September 17, 2021

Evangelization & Catechesis Supplement

‘My heart actually did a dance when I thought about serving the Lord’

(Editor’s note: While teaching and helping others to embrace a deeper appreciation of their Catholic faith, catechists throughout the archdiocese have found their own relationship with God has deepened through the experience. Here are several stories of that transformation.)
 

Cathy Andrews helps prepare children for their first Communion at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Bedford. (Submitted photo)

Cathy Andrews helps prepare children for their first Communion at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Bedford. (Submitted photo)

By John Shaughnessy

Cathy Andrews wanted to find a new purpose when she retired. She also found a way of life that she considers a treasure.

“When I retired from government service in 2000, I promised the Lord that I would dedicate this time in my life to serving him and my family in whatever way I felt he was calling me,” Andrews recalls. “During this initial time of retirement and through his copious graces,

my personal relationship with Jesus grew, as did my prayer life, sacramental life and spiritual life.”

Still, she wanted to do more to bring others closer to Christ, so five years into her retirement she became the faith formation director for St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Bedford.

“My heart actually did a dance when I thought about serving the Lord in that way,” she says. “My 16 years of Catholic school education from first grade through four years of college was finally going to be used as a foundation in my new position as a faith educator. Little did I realize the way my own faith was going to be deepened through that position.”

In her new role, she taught the faith to children in different grades of religious education classes while also helping prepare them to receive the sacraments. She also volunteered to help adults learn more about the Catholic faith by leading Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) classes.

She soon discovered that all her experiences of teaching led to her own lessons in learning.

“The innocent, forthright and heartfelt responses and questions of the children often led me to delve deeper into my soul to gain a greater appreciation of what I believed and why I believed what I did.

“The questions that were posed by those in RCIA had a depth and at times an incredulity that pushed me to a greater understanding of the whys of Church teachings and how they fit into everyday living.”

Andrews has savored every question and challenge because of the understanding and joy it has added to her own faith journey.

“My increased understanding of the sacrifice of the Mass and the theology of the sacraments that I gained in this catechetical preparation resulted in a further desire to enhance my relationship with Jesus, to be an authentic witness of the Catholic faith, and to ultimately deepen this treasure that the Lord planted in my heart—my Catholic faith.

“What St. Matthew wrote certainly rang true for me: “For where your treasure is, that is where your heart shall be” (Mt 6:21). †

 

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