Vatican City (Fides Service) – “As the first catechist of the community, the priest, especially if he is the parish priest, is called to be the first believer and disciple of the Word of God and to devote assiduous care to discernment and accompaniment of vocations to the catechetical service. As the ‘catechists of catechists’ he cannot fail to be concerned for their spiritual, doctrinal and cultural formation. In a prospective of communion, the priest will always be aware that the ministry of catechist at the service of the People of God comes to him through his Bishop, to whom he is linked inseparably by the sacrament of Orders and from whom he received the mandate to preach and teach”. This was said by Pope John Paul II when he received in audience on 8 May in the Vatican participants at a recent Congress “The Duty of Priests in Catechesis in Europe”.
“Go out to the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mk 16,15) – the Pope continued -. This command of the Lord is addressed to every baptised person, but for bishops and priests it represents ‘the main duty’. Like Christ the Good Shepherd, the priest is called to help the community live in permanent missionary tension. Catechesis in the family, at work, at school, at university, through the media and the new languages, involves priests and laity, parishes and movements. All are called to cooperate in new evangelisation to maintain and to revitalise common Christian roots. The Christian faith represents the richest patrimony from which the European peoples can draw to realise their authentic spiritual economic and social progress.” SL (Fides Service 9/5/2003 EM lines 20 Words: 281)