The word catechetical comes from a Greek word meaning echo. All who hand on the Faith echo the Word of God, Jesus Christ, as proclaimed in Scripture and in the teachings of the Catholic Church. Our mission is that of the first disciples, whom Jesus commanded, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28: 19-20). 

Catechist Formation

The Catechist Formation Program provides the basic theological understandings, spiritual formation and catechetical methodology necessary for those who are appointed by their pastors and commissioned by their parishes to hand on the faith to adults, youth or children. Training of the catechist is necessary to ensure that the faith is handed on in its integrity and in a manner that responds to the needs, learning styles, cultures and other special characteristics of those in their care.

What's the idea behind catechist formation?

The Catechist Formation Program was developed to assist the catechist as the one who receives and responds to the call of Jesus Christ to share the light of faith with others. To be effective in this work, the catechist must understand, love, live and proclaim the Christian message with conviction and enthusiasm. The proclamation of this message by the catechist in the context of the parish community leads the faithful to a deepening of faith, a greater participation in worship and a more dedicated Christian service.

What's the purpose of catechist formation?

The formation of the catechist has a three-fold purpose: to provide for the catechist's own spiritual growth; to increase the theological knowledge out of which one catechizes; to expand skills in teaching methods through study and practice.  Since God is the source and enabler of all catechesis, prayer is an integral part of the catechist's formation.

What is the catechist formation program?

The Catechist Formation Program is divided into two parts. This first level of formation

for a Catechist provides you with opportunities for growth as a person of faith; effective teaching/facilitating skills; and a plan for your ongoing training and developing spiritual life. The second level of formation deepens the training by focusing on essential areas of theological training, such as scripture, the Creed, and morality. The complete list of courses and requirements are available for download.

Why should I become a certified catechist?

Certification is recognition by the Church that an individual has completed our Catechist Formation Program and has been given an opportunity to appropriate the catechetical content and skills necessary to be effective with our young people in a classroom setting.

The goal of catechist formation process is to insure that the Church's tradition is handed on to all children in our schools, parishes and parish catechetical programs and to support catechists in their vital ministry with our children and youth.

Catechetical Sunday 2016 will be celebrated Sunday, September 10, 2015.  Those whom the community has designated to serve as catechists will be called forth to be commissioned for their ministry. Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith. This year's theme is Safeguarding the Dignity of Every Human Person.

The ministry of the Word is a fundamental element of evangelization through all its stages, because it involves the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God

"The word of God nourishes both evangelizers and those who are being evangelized so that each one may continue to grow in his or her Christian life" (National Directory for Catechesis [NDC] [Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005], no. 17).

Why do we celebrate Catechetical Sunday?

In 1935, the Vatican published On the Better Care and Promotion of Catechetical Education, a document that asks every country to acknowledge the importance of the Church’s teaching ministry and to honor those who serve the Christian community as catechists. For the first few years after Catechetical Sunday was established, national catechetical congresses were held in conjunction with the celebration. Beginning in 1971, the USCCB’s Department of Education began producing materials to help parishes celebrate the event at the local level. When the Committee on Catechesis, now named the Committee of Evangelization and Catechesis, was named by the Conference as a standing Committee, it continued to publish Catechetical Sunday materials each year. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has designated the third Sunday in September as Catechetical Sunday.

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Those whom the community has designated to serve as catechists will be called forth to be commissioned for their ministry. Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.

What Does the Word “Catechetical” Mean?

The word might be more familiar than you think. Many Catholics have used the word "catechism" for years, and they know it has something to do with the compendium of the Church's teachings. The root word, "catechesis," is from a Greek word meaning "to echo, or resound." Catechesis is the act of resounding or bringing the Church's teachings to the world. A catechist is one who teaches in the name of the Church.

Why do we have a special day set aside to commission catechists?

Catechesis is a distinct and special ministry in the Church. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church makes clear, “Catechesis is intimately bound up with the whole of the Church’s life . . . her inner growth and correspondence with God’s plan depend essentially on catechesis” (no. 7). This ministry of teaching in the name of the Church has a profound dignity, which is why catechists are formally commissioned by the Church. It is only fitting that we set aside a day to highlight this ministry and invite the entire church community to think about our responsibility to share our faith with others.

How are parents, the primary catechists of their children, recognized on Catechetical Sunday?

Parents are truly the primary catechists of their children. They prepare the soil and plant the first seeds of faith. On Catechetical Sunday, we not only highlight the work of catechists in parishes and schools, but we also commend parents and guardians and encourage them to take seriously their role of making their Catholic households a place where faith is passed on to the next generation. This is why the rite of blessing of catechists used on Catechetical Sunday includes an optional blessing of parents and guardians.

A Prayer for Catechists

Loving God, Creator of all things,
you call us to be in relationship with you and others.

Thank you for calling me to be a catechist,
for the opportunity to share with others
what you have given to me.

May all those with whom I share the gift of faith
discover how you are present in all things.

May they come to know you, the one true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
May the grace of the Holy Spirit guide my heart and lips,
so that I may remain constant in loving and praising you.

May I be a witness to the Gospel and a minister of your truth.
May all my words and actions reflect your love.

Amen.


History

Introduction

The idea of establishing a catechetical day in each parish was presented by Pope Pius XI in his instruction entitled On Better Care for Catechetical Teaching (Provido sane consilio) published in 1935. In paragraph 25, he writes that the day should be a day in which

a. The faithful should be called together in the parish, and having received the Holy Eucharist, they should pray to obtain greater fruit from catechesis (divine teaching)

b. A special sermon should be preached to the people on the necessity of catechetical instruction. Parents are to be told about their duty to instruct their children in Catholic doctrine and to send them to parish catechism (religion) classes.

c. Books, pamphlets, and other material suitable for the purpose should be distributed.

d. A collection may be taken up for the promotion of catechetical works.

The first celebration of a national catechetical day in our country is recorded to be on October 30, 1935, in Rochester, N.Y. By 1944, the practice was in every part of the union and by 1955 most dioceses celebrated the day on the third Sunday in September.
Catechetical Sunday has its roots in a 1935 Vatican publication “On the Better Care and Promotion of Catechetical Education”, a document that asks every country to acknowledge the importance of the Church’s teaching ministry and to honor those who serve the Christian community as catechists.

Beginning in 1971, the USCCB’s Department of Education began producing materials to help parishes celebrate the event at the local level. Now the Committee of Evangelization and Catechesis publishes Catechetical Sunday materials each year.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has designated the third Sunday in September as Catechetical Sunday

In the early years of the Twenty-first Century educators of the various Eastern Catholic Churches began to provide posters, prayers, announcements and other related material reflective of the distinctive charisms of Eastern Christians 'faith-experience and expression for Catechetical Sunday

Annual themes have been developed to complement the concept of USCCB guidelines, but with a look and feel more tuned to a spiritual wavelength that speaks to their somewhat different approach to faith. One small point was opting to allow “Catechetical Sunday” to be observed on another date, acknowledging the fact that the “third Sunday in September” may be inconvenient for some. Some have chosen, for example, to tie the observance to the Feastday of St John the Theologian, September 26 on the Byzantine calendar.

This year’s theme “Family: In the Image of God” capitalizes on the notion that the family is the basic unit of society. It is the “domestic Church” where God’s presence is made known “where two or three are gathered” and consequentially encounter a model of the Triune God—united in substance, distinct in persons

The family is the first schoolroom wherein the parents exercise their role as primary educators of their children. Here is where values are learned, virtues practiced and lessons of patience, sharing, compassion and tolerance put into action.

As noted by Pope Francis, not only is each individual “made in the image of God”, each family is endowed with that “image of God” as well.

As part of a family each individual has worth as a human being, a contributor to the well-being and welfare of the rest of creation. Catechetical Sunday is not meant to be a one-day experience, but a springboard to a fulfilling lifetime. It is a single step on a journey made new with each successive day. We have a mission, as did Noah’s family to restore God’s plan of salvation and renew the face of the Earth. Certainly that takes effort and dedication and focus.
 

Catechist Resourceh

Aim of Catechesis

How to Be the Best Catechist

The Divine Pedagogy

F“Faith” and “faith”
       
Who They Are & What There Say  Signs of Conversion Helping Your Students Become Witnesses Catechist Website Toolbox
       
In the Heart and Mind of the Church Insertion Into the Mystery Scripture, Catechism, and the Liturgical Year

Rules for Effective Discipline

       
What Do I Do Now? Classroom Management

Lesson Planning

Lesson Plan Worksheet for One Session
       
Lesson Plan - Full Year Sketch Learning Styles Catechesis for Those With Special Needs Catechizing Children With Disabilities - Some Implications
       
Teaching Prayer and Prayers      
       
Apostolic Letter, On Catechesis In Our Time by Pope John Paul II.
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