Catechetical Sunday Celebration
"God Our Father - God of Love" is the theme for the 64th annual Catechetical Sunday celebration set to take place on September 19. Parishes across the United States will honor the hundreds of thousands of religious and lay men and women who are specially trained and engaged in religious education. In many parishes these celebrations are included in the Sunday liturgy when special prayers are offered and a special blessing is given. According to the 1999 Official Catholic Directory, over 3,675,000 children participated in religious instruction in parish elementary programs and over 808,000 participated in parish adolescent catechesis programs. In addition, more than 2,060,000 children in Catholic elementary schools and almost 654,000 adolescents in Catholic high schools received catechetical formation. "None of this would be possible without the catechists who give so generously of their time. Catechetical Sunday is the one day that the Church sets aside to honor these valuable witnesses and to thank them for the gifts they share with the Church," says Daniel S. Mulhall, Assistant Secretary for Catechesis and Inculturation for the USCC's Department of Education Division of Catechesis and Religious Education.
Daniel S. Mulhall can be reached at 202-541-3130.
Back to Catholic Schools with Full Force
"Catholic schools are alive, well and facing challenges of providing quality, Catholic education for all students," says Sister Lourdes Sheehan, Secretary for the U.S. Bishops' Department of Education. The school-age population in the United States will reach an all time high, and Catholic dioceses and parishes have responded by building new and reopening old schools. For example, the Diocese of Memphis just announced plans to reopen six Catholic schools which were closed in the past. Based on statistics from the United States Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools 1998-1999: The Annual Statistical Report on Schools, Enrollment and Staffing (National Catholic Educational Association, 1999), Catholic school enrollment is close to 3,000,000. Minority student enrollment is more than 650,000. Non-Catholic enrollment is over 350,000. The total number of Catholic schools is 8,217 (elementary=6,863, middle=127, secondary=1,227).
Sister Lourdes Sheehan can be reached at 202-541-3130.
American Mission Congress to Explore Ways to Increase Conversion, Communion and Solidarity Throughout America
The American Mission Congress, a hemisphere-wide gathering of Catholic Church leadership and representatives from South, Central, and North America, will be held in Parana City, Argentina, September 28 to October 3. Its origins are found in five previous Missionary Congresses for Latin America which had focused exclusively on that region. In response to Pope John Paul II's leadership in convening the Synod for America, and his vision for "One Church -- One America," the Congress has been expanded this year to encompass all of the western hemisphere. This Congress will reflect upon the Synod for America's closing document Ecclesia in America (The Church in America). The 3,000 invited participants, including 70 delegates from the United States, will engage in a dynamic process of information sharing, reflection, and discussion in a variety of "focus areas," according to Patricia Boman, Special Assistant to the U.S. Bishops' Committee on World Mission, who is helping to coordinate U.S. participation for the NCCB.
Patricia Boman can be reached at 202-541-3411.