a catechist is a person who gives religious instruction;
the catechumenate is a structured program by which a person is prepared for baptism and life within a Christian congregation;
a catechumen - or candidate - is a person enrolled in the catechumenate;
catechesis is a word generally equivalent in meaning to "religious instruction".
Instruction from the fifth century to the Dark Ages.
Emperor Constantine in the year 313 made the Christian Faith the official religion of the Roman Empire, reversing centuries of Roman persecution.
De catechizandis rudibus
("On the instruction of the beginner") of Augustine gave detailed principles and guidelines on (1) the methodology for religious instruction - before and after baptism, ideally for adults; and (2) the process and foundations of evangelisation (i.e., promoting the Christian mission).
Augustine favoured preaching in lecture style for instruction that was based on:
....* the love of the teacher for the students and for the Christian faith;
....* stories and narratives revealing the love of God to the hearers, designed to move hearers to love of god and neighbour.
By the end of the fourth century - in 399, when Augustine had been a Christian leader in Hippo
for only four years - baptism of large groups and increasingly of persons in infancy was taking place.
There was some instruction of adults by way of preparation (often in the weeks before Easter).
However, systemised instruction was largely lost, and there was not any real concerted Christian education again until after the Protestant Reformation
many centuries later.
(Continued on the next page.)