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Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 10 October 2007 07:24
Theresa offers this arresting comment on the Catholic Alpha in Austria post.

A fellow lay Dominican and I were comparing notes on our experiences teaching CCD classes. I had been a substitute for a few weeks and was increasingly amazed at how much the children didn't know. I shared with him my dismay and illustrated it with what happened at the confirmation retreat.

The confirmation class made a retreat day at the John Paul II center in DC. We were standing in front of replicas of Bethelehem and Jerusalem. The students were asked where Jesus was born. No one knew! Even when given the hint, "its in a Christmas carol." They didn't know where he died either. These were eight graders.

His comment was, "after teaching for two years, I went to our pastor and said, 'what these kids need is evangelization not catechesis.' I think that is true of good number of the people in the pews. Folks don't know Jesus - they don't know about him and they don't KNOW him. There is little conscious relationship.

This is why the work you are doing is so important.

Even for me, this is stunning - 13 year old cradle Catholics on a confirmation retreat who could probably hack into NATO's computer system but don't know where Jesus was born.

A professor of theology at a major Catholic university who is a reader of ID wrote me yesterday and made a similar comment:

"I particularly liked your observation in another post that evangelization--the church's deepest identity--is also entirely foreign to its sensibility or culture. That is very true, and we both know how such talk repeatedly gets classed as "not Catholic." I grew up in the remnants of a Catholic ghetto in NYC and such talk would have been inconceivable even a decade ago; in many ways, it still is. But, something is afoot, and we have to move forward as a church. Your labors are one such effort . . ."

Thanks for the affirmation and encouraging words.

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