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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

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Catechetical Sunday: Celebrating persons who assist us in encountering Christ

On Sunday, Sept. 17, Catholic parishes across the United States will celebrate Catechetical Sunday. This day highlights the important role that catechesis and faith formation play in the lives of Catholics. The theme chosen by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for this year's Catechetical Sunday is "Come to me all you who labor and are burdened" from Matthew 11:28.

Reflecting on the significance of the day, the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives (IPI) Associate Director of English Curriculum Dr. Dorothy Mensah-Aggrey adds, “this year’s Catechetical Sunday theme reminds all catechetical leaders that Christ is the focus. We are who we are because of Christ; we do what we do because of Christ. All we are and do must be centered on Christ who beckons us to himself.”

The roots of Catechetical Sunday can be traced back to 1935 when the Vatican published a document stressing the importance of catechesis and honoring catechists. Beginning in 1971, the USCCB published annual materials to help local parishes celebrate Catechetical Sunday. Today, the USCCB's Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis continues this tradition by providing annual resources centered around a theme. By designating the third Sunday in September as Catechetical Sunday, the bishops underscore the Church's dedication to forming disciples through catechesis. The annual celebration gives us a chance to honor catechists, reflect on the role of faith formation and celebrate the centrality of catechesis in nurturing mature Catholic faith.

Here at IPI, Catechetical Sunday holds special significance. Our programs, courses and catechetical services aim to equip catechetical leaders and catechists with the knowledge and skills needed to mature in the faith even as they pass on the riches of the Catholic faith to others.

On Catechetical Sunday, we give thanks to God for the dedication and commitment of catechists across the country. Their efforts help people deepen their relationship with Christ and the Church. At IPI, we are privileged to support their mission through proper formation and resources grounded in Church teaching.

As we celebrate Catechetical Sunday, let us remember to pray for all catechists and faith formation leaders. May the Holy Spirit continue to inspire them as they remain faithful to God and hand on the faith to future generations. Let us also reflect on how each of us is called to share in the catechetical mission of the Church. As Jesus’ invitation impels us to go forth and serve, so too, should our catechesis impel us to lives of active discipleship. On this Catechetical Sunday, may we recommit ourselves to this vital work of empowering disciples to transform the world.

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