Beijing diocese runs first training course for lay catechists

BEIJING (CNS) — The Catholic Diocese of Beijing has run its first training course for lay catechists, introducing them to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other reference books to help them with lesson plans.

The 10-day intensive course in late July attracted more than 120 laypeople from more than 20 parishes, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News. Many participants had experience teaching catechumens and evangelizing to non-Catholics. Participants were mostly middle-aged laywomen, UCA News reported.

Helene Reichl, a German laywoman who has worked with Taiwan’s bishops and has nearly 50 years of experience in evangelization, conducted the course at Savior Church (North Church) in downtown Beijing. Reichl told UCA News she spoke about the sacraments of initiation — baptism, confirmation and Communion — and the various stages of the catechumenate, the period of preparation for being received into the Catholic faith.

“Participating catechists had no idea about the stage of inquiry” prior to the catechumenate process, she said. “They used to admit someone as a catechumen merely by asking a question — if he or she is interested in knowing Jesus and the Catholic faith.”

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