by Mary Crowley
‘The Lord calls me his friend! Wow!’ This was the reaction of one of the 61 catechists of the parishes of the West of the diocese who gathered with Bishop John Wilson at the parish of the Sacred Heart, Ruislip on 6th October.
Bishop John’s desire to meet with catechists in his pastoral area was the impetus for a day of catechesis, prayer and reflection. He called us to ponder the words of Jesus: ‘I call you friends.’ (John 15:15), moving one catechist to remark, ‘I was reminded that my walk with God is a relationship and not just a religion.’ Bishop John said that Jesus calls but we each have to respond and this response leads us to prayer. He led us in a guided meditation, a time of stillness and prayer for ourselves, but at the same time an experience which we could use with others as an encouragement to find the time we need for God.
Catechists had the opportunity to share their own experiences, the joys and the challenges. Three catechists gave witness about their own ministry, which found a resonance in all of us.
Some of the catechists gave their own responses to the day: ‘Bishop John’s presentation on prayer and friendship with the Lord gave us much to ponder. With Adoration and prayer it was an oasis, a mini retreat. It was good to meet with other catechists in the area and hear about the wonderful catechesis taking place in other parishes. Like the apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration, it was good to be there!’
‘The creator of the universe calls me his friend; what a great comfort to know this truth. When life’s challenges hit me, I know that I can lean on my friend Jesus and choose faith over fear.’
‘I have realised that I really need to do more to provide opportunities for my catechists to deepen our relationship with God. Maybe a good way would be to gather together once a month to pray and be in the presence of God, as a great way to create a stronger and authentic bond between us.’