As part of a 1935 initiative to recognize and celebrate the gift that catechists give to their parish communities by volunteering their time for the education of children, the Church began what we know today as Catechetical Sunday. Catechetical Sunday always takes place the third Sunday in September. This year, Catechetical Sunday will happen on September 19. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all Catholics to rededicate themselves to the mission of handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel as a community of faith. The day provides an opportunity to celebrate those who do the important work of handing on the faith, and an opportunity for all of us Catholics to consider ways we are witnesses for Jesus Christ ourselves.
Each Catechetical Sunday, we celebrate catechists. All those who teach the Catholic faith and share the Church’s teachings are catechists. The word catechesis is from a Greek word meaning “to echo.” All those who teach in the Church’s name and about Jesus by the way they live are catechists. Parents and guardians are also catechists; they are the first and primary teachers of the faith for their children.
In May of 2021, Pope Francis established the lay ministry of catechist in the Catholic Church in his apostolic letter Antiquum ministerium. This document officially declared that catechists are to be recognized as lay ministers in the Catholic Church and are due the training and support they need to be successful in their ministry.
On Catechetical Sunday, we come together as both a parish and Church community to acknowledge the dedication of those who serve as catechists in our parish family. We also honor parents and guardians on this day, since they are the true first catechists, sharing the Catholic faith with their families.
Each year, Catechetical Sunday has a unique theme. The 2021 Catechetical Sunday theme focuses on healing: “Say the Word and My Soul Shall be Healed."
“Say the Word and My Soul Shall Be Healed.”
Learn how we celebrate God’s healing and forgiveness as Catholics and the ways the sacraments of healing bring physical and spiritual healing to our lives with this video in a series presented by Deacon Matt Halbach, PhD.
Here are some catechist formation resources to help you celebrate Catechetical Sunday 2021 and support catechists all year long.
Help ensure that catechists are well prepared and well informed for the journey ahead with a Catechist Training Workshop.
Help catechists and teachers become evangelizing difference-makers in their ministry. The Be an Evangelizing Catechist Webinar includes 20 practical suggestions to be proclaimers of the Good News of Jesus.
Better understand the relationship between catechesis and the art of accompaniment. The Catechesis and the Art of Accompaniment Webinar shows how we are to evangelize.
Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity to thank catechists for the work that they do. It is also an opportunity for catechists to reflect on their call to share and live out their faith. On Catechetical Sunday, catechists are called forth to be commissioned for their ministry. This Commissioning Service usually takes place at the Eucharistic liturgy on Catechetical Sunday. During the service, the catechists are introduced, and a special blessing of the catechists is prayed. Sometimes, the rite of blessing of catechists used on Catechetical Sunday includes a blessing of parents and guardians, too. After the blessing, catechists may be presented with a Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or a special certificate. The homily also provides a context for the celebration based on sacred text. This year, depending on social distancing guidelines in place, Catechetical Sunday may look and feel different than years past. This year’s kit includes modifications if you will be celebrating virtually.
As part of your community’s celebration of Catechetical Sunday, seize the wonderful opportunity to form, pray for, celebrate, thank to those who serve as catechists who hand on to their community what they have received from the Lord.
Share information about Catechetical Sunday, including its purpose and theme, with all the members of your community. In addition to the Commissioning Service, plan special events and initiatives for the parents and catechists who teach in the name of the Church. Suggestions are included for both physical and virtual events.
Download an exclusive Kit to bring these, and other, efforts to life for your Catechetical Sunday celebrations. In the Kit, you will find:
This year’s Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity to recognize, reflect on, support, and celebrate the ministry of catechists—all those who teach the Catholic faith and share the Church’s teachings—in a world in need of physical, spiritual, and emotional healing. The 2021 theme “Say the Word and My Soul Shall be Healed” reminds us of the healing offered by Jesus in the Eucharist.