By Fr. Louis Molinelli, SDB, Province Delegate of Youth Ministry
In chapter two of his work, Don Bosco the Catechist, Fr. Isoardi begins the chapter with these words, "On the day of his First Mass, Don Bosco asked the Lord for a special grace: the efficacy of the Word. Thirty years afterwards he was able to say, 'It seems that the Lord heard my humble prayer.'"
When Don Bosco prepared to speak to the young, he followed a set of guidelines which become his catechetical method for us. We will summarize them below. Perhaps they can be good points of reflection for us as we plan our programs and our youth ministry this coming year. Don Bosco was ahead of his time, and he speaks to us today!
- Begin each sermon or lesson with a motivating theme, taken from some circumstance of the daily life of the young.
- Speak simply and slowly so that the young and others can understand. Sometimes it is good to begin a dialogue with the young to arouse some discussion.
- Be brief and down-to-earth. This is not a graduate course in theology, but a moment of catechesis.
- Select topics that apply to everyone. Tell stories and parables filling in the smallest details. This will keep the interest of the young until the end.
- Bear in mind your audience. You must evangelize in a way that will bring about understanding for them, not accolades for the catechist!
- Remember that we are called to teach the Catholic faith.We are entrusted with the greatest treasure of all: Scripture and Tradition. We have the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well as catechetical course frameworks for the teaching of Religion. We must be faithful to all the Church gives us.
- Finally, we must teach the young not only to be passive listeners to the Word of God but committed Catholic Christians who live a full life of faith.
May you all be blessed with a spirit of zeal in all of your evangelizing efforts for the salvation of souls!