Catechists Hear Call To Encounter Christ In Scripture
During the 2017 Formation Day at the Diocese of Evansville’s Catholic Center, 140 catechists from parishes across our 12 counties heard a collective call to encounter Christ in Scripture and help others do the same. The Diocesan Office of Catechesis organized the Aug. 26 event.
Well-known author and speaker Joe Paprocki served as keynote presenter, and he suggested that the encounter requires us to have an understanding of some critical elements:
What the Bible is
How we encounter Christ in its pages
How we find things
How we interpret what we find
“When we want to enter into a relationship with someone we reveal ourselves,” Paprocki said. “As the relationship deepens, we reveal more. The Bible summarizes God’s attempt to enter into a relationship with us.
“… you’re introducing (students) to God,” Paprocki added. “We catechists facilitate an encounter with Christ.”
He said that people face two problems as they use the Bible as a tool for encountering Christ – difficulty in finding things and difficulty in understanding what they find.
“The Bible is God’s library; it’s not ‘just a book.’” Paprocki said. “It has sections like a library – history, letters, poems, parables.”
Once people get comfortable in navigating the Bible, they face difficulty in understanding what they read.
“There are different approaches people take in interpreting the Bible,” Paprocki explained. “Some use fundamentalism – they take everything in the Bible literally. Our approach as Catholics is different.
“We believe everything in the Bible is true … but not necessarily fact,” he said. “It include figurative language, which conveys truth without using fact. Let me give you an example.
“When someone comes up to you and says, ‘It’s raining cats and dogs outside,’ you know exactly what they mean – but you also know that cats and dogs are not literally falling from the sky,” Paprocki said. There are places – most often we encounter this in the early books of the Bible – that speak truth without necessarily using fact.
“We must help people understand that the Bible is about our relationship with God – not scientific truth. This is how we encounter the Lord.”
Breakout sessions followed Paprocki’s keynote, giving catechists opportunities to explore in more detail different elements of encountering Christ through the Bible. Facilitators included Paprocki, Benedictine Sisters Jackie Kissel and Anita Louis Lowe, Diocesan Director of Worship Matt Miller, Kathy Bachman, Vickie Eichmiller, Jeremy Goebel, Michele Gondi, and Agnes and Paul Kovacs. Each facilitator provided a list of resources for attendees.
Editor’s note – Joe Paprocki serves as National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, which published his book “The Bible Blueprint: A Catholic’s Guide to Understanding and Embracing God’s Word.” It is available at www.loyolapress.com.