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.
All those who teach the Catholic faith and share the Church’s teachings are catechists. Individuals who teach others about Jesus by the way they live are catechizing, too. 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. On Catechetical Sunday, parents and guardians are also honored because they are the true first catechists, sharing the Catholic faith with their families. 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 for us to consider ways we are witnesses for Jesus Christ ourselves.
Each year, Catechetical Sunday has a theme. During 2018, Catechetical Sunday explored the theme “Enlisting Witnesses for Jesus Christ.” Since a growing percentage of the adult population of the United States self identifies as “nones,” a term used for people with no religious affiliation, last year’s theme both researched this trend and provide as examples the work of missionary disciples who are already engaged as witnesses for Jesus Christ.
The theme chosen for 2019 is, “Stay With Us.” New data suggests that a growing number of young people are leaving the Church before their teenage years.
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.
As part of your community’s celebration of Catechetical Sunday, seize the wonderful opportunity to prepare, pray, celebrate, and say “thank you” to those who serve as catechists and witnesses for Jesus Christ in your community! 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.
Download an exclusive Kit to bring these, and other, efforts to life for your Catechetical Sunday celebrations. In the Kit, you will find: