Catechetical Sunday is celebrated each year on the third Sunday of September. This year, the Archdiocese of Detroit’s theme for Catechetical Sunday 2021 is Disciples of Jesus: Witnesses to the Gospel, which will be celebrated on Sunday, September 19th. This highlights Witness, the third stage of the Encounter, Grow, Witness paradigm as outlined in Unleash the Gospel.
This will also be the theme of this year’s Parish Day of Renewal and throughout the Advent season. Focusing on the witness stage provides a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the important roles of parents, grandparents, guardians, catechists, RCIA teams, and all who assist them in teaching the faith to our children and adults. It is also a chance for each of us to rededicate ourselves to this mission as a community of faith!
This is particularly important this year as Pope Francis has instituted the Lay Ministry of Catechist in his apostolic letter Antiquum Magisterium: Instituting the Ministry of Catechist. He writes:
“This ministry has a definite vocational aspect, as evidenced by the Rite of Institution, and consequently calls for due discernment on the part of the Bishop. It is in fact a stable form of service rendered to the local Church in accordance with pastoral needs identified by the local Ordinary, yet one carried out as a work of the laity, as demanded by the very nature of the ministry. It is fitting that those called to the instituted ministry of Catechist be women and men of deep faith and human maturity, active participants in the life of the Christian community, capable of welcoming others, being generous and living a life of fraternal communion.”
Here are a few suggestions to help you celebrate Catechetical Sunday in your parish community:
Promote Catechetical Sunday through various media: website, bulletin, letters to parents, notification on outdoor signage, etc.
Provide prayer cards for the entire parish and school community. Post the prayers on your website and social media, and send cards to the homebound asking for their intercession for the upcoming faith formation year.
At the weekend liturgies, pray the commissioning prayer and offer a blessing for catechists. Extend this blessing to those who teach in any of the many parish formation opportunities – children, teens, adults, RCIA, as well as parents, grandparents, and guardians.
Present catechists with a commissioning certificate, prayer card, a copy of Pope Francis’ apostolic letter Antiquum Magisterium, and possibly a small gift that will remind them of their important role.
Continue to pray for each catechist throughout the year.
The following resources are available to parishes to promote Disciples of Jesus: Witnesses to the Gospel:
A commissioning prayer for Catechetical Sunday
Downloadable prayer cards for catechists, parents, grandparents, and guardians, and for families
Certificate of Commissioning for catechists
Sample bulletin article
May the Lord bless you as you serve as Disciples of Jesus who Witness to the Gospel!