Faith "Caught" Rather Than Taught
Author Country :Tanzania
Genre Type :Story
Year of Publication :0/
Sub Theme :Small Christian Communities, Baptism, Presence/Accompaniment, Joint Responsibility/
Author Name :Father Joseph Healey, M.M./
Author City :
In some parishes in Tanzania adults interested in
becoming Catholics (called "Inquirers") first pass through the Small Christian
Community (SCC) in their geographical area/neighborhood that submits the request
forms for the baptism of adults to the parish office. Some SCCs have started the
ministry of Accompanier in the Adult Catechumenate. An adult catechumen chooses
a SCC member to "accompany" him or her through the stages (steps and rites) of
the RCIA. The catechumen is invited to participate in all the activities of the
SCC. Personal relationships and friendships are an important part of helping
people who are preparing for baptism to feel "at home" in their local Christian
community. Growth in faith is an experience of living in a believing community.
The emphasis is on the faith being "caught" in sharing the life of the SCC
rather than just being "taught" in formal instruction classes. Sometimes the
whole SCC accompanies "its" catechumens – another example of community ministry.
Here all the SCC members are responsible for the spiritual and pastoral life of
their own small community. This approach is closely related to the African
values of community, joint responsibility, togetherness and sharing.