January 20, 1967




MASS FOR CATECHISTS – Bishop Timothy Manning celebrates Mass for delegates in International Hotel ballroom during Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Congress: Ten priests distributed Communion to thousands. Saturday Mass was the largest gathering during congress. Layman's perfection begins at the altar, delegates were told.

CCD Congress Given Insights on Apostolate

Catechetical authorities offered a broad spectrum of insights on the apostolate of religious instruction at the Southern California Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Congress last weekend at the International Hotel.

The role of the layman, as a Catholic, is to leave a Catholic impact upon the city of man, the community, the world. This has been made crystal clear at the Second Vatican Council according to Msgr. John Scanlan of San Francisco.

Msgr. Scanlan, who directs San Francisco's CCD program,  was the principal speaker at the opening assembly on Friday evening.

He also gave a three-hour Saturday morning on use of the liturgy in teaching religion.

Internal Impact Essential

In order to, perfect his role as a Catholic in the modern world the layman must begin, according to Msgr. Scanlan, before the altar of God.

Before he can effect a Christian influence upon the world, the city, neighborhood, the layman must change himself.

“Pride, stubbornness, selfishness are resisting factors to the work God wants bring about in us," Msgr. Scanlan said.

Bishop John J. Ward, who presided at the Friday night evening assembly, reminded that participation in the liturgy is one of the fundamental principles of the Council's Institution on the Liturgy.

“But all will be so much play-acting unless we make it apart of ourselves. Let externals be the least important. The internal impact is essential. It is our very selves who must be changes.

Fr. Sean Quinlan, professor of the New Testament at the Catholic University of America School of Theology, spoke on “The Bible and Catechetics” at the Saturday morning general session.

The Bible is a very difficult work, but its words are full of 

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able for the older teenagers, he said.

"From beginning to end, love and mercy should dominate. The good news is that Jesus Christ came to heal us."

Cardinal Speaks

In addition to his address at the general session, Fr. Quinlan lectured at group sessions on "The Mass and Modern Catechetics" and on "Scripture."

His Eminence James Francis Cardinal McIntyre presided at Saturday morning's general session and spoke briefly after Fr. Quinlan's address.

His Eminence noted that it was his first public appearance "after a few weeks of restriction of vision." He had come to the realization, he said, that vision goes beyond the physical, that it is intellectual and spiritual."

He was happy to see "the People of God, truly, in Los Angeles;" he added.

Referring to Fr. Quinlan's talk, he emphasized again the value of the Scriptures and of motivated teachers like those before him.

"At no time were you needed more to bring to all people the realization of the existence of God, the reality of the presence of God and the divinity of Christ," His Eminence declared.

"The contribution you are making to our country is inestimable," he added.

Knowledge Prerequisite

"What we teach is a Person, not only things about God; we teach Christ," William J. Reedy told the Saturday evening general session.

The director of catechetics for the William H. Sadlier Publishing Company and a catechetical teacher for 25 years, Mr. Reedy spoke on "The Church in the Modern World." Bishop Francis Furey of San Diego presided at the session.

The renewal of the Church, Mr. Reedy said, is based upon biblical, liturgical and the Christ-centered human dimensions of our Faith. "The present emphasis is upon Faith as a life to be live" service to others."

The human dimensions of catechizing, he added, "emphasize that revelation is an ongoing process: God reveals Himself in His fullness in the risen Lord Jesus Christ, active and present among us.

“Because Christ took on a human nature, all that is truly human is a revelation of God. A knowledge of man is a prerequisite to the knowledge of God, and ultimately the proper study of man is Christ."

Catechists, Mr. Reedy continued, must relate the history of salvation to their students' lives.

"By making, Christ's presence real to them, we already have them on the way to the Father," he said.

The need for more adult religious education and of bringing parents and whole families into the religious education of the children was stressed by several speakers.

Fr. Charles Sheslo of the University of .San Diego observed that American homes are tending to become glorified motels. "There is great need for adult education which will relate religion to life in the home," he said.

Fr. Donald. Casella of San Jose said that adults are the only ones who can be missionaries in the world here and now.

Basics Outlined

He outlined various means of adult education on the parish level: study clubs on the Scriptures or on the Council documents, leadership courses, training parents to prepare their children for first Communion, and neighborhood discussion groups to prepare parents to lead monthly family religious discussions.

Parents ate the first educators of the child, and the Confraternity can only help the parents do their job, he said.

In his discussion of “The Eucahritic Banquet a tsacrfice,” Fr. Sheslo said, “We cannot give ourselves to God unless we also give ourselves to people."

The primary reality of the Mass, he declared, "is the self-surrender, or sacrifice, of the Mystical Body of Christ in union with the sacrifice of Calvary and continuing today."

In an enrichment course on "Catechetics in the Light of the Council," Fr. Cyr Miller of San Rafael, co-author of the new On Our Way series, outlined five basic notes:

  • Catechesis today must be personalist. It must introduce a person to the Person of Christ, he said.

  • The catechist must be soaked in Sacred Scripture, soaked with the attitude of the word of God, the source.

  • The Incarnation took place in the real world. God reveals Himself through His creation. Our mission is to the world.

  • Catechesis must be open. We must be open to all values is the family of man.

  • The catechesis of community consists in a striving to make all men one in Christ.

Sister Maria de la Cruz Aymes, H.H.S., catechetical author, said in an address to a priests' meeting Friday that despite change, "what is fundamentally good and true will remain good and true forever.

"But our knowledge and expression of this goodness and truth must change, must expand.

"If our insight into truths of religion does not deepen, and our love for others does not grow to meet new and present needs, we shall cease to be sensitive to life around us.”

Questioned in regard to changes in wording and presentation of what parents commonly regard as the plain catechism, Sister said; "Let me clarify: I do not imply there is no need for correct, formulation of truths, but there are many ways of stating these truths to make them clear and relevant.

"To deny this would be equivalent to denying that the Holy Spirit is living and giving life to its Church."


Copyright 1967, 2005  The Tidings -- January 20, 1967


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