Who is Catechumenate Guy? Jerry Pare’ was first introduced to the catechumenate while studying at the University of Notre Dame in the early ’80’s. I have been blessed to be able to minister at various levels and in various denominations in the catechumenate. And I believe that the catechumenate has been a leaven for the church throughout her life. I spend a lot of time pondering “matters catechumenal” and wants to share those reflections on these pages. Your reflections and comments will be appreciated in turn.
More concretely: I was baptized as a Roman Catholic Christian infant and formed by Christian parents who took their baptismal covenant (even though they wouldn’t call it that) very seriously. I went to Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon as a high school freshman and left after my sophomore year of college. I studied philosophy and history of religions at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC). Rather than return to the seminary as I planned, I married and moved to Southern California. I decided to continue in the area of theology with the hope of teaching at a college, seminary or university. I focused on Scripture during a Master’s program at Claremont School of Theology and moved on to the University of Notre Dame to study systematic theology.
While at Notre Dame I was introduced to the catechumenate at our local parish. I enjoyed “adult education.” The catechumenate drew me in. After finishing studies at Notre Dame I became the first RCIA Director for the local Diocese of Ft Wayne-South Bend. I was also active in the North American Forum on the Catechumenate at this time. After a few years I became the first Executive Director of the National Council for Catholic Evangelization. I ministered at the parochial level on a catechumenate team at our local parish in Chicago.
We moved back to the West Coast in 1990 where I once again joined a catechumenate team at our parish. Ironically involvement in that team inspired my decision to cross over to the Episcopal branch of the Church. In 1995 I discovered that the Episcopal Church also exercises a catechumenal ministry. I am currently Catechumenate Director at Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento, California, a consultant for the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California, a board member on the North American Association for the Catechumenate and still a member of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.
There are numerous stories associated with the above brief description of my journey. Some will emerge in the following reflections.