Chris and Maree join 15,000 other catechists in Rome

chris-and-maree-rule-catechistsJoining 15,000 other catechists from all over the world for a pilgrimage in Rome, is one of the ways in which South Woden parishioners and catechists, Chris and Maree Rule spent the Extraordinary Year of Mercy.

Upon researching online for a scheduled trip to Italy and assuming that there would be “something special going on in the eternal city for the Year of Mercy”, they did some research and came across a catechist pilgrimage event which gathered their interest.

And they are glad they did attend, even if it caused a slight change in their initial itinerary.

“We found the pilgrimage both intellectually and spiritually inspiring and moving; and a great example of the unity of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church,” said Mr Rule.

“It was an affirmation of the vital importance of the work of catechists in the modern Church.”

The couple’s trip coincided with Mr Rule notching up 25 years of being a catechist.

Mrs Rule also knows a thing or two about teaching the faith. She was a teacher of religious education in Canberra Catholic schools for over 20 years.

There were any number of highlights and spiritual nourishment throughout the trip including taking in the four great basilicas.

Mr and Mrs Rule were able to walk through the Holy Door at St Peter’s before praying before the tomb of St Peter.

During their pilgrimage they were particularly moved by a talk given by Undersecretary for the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation, Monsignor Graeme Bell.

According to Mr Rule, the subject for Monsignor Bell’s talk was ‘contemplating mercy’ reflecting on the theme of ‘showing mercy and choosing’ where he used the example of Caravaggio’s painting The Call of Saint Matthew, the original which the Canberra catechists saw up close in the Church of St Louis of France, near the Piazza Navona.

“In the painting Christ is standing by a window with the light coming into the room, not through the window, but from behind Christ, in effect Christ’s light shining in the darkness, Mr Rule said.

“The first point he made was that the calling of all of us is to love God. He did, however, also point out that we are free to reject God’s love.

“He also spoke of Christ calling – pointing to – Matthew, who points to someone else in the room as if to say ‘You mean him don’t you?’.

“Monsignor Bell made further points that we often try to avoid God’s calling, that all of us are weak and vacillating, and thus in need of God’s mercy.”

A special Mass  for catechists at the Vatican took place as part of the pilgrimage. To read Pope Francis’ homily go to:

Anyone who is interested in becoming a catechist in the Archdiocese, is encouraged to make contact with Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) coordinator, Deacon Matt Ransom on (02) 6163 4324 or by email at

There is currently vacancies at Watson, Grenfell and Merimbula.