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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 17, 2017. The 2017 theme will be "Living as Missionary Disciples." 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.
My term as chairman of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis comes to an end this year, so this is my final opportunity to welcome you to the resources that have been created for Catechetical Sunday. Each year the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis invites experts and skilled practitioners to write or speak about important topics in evangelization and catechesis. I hope that in past years you have found these resources encouraging, challenging, formational and evangelizing.
This year we are collaborating with several other USCCB Committees to provide formation resources to Catholic laity across the U.S. in response to Pope Francis’ call to all the baptized to grow closer to the Lord and to take up their proper role as “missionary disciples.” Our theme for 2017 is Living as Missionary Disciples / | Viviendo como discípulos misioneros. On our new websites [AVAILABLE SPRING 2017] you will find 9 different topics presented in both English and Spanish, in the form of articles and webinar presentations, as well as short and engaging videos.
For several years now, these materials have been made available digitally and free of charge in Spanish and English, to insure maximum access for a growing number of users. By popular demand, we also continue to provide posters, prayer cards, and catechist certificates for sale to those who prefer to have them professionally printed. For the past two years, we have moved up the release date so that diocesan and parish catechetical leaders can have access to the year’s theme and artwork well before catechists and teachers break for the summer. These initiatives have led to increased user rates for Catechetical Sunday resources. It is encouraging to know that in one quarter alone the resources received 145,461 views.
I invite everyone to make use of the materials that are offered for 2017--evangelists, catechists and teachers, parents and families, parish leadership and faith growth groups, and anyone striving to live as a missionary disciple. Our website also includes archived materials from past years: click here for Catechetical Sunday archives and here for Leadership Institute archives. These resources can be used alone or shared in small groups for even greater enrichment. They may be especially helpful for those invited by their bishops to participate in the national convocation of Catholic leaders to be held in July, or those involved in the Fifth National Encuentro process of Hispanic/Latino Ministry at the parish, diocesan, regional and national levels.
On behalf of the Bishops Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, I thank you for your interest, and I pray that through the sacraments, personal prayer, deeper knowledge of the Faith, and our witness to the Gospel, we may grow in love for the Lord and further the evangelizing mission of his Church. God bless you.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Archbishop Leonard P. Blair,
Chairman of Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis.
©2017 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
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