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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).
This year, the Church will celebrate Catechetical Sunday on September 18, 2016 and will focus on the theme "Prayer: The Faith Prayed." Those who 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.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis is pleased to announce the release of the 2016 Catechetical Sunday materials focused on the theme: “Prayer: The Faith Prayed.” Catechetical Sunday, which is celebrated annually on the third Sunday of September in parishes across the United States, falls this year on the weekend of September 18, 2016, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. This year’s theme invites all the baptized--especially catechists and Catholic school teachers--to devote themselves to a deeper study and practice of prayer, for their own spiritual good and for the good of those they serve.
Part Four of the Catechism of the Catholic Church provides an excellent overview of prayer. Another very helpful resource can be found in chapters 35 and 36 of the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (USCCA). The Catechisms often refer to what the saints have said about prayer. For example, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, for whom “…prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.” Or St. Francis de Sales, who says that “every one of us needs half an hour of prayer each day except when we’re busy –then we need an hour.”
Thoughtfully reading a few paragraphs on prayer each week from the Catechism of the Catholic Church or the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults can open our minds and hearts to a deeper relationship with God--Father, Son and Holy Spirit—present and at work in our lives. Daily prayer shines the light of the Gospel on everything we do, so that all our thoughts, words and actions can be informed and measured by love of God and neighbor.
Our Lord’s disciples frequently observed him interrupting his journeys in order to spend long hours alone in prayer to his heavenly Father. They were moved to ask him to teach them how to pray. May we be moved this year to do the same as an essential element of our discipleship. May we all draw closer to the Lord and to one another through a deeper and more faithful commitment to prayer, in private and with others, in communion with the sacramental life of the Church.
As in past years, a variety of materials, free of charge on-line, have been prepared to assist clergy, parish catechists, Catholic school teachers, and the faithful to celebrate Catechetical Sunday, not only in September but throughout 2016-2017. USCCB Publishing will also sell printed copies of prayer cards, family commitment cards, posters, and certificates in English and Spanish.
Assuring you of my prayers, and asking for a remembrance in your own, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Archbishop Leonard P. Blair,
Chairman of Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis.
©2016 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
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