July 7, 2012

Thoughts on Catechism Study Format

As I again typed up notes from our last session, I feel a discontent with the format I am using here, in this blog. 

Our weekly meetings at my house consist of about an hour of prayer, both to calm our distractions and open us to what God may be wishing us to learn this night.  Then we spend about an hour reading aloud the catechism, paragraph after paragraph, commenting as we go.  Those who read the material ahead of time note some of the key points in cross-reference paragraphs, so we see the total doctrine of faith --- how it came from God, defines our actions, and fits into the united life of the people of God.  This is good, and I believe if there is learning to be done here, it will come forth, varying by the individuals present. 

Depending on the level of knowledge and depth of faith, differing people feel differing levels of importance about the material covered.  For some it is “I knew that,” for others it is “that’s deeper than I thought,” and for others it is a total “I didn’t know that.”  That is all well and good.  We are doing this to learn that which we don’t know, and re-enforce that which we do (or “think” we do.)  And I expect there will be some weeks where any or even all of us will think:  borrrrriiinnnng.  We’ll do those weeks anyway.

What I am concerned about is those who can’t attend a class and rely on notes afterward, and/or wish to perhaps follow here on the internet.  How does this become something of learning for them.  What I’ve done thus far in these first few weeks seems weak to me.  Myself, I find I spend too much time listening to others’ comments, trying to document what THEY thought important or new.  And while I’m listening or writing, I’m not thinking --- or am missing something else.  Being a note-taker and participant doesn’t work for me.  Further, relative to what others say or note, I feel I am inadequate to state their feelings or passions about a topic.  At any rate, it doesn’t seem to work for me, and I suspect, for anyone who would choose to use this blog.  Therefore, I will make a change.

Going forward, I will post a page listing the next week’s readings (Scripture and Catechism) on the web.  Anyone wishing to in some way follow or participate in this organized study of the catechism can offer comments (or questions) --- long or short --- to that week’s readings on that post.  At my study group, we’ll read these others’ thoughts and discuss along with ours.  Then, instead of notes, I’ll edit that same page, adding MY summary thoughts on the catechism readings and things of importance.  (After all, this IS my blog.)

I hope that will make things clearer and easier to read than the paragraph by paragraph note-taking format I used the first three weeks.  And I hope it will give an opportunity for others, should there be any, to also participate.

And of course, on this and anything else here, please offer your comments.


  1. I like your latest thoughts on comments - adding your summary based on comments or questions of others.

    It would be really convenient if you were to insert a link to the day's readings. Otherwise, we have to find our own links on another page.

    1. Ah, what a great idea. I'll add links next week.

  2. Greetings
    I've been searching for weeks to find other people doing weekly Catechism study online, and they are not easy to find.
    Our parish group meets on Thursdays, and then because taking notes at the time just doesn't work, I depend upon my guardian angel to augment my memories of the discussion. We are using a slightly different format, and also posting online for anyone who wishes to join in. Hearing (and reading) the thoughts of others about the Catechism really makes it come alive in a way that doesn't happen when you study the Catechism on your own. To see what we've been up to, visit www.ofgraceandfaith.blogspot.com . We've chosen to start with the Sacraments, then do Prayer, and finish up with the first part of Life in Christ.

  3. Interesting, Catherine. Perhaps I shall check in over there from time to time.

    As you probably noticed, this study is first and foremost, mine. Not leading a class, per se, but inviting others to tag along if they wish and as they can. My goal coincided with the Year of Faith, an intention to read/study the catechism in about a year, going a section at a time, which I estimate will take a bit over a year. I started in June. Besides interjecting my thoughts on this blog, I heavily quote what I think are important points from the catechism. The reason for that is that I wish to keep this blog, and use its search engine in the future to research topics as I find a renewed interest --- or confusion.

    You're always welcome here.