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The Marian Catechists and the Missionaries of Charity
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
My hope is that the Marian Catechists can somehow become affiliated with the Missionaries of Charity.
The exact nature of this affiliation will require further prayer and study to fully realize. But the present reflections will at least set the groundwork for what I am confident can be to the greater glory of God.
The Marian Catechists
The Marian Catechists are a group of Catholic lay woman whose purpose is to promote sound religious instruction in the Catholic faith to children and young people.
It is not foreseen that the Marian Catechists will be many in numbers. There are about twenty-five now in formation.
Rather than large numbers, the Marian Catechists are to provide leadership in training other lay Catholics and organizing them to teach the faith to the young.
Given this distinctive leadership role, the Marian Catechists are being carefully formed. The basis of this formation is an intense spiritual life.
In order to lay the spiritual foundation they need, the Marian Catechists make the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius for thirty consecutive days in their own homes, and without interfering with the duties and responsibilities of their state of life.
All the Marian Catechists are now in their period of spiritual formation.
There are at present two classes of Marian Catechists: those who have already made the Spiritual Exercises and those who still have to do so. The majority have already made the Spiritual Exercises.
During this initial period of formation, some of the Marian Catechists are also actively engaged in giving religious instruction, or directing catechetical work or assisting in various ways with the Churchs apostolate of teaching the Catholic faith by the spoken, or written word.
While the catechetical outreach to the young is not limited, a special focus is on training parents to give their children good religious instruction in the Catholic faith.
There are two stages in the formation of the Marian Catechists. The first is the candidacy program, lasting six months. The second is the formation program proper. The formal training lasts one full year. At present, the candidacy is planned to end on Easter Sunday, 1989; the formation group will have completed their training on August 15, 1989.
Members of the hierarchy have encouraged the apostolic work of the Marian Catechists, but to date there has been no formal approval by the Holy See or the hierarchy. It is planned to obtain at least some formal approbation by the Feast of Our Ladys Assumption, 1989.
The Marian Catechists range in age and they are either married, widowed, or single women in the world. They have one quality in common: a deep love of Our Lord and a strong desire to make Him better known, loved and served by helping to train those who, in turn, will bring Christ to the children He loves so much.
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