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Called To Teach
The role played by catechists is one specific form of service among others within the Christian community. Catechists are called first to be experts in the pastoral service of transmitting the faith as it develops through its different stages from the initial proclamation of the kerygma to the instruction that presents our new life in Christ and prepares for the sacraments of Christian initiation, and then to the ongoing formation that can allow each person to give an accounting of the hope within them (cf. 1 Pet 3:15). At the same time, every catechist must be a witness to the faith, a teacher and mystagogue, a companion and pedagogue, who teaches for the Church. Only through prayer, study, and direct participation in the life of the community can they grow in this identity and the integrity and responsibility that it entails (cf. Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Directory for Catechesis, 113).
With great foresight, Saint Paul VI issued the Apostolic Letter Ministeria Quaedam with the intention not only of adapting the ministries of Lector and Acolyte to changed historical circumstances (cf. Apostolic Letter Spiritus Domini), but also of encouraging Episcopal Conferences to promote other ministries, including that of Catechist. “In addition to the ministries common to the entire Latin Church, nothing prevents Episcopal Conferences from asking the Apostolic See for the institution of others, which for particular reasons, they consider necessary or very useful in their own region. Among these are, for example, the offices of Porter, Exorcist, and Catechist.” The same pressing invitation is found in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi; in calling for a discernment of the present needs of the Christian community in faithful continuity with its origins, the Pope encouraged the development of new forms of ministry for a renewed pastoral activity. “Such ministries, apparently new but closely tied up with the Church’s living experience down the centuries, such as that of catechists… are valuable for the establishment, life, and growth of the Church, and for her capacity to influence her surroundings and to reach those who are remote from her” (SAINT PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, 73).
If you feel called to become a catechist or would like more information, please contact Elizabeth Kos at 708-447-1020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I establish the lay ministry of Catechist...
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments will soon publish the Rite of Institution of the lay ministry of Catechist.
I invite the Episcopal Conferences to render effective the ministry of Catechist, determining the necessary process of formation and the normative criteria for admission to this ministry and devising the most appropriate forms for the service which these men and women will be called to exercise in conformity with the content of this Apostolic Letter.
The Synods of the Oriental Churches or the Assemblies of Hierarchs may adopt what is established here for their respective Churches sui iuris, in accordance with their particular law.
Bishops should make every effort to comply with the exhortation of the Council Fathers: “Pastors… know that they were not established by Christ to undertake by themselves the entire saving mission of the Church to the world. They appreciate, rather, that it is their exalted task to shepherd the faithful and at the same time acknowledge their ministries and charisms so that all in their separate ways, but of one mind, may cooperate in the common task” (Lumen Gentium, 30). May the discernment of the gifts that the Holy Spirit never fails to grant to the Church sustain their efforts to make the lay ministry of Catechist effective for the growth of their communities.
I order that what has been laid down by this Apostolic Letter issued “Motu Proprio” have firm and stable effect, anything to the contrary notwithstanding, even if worthy of special mention, and that it be promulgated by publication in L’Osservatore Romano, taking effect that same day, and published thereafter in the official commentary of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.
Given in Rome, at Saint John Lateran, on the tenth day of May in the year 2021, the liturgical memorial of Saint John of Avila, Priest and Doctor of the Church, the ninth of my Pontificate.
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