Keeping emphasis on Jesus will keep faith alive, educators told
Published: April 16, 2012
BOSTON (CNS) -- A workshop titled "Will there be faith?" answered its own question with a resounding "yes" -- with the caveat that Catholic school teachers and catechists emphasize the life and ministry of Jesus and also follow his teaching style. The workshop, one of hundreds offered during the annual National Catholic Educational Association convention April 11-13 in Boston, did not stress any new programs or teaching styles but instead highlighted Gospel passages. Thomas Groome, director of Boston College's Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry, told a packed room of educators April 13 that Jesus -- described as a teacher 150 times in the New Testament -- should be their role model. He noted that obviously Jesus didn't use PowerPoint or even a microphone, but said today's teachers should "be consistent with his approach." According to Groome, the particular teaching style Jesus used engaged people in their daily lives, often through parables, invited them to stop and look at their lives, then turned their views upside down and motivated them to live differently based on this faith understanding. "He was not just a discussion leader," Groome added, noting that the Gospel of Mark describes Jesus as "teaching with authority." Groome noted that Catholics are not accustomed to putting so much emphasis on Jesus but should take their cues from Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. He said that after Pope John Paul's death, one daily newspaper described him as evangelical and seemed almost surprised at the number of times the pope had spoken about Jesus. And when Pope Benedict visited the United States in 2008, Groome said he repeatedly told crowds to follow the example of Jesus.
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