News » European Catechesis Congress
11.05.2012 - CCEE
Christian initiation in the context of the new evangelisation
Final News Release from the XII European Congress for Catechesis
Rome, Italy, 7-10 May 2012
The XII European Congress for Catechesis has concluded in Rome. The meeting, promoted by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), was attended by about 60 delegates, including bishops, experts and national directors of offices and national bodies responsible for catechesis in Europe’s Bishops’ Conferences.
Preparation for the meeting was co-ordinated by CCEE’s “Catechesis, Schools and Universities” Commission, chaired by Mgr Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
The Congress and the theme (Christian initiation in the context of the new evangelisation with particular focus on children and young people aged from 7 to 16) falls within the Church’s reflection on the new evangelisation in the year in which the Church commemorates the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and in the context of the Year of Faith.
The Congress was a European meeting of leaders (from Russia to Ireland) involved in the co-ordination of catechesis in their respective countries and who, over these four days, compared on-going experiences, exchanged information and discussed projects and common problems.
Christian initiation is closely connected to the new evangelisation of young people, parents and the whole community. Catechesis should not therefore be seen on the fringes of the new evangelisation, but is an integral part of it. Therefore it is necessary to link the new evangelisation to the tradition of the faith (traditio fidei), understood as transmission of the content and experience, personal and communal, of the faith.
Catechists are real people! They are aware of the difficulties of the current situation, marked by many elements of a break with the past and secularisation, but at the same time they are enthusiastic people, passionate communicators of the Gospel.
A clear element emerging both from the survey and reflections at the meeting, is that Christian initiation is certainly a personal experience, but cannot be fully experienced if it is outside the community. It is the community which catechises!
Catechesis is not solely addressed to children but is an experience which involves everyone. Catechists and ‘catechising’ are, at the same time, protagonists and objects of catechesis. Therefore, it is not possible to think of a catechesis without caring for the catechists, families and the community in general. The participants recalled that faith can only be communicated if the person him / herself is living the faith.
Catechesis is not just the transmission of concepts, but also the experience of the encounter with Christian art, the fruit of a lived faith capable of transmitting the beauty of God. So, over the course of the meeting, the participants visited the Church of San Clemente and the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.
Finally, catechesis is not just indoctrination but it is above all experience of God. It must be recognised that the child, too, is open to the transcendent and must be helped to develop this friendship with Christ.
On Wednesday 9 May 2012, the participants participated at the Mass for Europe in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Rome). Exactly on Europe Day, CCEE wanted to entrust the fears and hopes of the citizens of the European continent to the intercession of the Patron Saints of Europe: saints who lived in times of crisis with courage and following the tradition with faithfulness and creativity.
The Council of the Episcopal Conferences of Europe (CCEE) includes the current 33 European Episcopal Conferences, represented by their Presidents, and the Archbishops of Luxembourg, of the Principality of Monaco, the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus and the Bishop of Chişinău (Moldova Rep.) and the Eparchial Bishop of Mukachevo. The President is Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Primate of Hungary; the Vice-Presidents are Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa, and Mgr Józef Michalik, Archbishop of Przemyśl, Poland. The General Secretary is Mgr Duarte da Cunha. The Secretariat is based at St Gallen (Switzerland). www.ccee.ch
3 Catechesi News Release 11.05.2012 IT.doc