Genesis inspires catechetical leaders at the start of the new year

September 9, 2014

HOUSTON — On Aug. 13, the Archdiocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis (OEC) hosted the first-ever Genesis to inspire catechetical leaders throughout the Archdiocese.

“The purpose of Genesis is to help catechetical leaders get motivated for the new catechetical year,” Deborah Jones, associate director with OEC, said. “It allows the catechetical leaders networking opportunities and share ideas for the upcoming year.”

The event was coordinated alongside the Archdiocesan Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization (OACE).

“We started this event as an effort of both the OEC and OACE to gather our catechetical leaders before the new catechetical year begins in the parishes,” Jones said. “It is to be an opportunity to network, get their batteries charged up for the year ahead, be inspired and have some fun together.”

Julie Blevins, director of OEC, welcomed more than 200 people attended the inaugural event, which targets all professional catechetical leaders, such as directors and coordinators of catechetical programs for all ages — “womb to tomb.”

“We hope that this brief day may bring you an opportunity to re-energize, refocus and reconnect,” she said.

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo was the first featured speaker of the day.

“I’m grateful that there are catechical leaders here who take seriously the catechetical leadership,” he said. “From the time of Pope Paul VI up through Pope Francis, they’ve all said whether you make catechesis a subset of evangelization or whether you say catechesis is already evangelizing, however you want to describe it, catechists are crucial.”

Cardinal DiNardo said it is important, as a catechetical leader in any level, to always be welcoming to people, regardless of how complicated their situation may be.

“When I say ‘be welcoming and hospitable,’ I don’t mean throw away our tradition, culture and what needs to be done,” he said. “It’s like Pope Francis said, sometimes people are coming to the Church as a field hospital after battle. You’re dealing with trauma cases, spiritually. How do you deal with trauma cases, spiritually? You do the most crucial thing first... just to welcome them.”

Father Dat Hoang, founding administrator of St. Faustina Catholic Church in Fulshear and former Archdiocesan vocations director, and Carole Eipers, director of catechetics for William H. Sadlier Inc., also spoke at the event.

There will be an additional Catechetical Leader Retreat every January to enable catechetical leaders to continue to be spiritually fed. The January retreat is set to be in Galveston.