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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).
What’s New? Leadership Institute and more Catechetical Sunday Resources in various formats will be made available on an on-going basis.
The online Leadership Institute is offered free of charge to all interested individuals. It continues to serve the needs of diocesan leaders. Many of the resources are also of interest to parish catechetical leaders and catechists, youth and young adults’ ministers, Catholic school principals and teachers, and other individuals who provide faith formation to diverse age groups and settings.
This year, the Church will celebrate Catechetical Sunday on September 15, 2019. The 2019 theme will be "Stay With Us." 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.
Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Green Vestments
Readings: Ex 32:7-11,13-14/ 1 TM 1:12-17/ LK 15:1-32/PS 51:3-4,12-13, 17, 19 2
Theme: "Stay With Us"
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We live in an increasingly secularized society, which powerfully influences our young people, often compelling them to leave the Church altogether. The 2018 Saint Mary’s Press study, The Dynamics of Disaffiliation in Young Catholics, includes extensive research on young Catholics who have left the church. One of their most alarming findings was that youth stop identifying as Catholics at a median age of 13 for reasons ranging from disbelief to dissatisfaction with Church teaching.
Sociologist Christian Smith, renowned for his investigation of the phenomenon of disaffiliation, notes that many of the young people who have stopped identifying as Catholics tended to have “weak signs of attachment to the church” in the first place. In other words, they were not formed very well in the faith.
At the same time, we have signs of hope. I was blessed to participate in the Vatican’s October 2018 Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith, and vocational discernment”, which found that young people who end religious practice do not necessarily end their spiritual desire. The church must walk with young people and their families, listen to them with attention and love, and then be ready intelligently to give a reason for the hope that is within us.
Our resources this year are aimed on assisting the many dedicated faithful in their outreach to as missionary disciples particularly to the disaffiliated. Under our theme, Stay with Us, we have produced a variety of articles, videos and podcasts focusing on the encounter, and accompaniment which builds a community that then sends forth as missionary disciples. In his recent Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit! Pope Francis reminds us that in addition to doctrine and morality “It is likewise important that it have two main goals. One is the development of the kerygma, the foundational experience of encounter with God through Christ’s death and resurrection. The other is growth in fraternal love, community life and service… All Christian formation consists of entering more deeply into the kerygma and incarnating it ever more fully in our lives. (213-214)
May our lives be an imitation of Jesus’ encounter with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) and accompany those entrusted to us into full community and discipleship.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Bishop Robert Barron, Chairman
Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
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