Passing on the Faith

By Katie Camario

Passing on the Faith

Shelley and Rick Brown are grandparents who have stepped up to volunteer as catechists at St. Scholastica Parish. Sunday, September 18th is Catechetical Sunday in the U.S.

Caption: Shelley Brown is shown with her students as they celebrated the start to a new Faith Formation year at St. Scholastica Parish on September 11th, 2022. (photo credit/Shelley Brown)

September 14, 2022 | Did humans live during the time of the dinosaurs?  What happened to Adam and Eve? Do pets go to heaven? These are just some of the questions Shelley and Rick Brown have been asked by the children in their faith formation class at St. Scholastica Catholic Church in Lecanto, located in Citrus County.

“I don’t recall our exact replies, but I do know we pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance to answer each child’s questions through our understanding of the Bible, science and our personal experience of God’s infinite wisdom, creativity and love,” said Shelley. 

The Browns responded to a calling to volunteer as catechists in 2019 when they became concerned children and young people were being exposed to, and inundated with, information and ideals that go against Christian values. 

“We cannot imagine what life would be like without our strong faith,” said Rick. “We believe that harmful secular values promoted in some of the music, entertainment and online social media that target young people are fierce competition for parents, teachers, and the Church as they try to educate, guide, and encourage children and young adults in the Christian way of life.” 

As catechists, they have taken on the task of teaching the core principles of the Catholic faith to fourth and fifth grade students and forming them to be disciples of Jesus Christ. On Sunday September 18th, the Browns will be among those blessed by their priest during Catechetical Sunday. It’s a day when the Church in the United States reflects on how each person contributes, by virtue of their Baptism, to handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. This year’s theme is: “This is my body given for you” in alignment with the National Eucharistic Revival and highlighting Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist.

Lay people across the Diocese of St. Petersburg and the United States who serve as catechists and are involved in faith formation will be recognized and commissioned for their ministry. 

“We are delighted and encouraged as we witness the children’s openness to developing their relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and to putting their faith into action in their daily life,” said Shelley.

This year is extra special for the Browns as they will also be accompanied by their five grandchildren at Church, two of which are enrolled in their class.

“We want our grandkids to develop a strong foundation of faith and to live their lives according to God’s Will,” said Rick. “We believe that life is a challenging journey which requires strong faith and obedience to God’s Will to experience deep and lasting peace, joy, and love.”  

The Browns say their own journey as a couple has been strengthened by their involvement in the ministry.

“As we work together to share our faith with our young students, we strengthen our faith and our love for each other,” said Shelley.

A Prayer for Catechists

Loving Father, we pray today for our catechists. We thank you for their gift of ministry in your Church. Grant them your wisdom that they may grow in the understanding and teaching of your Word. Grant them also your love that they may be fruitful heralds of your Word and lead others to love you. Pour forth your Holy Spirit upon them to grant them wisdom about what is important; knowledge of the truths of faith; understanding of their meaning; right judgement about how to apply them in life; courage to persevere even in the face of adversity; reverence before all that is sacred and holy; and that loving zeal which leads others to a transforming encounter with your Son. 

We pray this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.