because "the majority of Catholics in (North America) are sacramentalized but not evangelized," Barylo said.


"They do not know that an explicit, personal attachment to Christ-personal discipleship-is normative Catholicism as taught by the apostles and reiterated time and time again by the popes, councils, and saints of the Church."

She illustrated her point with figures from the book Forming Intentional Disciples, which says "only 48 per cent of Catholics are absolutely certain that the God they believe in is a God with whom they could have a personal relationship."

"Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction," Barylo said quoting from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.