Nurturing Friendship: The Directory for Catechesis in Dialogue with the Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti
2, 9, 16, 23 March 2021
As communities around the world found themselves seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Pope Francis released his encyclical letter Fratelli Tutti in October 2020, inviting all people of goodwill to nurture friendship. A call to come together in solidarity, Fratelli Tutti provides a starting point for renewing our commitment to caring for our neighbour and a global society built on justice and the common good.
In 2021, the Office for Evangelization and Catechesis offered the webinar series, Nurturing Friendship: The Directory for Catechesis in Dialogue with the Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti. The recordings of the webinars are now available for use by those who work in evangelization and catechesis in dioceses, parishes and Catholic schools. Each of the four webinars is accompanied by a reflection guide to assist with facilitating discussions following each webinar. The reflection guides for each section may be used by individuals or in small groups. You may wish to offer in-person or online gatherings to view the webinar followed by a period of reflection and discussion.
Participants should have access to the following materials:
- A Catholic Bible;
- The video recordings of each session (if not viewing the videos as a group); and
- Pope Francis’s encyclical Fratelli Tutti, available online (optional).
Guidelines for Discussions
- All participants are invited to participate in the discussions; some may choose not to speak. The group must respect each person’s decision.
- One person speaks at a time.
- Participants, if they choose, may respond to the speaker in a helpful yet non-judgmental/non-confrontational way.
- Respect each other and commit to confidentiality to promote trust.
- Sometimes a person requires more time to tell their story than is allotted in the discussion. The facilitator may offer to speak with a person one-on-one during a break or after the session.
Session 1: The Catechist Brings Hope: Navigating the Signs of Our Times
Keynote: V. Rev. Msgr. Murray J. Kroetsch
Response by: Michelle Dabrowski
- Who is my neighbour? How can I show genuine concern for and love of my neighbour?
- What are some of the dark clouds (circumstances) that leave me and my neighbours wounded by the roadside, discarded, rejected, confused, isolated, and desolate? How can I bring hope to my neighbour in these contexts?
- In Mt. 5: 1-12, Jesus presents the Beatitudes to us and provides us with insight into how we are called to live our lives. He subverts societal expectations and turns perceptions upside-down by saying that those who appear to be small in this world are significant to God and will receive great rewards in heaven.
Do I seek to be like those Jesus calls blessed? How must we respond to the meek, the poor, the grief-stricken, etc.?
- Article 1717 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that we have a vocation to Beatitude.
Do the promises of Jesus give me hope in difficult times? How can I fulfill my vocation to Beatitude? How can I remind myself of Jesus’s promises in the Beatitudes in difficult times, when encountering my neighbour, and throughout the course of my week?
- The Church is a community of Missionary Disciples, announcing the hope of the Gospel. How am I a missionary disciple? With whom do I share the good news of the Gospel?
Session 2: The Catechist Asks: "Who Is My Neighbour?" Parable of the Good Samaritan as a Paradigm for Encounters of Mercy
Interpretative Drama Presentation: Elisa Lollino
Keynote: Dr. Josephine Lombardi
- Who is my neighbour?
- Am I a good neighbour? How does a good neighbour approach the other and show mercy?
- How can I be more hospitable to my neighbour who may be experiencing invisible isolation, despair, or poverty?
- Who has communicated God’s love, mercy, compassion, generosity, and forgiveness to me? How can I share what I have received from God with my neighbour?
- Who is an example of a Good Samaritan today? How does this person show mercy to “the stranger on the road”?
- What prevents me from being a Good Samaritan and showing mercy? In what ways does Jesus help me to be a good neighbour?
Session 3: The Catechist Promotes Human Dignity and Communion with God
Keynote: Dr. Nick Olkovich
Response By: Anne Walsh, D.Min.
- What challenges do I face in promoting the common good in today’s increasingly polarized world?
- How do I respond to those who disagree with me? How can I be a better neighbour?
- Am I promoting social cohesion and the common good in how I treat my neighbour?
- How can my faith expressed in Scripture and Tradition help me respond to these challenges?
- How can I be more aware of the transformative power of God’s love?
- How can our parish community concretely share God’s love with our neighbour?
Session 4: The Catechist Builds Bridges with Diverse Faith Communities
Keynote: Julien Hammond
Response By: Charlene Peters
- How does my encounter with Jesus, who died and rose from the dead for me, affect my relationships with my neighbour? How do I give witness to my faith in Jesus?
- In 1219, Saint Francis of Assisi had an encounter with Sultan Malik-el-Kamil, in Egypt. What does this encounter teach us about cultivating open hearts, spreading the love of God, and living in harmony with all?
- In what ways does my faith in Christ the encourage me to encounter others without fear? How can I welcome my neighbour home, to the Church, which Pope Francis calls “a home with open doors, because she is our mother” (FT, 276)?
- How can I be a more faithful witness and keeper of the memory of God in my encounters with those of other faith traditions?
- As a witness of Jesus, am I open to engaging in open dialogue with those of other faith traditions? How can I approach these discussions as a witness of my encounter with Jesus with love, genuine concern for neighbour, and an open heart?