September 16, 2016

Religious Education Supplement

Prayer helps close the breach between Gospel and daily life

By Ken Ogorek

Ken OgorekOur chief shepherd and catechist—the vicar of Christ in southern and central Indiana—Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, calls the rupture between the Gospel and daily life “the great divide of our time.” It’s no exaggeration to say that Satan wants you to compartmentalize religion so it’s “that thing I do on Sunday, and maybe a few more days a week when I pray.”

Catechetical Sunday’s theme this year, “Prayer: The Faith Prayed,” is meant to help folks realize that religion is a way of life. Every area of your life is illumined by your faith in God and love for his holy, Catholic Church. Conversely, each aspect of your life is great raw material for prayer. God doesn’t want you to hold back in prayer. He wants you to pour out your heart to him each time you spend time with him in prayer.

Catechetical Sunday isn’t a one-and-done phenomenon. Yes, it’s a specific day when we honor catechists for their great service to us. Its tone and theme, though, are meant to permeate the entire program year of parish faith formation efforts.

Our U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) make great resources available to all Catholics and people of good will via its excellent webpage On the USCCB homepage is a link to Catechetical Sunday resources. See, for example, a family resource by Mike Aquilina called “Praying with the Fathers of the Church: A Reflection per Day for Advent-Christmas and Lent-Easter.” Plan now to use this tool with your family later this year and early next year.

Author and speaker Jim Gontis offers “Another Look at Sacramentals and Devotional Prayers.” What a great resource for growing in knowledge of prayer and ability to communicate with God in this way!

“The Word of God as a Source of Prayer” by Chris Chapman includes contemporary examples and practical suggestions. Father Robert Hater, longtime Archdiocese of Cincinnati catechetical director, offers the theological reflection “Embracing Our Universal Call to Holiness.”

This year, don’t let Catechetical Sunday pass you by then be forgotten like yesterday’s football score. Avail yourself of the resources above and participate in catechetical opportunities offered by your parish, deanery and beyond.

Most of all, be mindful of your prayer life. Just visit with God for a few minutes each day. Call him to mind often as you go about your daily activities.

When you reach out to God often in the relational conversation that constitutes healthy prayer; when you listen to the handful of major ways God talks to you daily in sacred Scripture, Church teaching, and sacramental experiences; when you tell God what’s on your mind and ask him to inspire your heart so each area of your life is touched by faith, you can’t help but connect the Gospel and daily life. Your spirit is refreshed regularly. A skip in your step—attitudinally if not literally—is noticeable. The great divide of our time is healed. Satan is confounded.

When your prayer life is vibrant, a certain joy is evident to those you encounter in daily life. They might ask you what your secret is. You might have an opportunity to introduce them to Jesus. You might be an answer to unspoken, even unknown, prayer.

(Ken Ogorek is director of catechesis for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. He can be reached at

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