Catechists share the word of God

Catechetical Sunday is designed for all baptized to reflect on their baptismal promises. Here is a Q & A about catechists and their role in the parish.

What is a Catechist?
A catechist is one who shares the word of God and the teaching of the Church with others. While all the faithful of the Church are called to serve as catechists in one form or another, it is their particular role and life in the Holy Spirit that continually renews them as members of the community and in their specific identity as catechists for their children, their Religious Education programs, their Youth Ministry programs, their Catholic School programs, as well as their RCIA catechumens, candidates, elect and neophytes.

What does a Catechist do?
The catechist is called by the Holy Spirit to offer time and talent for the benefit of all. Those with specialized catechetical roles- parish catechists, teachers, youth ministers, principals and parish catechetical leaders make an outstanding and indispensable contribution to the life and mission of the Church through passing on the faith to others. As witnesses to Jesus Christ in the Church and in the world, catechists are called to evangelize with apostolic zeal, to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ boldly and enthusiastically, introduce those who are called to the mysteries of faith, help them build a community of faith and devote themselves to missionary service.

When and why was Catechetical Sunday established?
Catechetical Sunday was established with the publication of “On Better Care for Catechetical Education” on January 12, 1935. This document also known as “Provido Sane Consilio” was issued by the Catechetical Office of the Holy See, under Pope Pius XI.
In that document the Holy See asked countries around the world to establish national catechetical organizations and to acknowledge the importance of catechetical ministry to the life of the Church by recognizing those engaged in this ministry. Later, the General Directory for Catechesis called for those who serve as catechists to be commissioned by the Church for that role. Since 1972, the third Sunday in September has been set aside for that purpose. On this day, the women and men who serve as catechists will be commissioned to teach in the name of the Church. Surrounded by the parish community, they will be given a special blessing and thanked for their commitment to sharing the Good News with others.
What is the role of the Catechist?
The role of the catechist is indispensable. No methodology or program can take away the essential, personal role of the catechist in the catechetical process. The catechist’s spiritual life enables them to know that they are God’s instrument in the mission to “make disciples of all nations.”
Catechists are called to lead all the faithful to the person of Christ. While the catechists till the soil and water the seeds planted, in the end it is God who gives the growth to the hearts and minds of the faithful.

Why are Catechists commissioned?
Catechists are commissioned because of their call by the Church to share in the ministry of catechesis. While the practice of commissioning catechists has been present since 1956, it is most appropriate that the community gives thanks to God for the gift of the Catechists on this Catechetical Sunday, Sept. 20.

Prayer for catechists
Jesus, you told us that laborers for the vineyard would be few and that we should pray to the Lord of the Harvest in the hope that many might respond. You have answered our prayers by sending us catechists for your vineyard.
Bless the catechists who have responded to your call to the ministry of catechesis. May they be filled with zeal for your Church, with care for those they catechize and with love for your Word of Life. Let your spirit come upon them so that your Word may echo through their teaching and through the witness of their lives. Through our catechists, may the members of our parish whom they teach be transformed into witnesses to your Word. And may these catechists receive the blessing your Son promised to all who labor in your vineyard.
We pray to you, gracious Father, in the name of your Son, Jesus, the Word of Life, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit who transforms us by that Word, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Catechetical Sunday is for all who are baptized
Catechetical Sunday, Sept. 20, will focus on the theme, “Catechesis and the Proclamation of the Word.” Those who have been designated by the community to serve as catechists will be called forth to be commissioned for their ministry.
Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity to reflect upon 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.