'Catechists and Teachers as Agents of the New Evangelization'
Catechetical Sunday, Sept. 16
Those who teach offer a great gift and are enriched themselves as they enter more deeply through the "door of faith." (Cf. Acts 14:27) The urgency of building a culture of life and holiness according to the truths of the faith is obvious. Catechetical Sunday this year prepares us for a year of reflection on the faith as we begin the "Year of Faith" on Oct. 11, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The whole Church will look deeply into the gift, content and practice of the Faith. The object of the New Evangelization is the transmission of the faith, and each Catholic has the privilege of taking part in this noble project.
Each year Catechetical Sunday affords us the opportunity to focus on the duty of parents and the entire Church to hand on what was handed to the early Church by our Lord Himself. Twice St. Paul accents his catechetical duty to the Corinthians in his first letter to them: "I hand on to you what I received." The reverence to the divine revelation he had been handed is striking and leads us to likewise cultivate a love for and so a reverence toward the deposit of Catholic faith. Parents, catechists and teachers have the privilege of being directly involved in the apostolate of "handing on" what was handed to them. Of course, each member of the family of the Church has a part in living and sharing the deposit of faith and is therefore a catechist/teacher and agent of of the New Evangelization.
Parents, of course, have the first place and privilege of forming their children in the faith. "The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute." (Second Vatican Council, Decree on Education) Parents tend to that duty by their own continued study of the faith on an adult level so that they are "ready to give a reasoned explanation for the cause of their joy" to their children. (Cf. 1 Peter 3:15)
The Church is blessed with teachers and catechists who assist parents in the profound duty to form their children in the faith. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity to thank, pray for and encourage catechists/teachers who help parents in their privileged apostolate. Their love of the Lord impels them to a dedicated deepening of their own faith life. The many hours they spend in prayer, study and preparation flow from love of the Lord and His Church. How blessed parents are to work together with catechists who are so generous and willing to help share the Church's faith and invite the young ones into an intentional Catholic life.
The Diocese of Charlotte is blessed with active and eager catechists/teachers; their witness enriches us all. Our gratitude for them is front and center on Catechetical Sunday. Thank you.
Father Roger K. Arnsparger is the diocesan vicar of education and pastor of St. Michael Church in Gastonia.
USCCB resources for Catechetical Sunday
The U.S. bishops' website, www.usccb.org, offers a long list of resources for catechists, families and parishes. A link to the Catechetical Sunday information is on the home page or you can search "Catechetical Sunday." Some of the items, such as prayer cards, can be ordered in bulk through the USCCB.
Written by Monsignor James C. Turro, this brief essay can reawaken your interest in the Gospel mandate for catechesis.
- A Primer on the Theology of Evangelization: Implications for the United States
- What Is "New" About the New Evangelization?
- Proselytism and Evangelization: Important Distinctions for Catholic Catechists
PARISH, FAMILY AND YOUTH RESOURCES
- "Are You a 3G Catholic?": Father Larry Swink uses the terminology of high-speed access to data to challenge Catholics to embrance evangelism.
- Keys for Welcoming Catholics Back to the Lord's Table
- Promoting Evangelization at Home and Abroad
- Following the Call to Mission Overseas
- Catechist's Prayer
- Prayer for Catechists
- Prayer for Family Commitment