The ministry of the Wordis 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?
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.
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
What Does the Word “Catechetical” Mean?
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?
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?
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.