WASHINGTON (August 28, 2001) -- Catechetical Sunday will be marked in parishes nationwide the weekend of September 15-16.
This annual celebration recognizes those who share in the formal teaching ministry of the Church. This year's theme is "Love Beyond All Telling."
Currently, more than one-half million catechists serve in the nation's 19,000 parishes, missions, and schools. These catechists, many of them trained teachers, are instrumental in introducing the more than four million children and youth enrolled in Catholic schools and parish religious education programs to the faith and tradition of the Church. In addition, these catechists provide opportunities for study, reflection, and faith enrichment to a large number of adult Catholics.
Parishes will observe Catechetical Sunday during the weekend liturgies with a variety of celebrations and activities, including a rite by which catechists will be commissioned to teach on behalf of the Church. As part of these celebrations, parents and guardians will be blessed for the important role they play in handing on the faith to the next generation.
Daniel S. Mulhall, Assistant Secretary for Catechesis and Inculturation for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), noted that Catechetical Sunday is deeply imbedded in the life of the U.S. Catholic community.
"Parishes throughout the United States have been celebrating this special day for more than 65 years. In many parishes, Catechetical Sunday serves as the formal beginning of the teaching year. Many parishes will host a reception or dinner following the commissioning service in order to emphasize for the catechists just how significant their role is and stress that it is through individual catechists that students of every age come face to face with the love of Christ and the power of the Christian tradition," he said.
"The work of these catechists--most of them unpaid--is vital to the life of the Church," Mulhall added. "The celebration of Catechetical Sunday–whether on the actual day or some other time during the year–provides a formal way for parishes to make this importance known."
A resource kit to assist parishes in the celebration of Catechetical Sunday has been published by the USCCB. This kit contains materials a community can use to celebrate this important day, as well as prayers and activities for use throughout the year. These materials may be ordered from USCCB Publishing at 800-235-8722.
Editors: Press copies of the kit are available through the USCCB Dept. of Communications,. 202-541-3200.
Editors: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the United States Catholic Conference (NCCB/USCC) were renamed the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as of July 1, 2001. Please use this designation when reporting on the Conference. Thank you.