Sister Joan Curtin, C.N.D., director of the archdiocesan Catechetical Office, has been selected to lead a group discussion at the Second International Congress on Catechesis to be held at the Vatican next month.
The congress theme is “The Catechist: Witness to the Christian Mystery.” An array of experts, including Pope Francis, will address participants at the Sept. 20-23 conference.
The Holy Father is scheduled to deliver an address at Blessed Paul VI Hall on Saturday, Sept. 22. The congress will conclude with a Mass to be offered in St. Peter’s Basilica the next morning.
Also speaking will be Archbishop Francesco Cacucci of Bari-Bitonto, Italy, whose talk is on “Mystagogical Catechesis on Christian Initiation”; Claire Bernier, delegate for the service of faith in the Diocese of Angers, France, on “The Catechumenate: a Challenge for the New Evangelization”; and Abbot Gregory J. Polan, O.S.B., abbot primate of the Order of St. Benedict, on “Lex Credendi, Lex Orandi.”
The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization is the congress organizer. The conference will focus on themes for catechesis arising from the second part of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The Celebration of the Christian Mystery,” in an attempt to arrive at a deeper understanding of the link between catechesis and the liturgy.
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, extended the speaking invitation to Sister Joan, who has led the Catechetical Office since 1985.
Sister Joan has been asked to speak to an English-language group of about 50 people on “Reliving Salvation History: The Liturgical Year and Catechesis.” Her seminar will take place on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 21. (Seminars will also be given in French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish.)
After her 30-minute talk, Sister Joan will lead a group discussion with attendees, primarily catechists from a number of countries.
Sister Joan, speaking to CNY, said, the liturgical cycle, with both Old and New Testament readings, brings “salvation history to the forefront.”
The issues faced by people today are similar to the ones faced by the people in the Bible. “The message is, God is always with us,” Sister Joan said. “God is there in the midst of us. Particularly today, that’s consoling. In the midst of hopelessness, we see hope.
“That’s a message we need today,” she said. “God is alive and well.”
Sister Joan said she was doing a lot of research and reading to prepare for her presentation, particularly reviewing her office’s guidelines on catechesis for the catechumenate.
Sister Teresita Morse, R.J.M., director of formation for directors/coordinators of religious education in the archdiocese, will attend the congress with Sister Joan. The two also plan to make side trips to Assisi and Florence.
Sister Joan said this would be the first time she has addressed an international assembly. She has addressed the National Catholic Educational Association several times and also given workshops across the United States.
Sister Joan said listening to speakers from different countries “gives us an experience of the universality of the Church.”
“Our cultures are different. The common language is Jesus Christ.”